One protest ends, but it’s not at a closed parish

One protest ends, but it’s not at a closed parish

A sit-in at a not-closing parish has ended and that’s big news? I guess anything chance to bring up the dissension in the ranks of the Catholic Church is news for the Boston Globe.

For the record, the people of St. Bernard’s parish in Newton, which was given a year to figure out how to merge with nearby Corpus Christi parish after its closing order was suspended, have decided to stop their sit-in protest after a meeting with Archbishop O’Malley. It looks like the archbishop’s news strategy is to personally sit down with each of the protesting parishes and talk with them. It’s interesting how that simple act is disarming a lot of the critics.

It’s not like I haven’t been saying all along that one of the archdiocese’s biggest screw-ups in the whole process has been the lack of communication. Right the beginning there wasn’t enough communication with the archdiocese telling parish clusters to decide which ones to close without providing clear direction on how to do that. And it went downhill from there.

Now St. Bernard’s is staying open and not just for Sunday Masses as originally planned. They are re-starting CCD, weekday Masses, sick visitations, and all the other stuff that makes up the life of the parish. It is an open-ended question whether people who have already moved to another parish will return. I think some people are just sick of the uncertainty and waiting and want to move on. I don’t blame them.

  • From my reporting, I believe that the situation at St. Bernard is a bit more complex than either the Globe story or your post represent.  Since the meeting betwen the lay leaders of the parish vigil and the Mead-Eisner Committee before Christmas, there has been an inclination at St. Bernard to suspend its vigil on the basis that its prayers had been answered and the Archdiocese had recognized that closing St. B. was a mistake.  A desire, on one hand, to show support for the other parishes in vigil, and, on the other, to have a dialogue with Archbishop Sean about the selection of the administrator who will oversee St. B. and Corpus Christi over the coming year led the parish council to withhold an annoucement of the suspension of the vigil until after its meeting with the Archbishop.  However, once the announcement of that appointment was made with the administrator taking the reins as of 19 January, the vigil leaders recognized that they would have no influence over that decision and merely announced their decision to suspend their vigil after meeting with Archbishop Sean to underscore that they were joining him in an effort to revitalize their parish.  However, contrary to your claim, this revitalization process does not include at present the resortation of CCD at St. Bernard.  That will not begin, as I understand it, until later this year, presuming of course the approval of the administrator.  Equally important, visitations to the sick never stopped during the vigil.  It was carried out by the same lay women who have often led the services held at the church as substitutes for daily Mass. 

  • Their conclusion that the archbishop thinks the original closing was a mistake is unfounded. The order has not been rescinded. Instead, one of the two parishes, St. Bernard or Corpus Christi, will close in the next year, and I think they’re assuming it will be Corpus Christi. The resumption of ministries is something the Globe story mentions and I’m only repeating what they said.

    “Substitutes for daily Mass”: Tony, I know you’re not Catholic, but that phrase, that concept, is one of the things that give the rest of us Catholics the willies about this whole sit-in nonense.