Monday, September 19, 2005

Parish closings delayed in Detroit.

In the latest on a story I've been following, the Detroit Free Press reports today that the parish reorganization plan the Archdiocese of Detroit planned to release in November won't appear until next February. Cardinal Maida seems to have heard the cries of parish leaders who wanted more time to complete Together In Faith, the detailed process of dialogue and planning that will help the Cardinal decide which parishes to close and which to keep open. As far as I'm concerned, the delay is very good news for Detroit parishes. Hopefully devoting a very extra months to the Together In Faith process will result in a fairer and more just reorganization plan and avoid a pastoral debacle of the kind we've been seeing in the Archdiocese of Boston.

On a side note, I was pleased to come across Dominican Sister Jolene Van Handel's name in today's Freep article. As principal of East Catholic High School in Detroit, Sister Van Handel fought long odds to keep open an institution that helped make Catholic education an option for innercity students. Unsurprisingly, Van Handel was a strong critic of Cardinal Maida's decision earlier this year to close all remaining diocesan high schools in Detroit, East Catholic included. (It's worth noting that the closings leave the city with only two Catholic high schools, both of which are Jesuit institutions - U of D Jesuit and Loyola High.) I'm glad to hear that Sister Van Handel is involved in local discussions about parish reorganization, as she brings a sense of determination and spirit to the table that will hopefully help parishioners more effectively present their cause to the Archdiocese and to the larger public. I'm sure I'll have more to say as things develop. In the meantime, I'd welcome your prayers for the Church in Detroit. AMDG.


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