Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Good news from the Archdiocese of Boston.

In a surprising if welcome development in the traumatic and highly controversial reconfiguration process, Archbishop Sean O'Malley has cancelled a planned parish closing. For details understandably absent from the Archdiocese's press release, see what the Herald and the Patriot Ledger had to say. Though he has previously postponed the closing of some churches where parishioners have raised concerns about the process, this is the first time O'Malley has actually revoked an earlier decision to suppress a parish. Apparently Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church in Plymouth was saved largely by its dedicated parishioners' efforts to alert the Archdiocese to the explosive population growth going on within parish boundaries. I'd like to hope that Catholics aggrieved by the reconfiguration process will take to heart the example given by Blessed Kateri's parishioners. Rather than docilely accept the demise of their parish, the people of Blessed Kateri brought their concerns to the Archdiocese in a proactive way and succeeded in reversing what struck them as an unjust decision. The truth remains, of course, that this is but one church out of 83 slated for closure. Like Plymouth, my own hometown of Rochester is growing steadily, but this fact did not save St. Rose of Lima parish from suppression. I'd love it if the people of St. Rose of Lima - not to mention the people of many parishes in similar straits - reacted to planned closures as Blessed Kateri's parishioners did. Realistically - or, I might even say, pessimistically - I don't expect many other miraculous rescues like this. Nonetheless, I'm glad to see that Archbishop O'Malley was willing to admit - though not in so many words - that he made a mistake in ordering the closure of Blessed Kateri. Maybe - and here I'm shifting into optimistic mode - today's news signals a shift toward greater openness and pastoral sensitivity in how the reconfiguration process is carried out. Here's hoping. AMDG.


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