About twenty parishioners are pacing and waving signs at passing commuters in what I believe is a fruitless effort. The priest will make his recommendation to the Bishop, who will ultimately decide the outcome of merging churches in town, based on facts. This is what appeared on the front page of our Southbridge Evening News, Thursday's edition, in an article written by news staff writer, Gus Steeves.
Hysteria will not keep a church operational which is built like a palace, and in which upkeep has to be enormous, especially if it is running in the red, regardless what some parishioners think they are "raking in" each week.
I would think if people were in attendance, and the money were available, that there would no reason for a merger. The fact is that many church goers are "elderly" like the one who was quoted in the news tonight. She is eighty years young. In ten years will she still be in attendance? What of the other members ages? Are there children, and young people? Enough of them to carry the ball?
This news is disappointing but certainly not unheard of lately, given the statistics in this state. *A report from 2006 stated that thirty-one percent are in attendance and supporting their church. Attendance continues to decline and four years makes a huge difference. In the recent past, many churches have closed and parishioner's are merged, like it or not.
Some have a problem letting go. Eighteen months ago some parishioners saw the writing on the wall, and made the transition to another parish. Not trusting their priest and sending "40 certified letters" to the bishop and threatening to take their case to Rome, is a childish endeavor. I don't know anyone who would be more capable of making the call and rendering his opinion to the Bishop, who ultimately will decide what is best under the circumstances.
Church is more than a building. Stop your whimpering, and open your eyes. Your future is in capable hands. One who is concerned with all parties involved, based on fact, not on hysteria.
I hope you will not stop going to church over the pettiness of a class struggle of old, as this "rivalry" between the two parishes was retold by Harold, companion of Gladys, whose age was not disclosed, "Notre Dame served people west of the long-gone Grand Trunk railroad bridge, while those east went to Sacred Heart."
I was raised in this town, and yes, people down in the "flat" were always considered to be of a "lower standard." What is really needed here, I think, is a reality check, good old-fashioned trust in the Lord, and be thankful for what you've got.
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