It looks like the campaign to save liberal parishes in Boston slated for closure has gone national. The Los Angeles Times profiles St. Susanna’s in Dedham. Once again, we have lots of happy talk about buildings, programs, and activities, but nothing about how the parish uniquely provides them with a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, helps them worship better, or anything of that sort. And check this out:
At a recent Mass, Father Stephen Josoma asked worshipers to fill out a brief questionnaire indicating what they planned to do if the parish closed as scheduled. Only 17% said they would join another parish. Many in the remaining 83% said they would stop practicing their Catholic faith altogether.
What this tells me is that the parish is a failure. Parishes are not exclusively about building small faith communities. They are primarily about helping people to deepen their Catholic faith, connecting them to universal Church. If the faith of 83 percent of those who attend Mass at the parish is so shallow that they’d rather quit worshipping God than go to the parish down the street, then the parish and Fr. Josoma have failed.