Parishioners at St. Susannah’s parish in Dedham met with Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston on Monday. They said that he told them he’d consider their new information on closing their parish. I wonder about that.
Oh, I think he’ll look at the information, but I can’t imagine anything in what they reportedly told him will convince him to keep it open. The pastor, Fr. Steve Josoma, is well known around the archdiocese. His last assignment, at St. Brendan’s in Dorchester, was a disaster for various reasons. He is well known as a dissenter from Church teaching. And he courts Voice of the Faithful (being one of the four celebrants at their protest Mass on Boston Common this Sunday.)
Josoma claimed that the archbishop’s primary point was the shortage of priests, so Josoma suggested that he be allowed to be pastor of several churches with a deacon running things while he’s not there. There’s just no point to that. It’s one thing if you have several parishes dozens of miles apart and one pastor for them all. But within just a few miles there’s a handful of parishes. Such arrangements are not meant for dioceses with such a high concentration of churches already.
Among the information presented to the archbishop was the statistic that if St. Susannah’s closes, then Dedham would be the only city of more 20,000 people in the area with only one Catholic church. Ah, but how many of those 20,000 are Catholics? That would seem to be the more relevant information. And how many of those Catholics are already parishioners of the other parish, St. Mary’s?