Parishioners Struggle, Resist Closings

Clevelanders Unite as 'Endangered Catholics'

Parishioners from thirteen Cleveland parishes slated to close have united to support one another and resist the loss of their parishes. Calling themselves Endangered Catholics the group meets weekly at 4:30 on Wednesdays to pray and protest outside the cathedral. On Saturday, June 27th, the Endangered Catholics sponsored an all-day meeting with Peter Borre, a Boston businessman and chairman of the Council of Parishes there. Borre spoke extensively about his involvement with the church closing process in Boston. Said Borre: "...no parish should be closed, suppressed or merged without consent of the parishioners...." On August 15-16 each parish sponsored a Marian Prayer Service. At St. Barbara parish some of the hymns and prayers were sung in Polish to honor the heritage of the founding parishioners.

Miami To Close Thirteen Parishes. Archdiocesan Financial Practices Questioned.

On Sunday August 16, the Archdiocese of Miami announced it would close 13 of its 128 parishes. Most were minority parishes serving low-income neighborhoods. Archbishop John C. Favalora cited "demographic and economic changes which have happened over the years." Some parishioners at Our Lady Aparecida, a 1,667-member Brazilian church will be asked to attend a parish that is available only by bus. The Miami Herald reports "Catholics have created websites, initiated letter-writing campaigns and gathered for prayer vigils in hope that churches would be spared." According to the Herald the church closures are another in a series of steep financial cuts in the archdiocese. Seven Catholic schools were closed this year, and funding was cut for the archdiocese's pro-life office, pregnancy care centers and a retreat center in Hollywood. The archdiocese is also selling its MorningStar retreat center in Pinecrest. The Herald reports that some closed parish buildings may be rented to generate revenue. This happened with a number of closed archdiocesan schools that will reopen in the fall as secular, publicly funded charters. Meantime, a Miami church reform group calling itself Spirited Lay Action Movement has been raising concerns about the financial practices of the Archdiocese since 2007 when they publicized discrepancies in the Archdiocesan Vision 2000 financial reports. (see www.spiritedlayaction.org)

Focus on FutureChurch

Summer 2009

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