It seems the first parish closings in Boston will occur as early as April. Parish input will end on March 8 and will consist of pastors scheduling open meetings (which no one will attend) and parish pastoral councils giving their input on two questions:
“1. If the Archbishop needs to close a parish in your cluster for the greater good of the Archdiocese, how would you recommend that your cluster of parishes be reconfigured and why?
“2. If the Archbishop needs to close more than one parish in your cluster, how many parishes would you recommend for closure and how would you recommend that your cluster be reconfigured and why?”
Of course, it goes without saying that none of the lay people will vote to close their own parish. But pastors, who have less attachment to a particular parish can be more objective and their input may be more valuable.
Predictably, Voice of the Faithful doesn’t like the way things are going.
“I just feel they are moving very quickly,” said Jolene Guerra of Topsfield, chairperson of Voice of the Faithful North Shore, a lay group. “For such a big thing, it doesn’t sound like a lot of time.”
What would she rather do? Drag out the process for years leaving everyone hanging? Already, the archdiocese has put a hold on all capital improvement projects and on assigning new pastors to parishes. The fact is that it’s not too difficult to see which 30 or so parishes in the archdiocese need to be closed. Most people know it already, even if some don’t want to admit it.
It’ll be like taking a bandage off. Better to do it quick and don’t draw out the pain.