Friday, June 17, 2005

Yet more parish closings reversed in Boston.

In a sign that the Archdiocese of Boston is still working out some of the many kinks in a very flawed reconfiguration process, Archbishop Sean O'Malley has again reversed a number of parish closings on the recommendation of a mostly lay review board. Previously slated to close, Boston's St. Mary of the Angels (a Jesuit-staffed parish, incidentally) and St. Peter (Lithuanian) parishes will remain open, as will Dedham's St. Susanna, Milton's St. Pius X, Stow's St. Isidore and Watertown's Sacred Heart parishes. While it will not regain its parochial status, previously-shuttered Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence Church in Brookline will reopen as a chapel of an adjacent parish. For reaction from parishioners at the impacted churches, click here.

Several of the churches that were saved yesterday enjoyed the benefit of loyal, vocal and well-organized parishioners who fought to keep their spiritual homes open. For example, Eastern Massachusetts Lithuanians - including many with memories of Soviet religious persecution in their homeland - rallied to rescue St. Peter's, one of only two remaining Lithuanian national parishes in the Archdiocese. Parishioners at Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence followed the lead of their cohorts at several other Boston-area parishes slated for closure by waging a nearly eight-month sit-in that, to a large degree, seems to have succeeded. As I've remarked in previous posts on this topic, I'm heartened to see parishioners in the Archdiocese of Boston exercise a sense of proprietorship over their spiritual homes, doing all they can to save and protect the places that have anchored their Catholic faith. Battered by seemingly unending crises, the Church in Eastern Massachusetts needs their devotion and witness. God bless them.

As often happens, the prediction I offered yesterday as to the timing of my next post was a bit off. I'm writing tonight from Creighton University in Omaha, where my fellow novices and I are spending the night. We had dinner this evening with the Krauses, who we thank for their hospitality and for the gift of our brother Ben's company. At this point, I believe I can predict with a fair degree of accuracy that my next post really will be from Denver. 'Til then, all the best. AMDG.


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