The List

I was right. I initially said that between 45 and 60 parishes would close, and it is 60. Here is the complete list. Several parishes are going to merge and several others are going to have their buildings remain open for now with a Mass on Sunday, but have the parish life switch to a neighboring parish.

There were some surprises for Salem. As I expected, St. Joseph’s is closing, but St. Jamesart in the North End, that I mentioned yesterday, is one of those that will have the building stay open, where the religious order priests who serve it will say a Mass on Sunday, but will shift to a nearby parish for everything else. Lots to reflect on in that list, but I will say that it’s less damaging, overall, than expected, although I suspect the people of those affected parishes will disagree.

Oh yes, Fr. Bob Bowers’ church in Charlestown is closing, too. Are you going to follow through on your threat or will it be like Alec Baldwin’s empty threat to move to France if Bush was elected? Like I said, a priest who is so ready to throw away his vocation over such a thing probably shouldn’t be a priest anymore.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I’m not in New England now so thanks for the posting, Dom.  I raised my family as a member of Sacred Heart, Lexington, for 22 years or so, until my marriage broke up and my job moved.  I’m now in MD and NH.  It was a fervent and active parish then.  I remember we provided the crystal pitchers for the wine at JPII’s first mass in Boston.  We had an outstanding staff, Fr. Ultan McCabe, a holy and wise pastor, a most holy and devout assistant, Fr. Bernard Hoy, who died early, a brilliant and controversial assistant, Fr. Walter Cuenin (of whom I have good memories though I don’t agree with what he seems to say) and a thoughtful and profound associate Fr. James Donahue.  Very good years for me and mine (even my former spouse).

    My kids, while nostalgic about SH and Lexington, expressed no desire to be married there, instead marrying in the parishes they were part of when they married, as it should be.  So I have no axe to grind with the archbishop.

  • Hello,
    Fr. Bowers quote in the article linked to the other day was that “he is not interested in another assignment”.  Being not interested could be his way of saying that emotionally he does not want to leave, that it will be difficult.  He did not seem to threathen leaving the priesthood as implied.  He even says in the linked article that he can live anywhere, that he is more concerned with the people.  I know nothing of this priest and for all I know he may not be doing a good job, but I think that there should be charity in understanding a statement.  I know plenty of priests who are not emotionally interested in changing assignments and yet are obedient.  Could we not see him through a lense of his honesty and obedience?  I guess I just differ with interpreting “not being interested” negativelyt and i usually agree with how things are portrayed here.

  • Oops.  I just saw that Dom said that he told a cable station he did not want to be a priest anymore.  When I read the linked story, I only saw the phrase “he is not interested in another assignment” which seemed different.  Saying that you don’t want to be a priest anymore is problematic, I will pray for him.  I hope that he was just speaking because he was very upset, and I hope that his priesthood is somehow renewed through the pain of this experience.  I’m sorry I missed the reference to a different source when I posted previously.

  • I think the number of parishes closing will be more than 60. I live in the Lowell area and no parishes in Lowell or Lawrence were on the list. But I know about 5 or 6 parishes in Lowell will be closing and probably the same number in Lawrence. So that would push the number of closings to around 70.