Why is the Cardinal of New York shutting down so many parishes?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
11/5/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The Archdiocese of New York is going to merge over 100 of its 368 parishes, shutting down at least 31 churches by August 1, 2015.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York is behind the parish restructuring, which is intended to balance the parishes of the archdiocese of New York to line up with the Catholic population.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York announced that this reorganization is necessary to strengthen the Catholic Church in the archdiocese.
"The parish is the people and the people have to be cared for. What's most important is the faith continues, the Eucharist continues and the sacraments continue," he said.
The reorganization will entail the merging of 112 parishes into just 55. Of these, 24 will continue to celebrate Mass at two sites.
Cardinal Dolan spoke at a press conference in New York, where he announced the decision. He claimed that All Souls Day was an appropriate time to make the announcement because the holiday and the decision aren't about death, but about rising anew.
"It's about what Pope Benedict said. 'The vine has to be pruned once in a while if it's going to grow' and it's about what Pope St. John Paul II said, 'We're into mission and not maintenance' and it's about what Pope Francis said, 'The Church is not about building structures, it's about welcome, love, mercy, services, embracing and inviting. It's about going ahead and not getting bogged down in the past."
Cardinal Dolan said that currently the parishes are distributed in a lopsided manner that doesn't match up to the Catholic population, especially in Manhattan.
About 25% of the parishes are located in that borough, but only 12% of the archdiocese population is there. The 28 current parishes there will be merged to form 13, and nine of these sites may be used on special occasions, but won't hold weekly mass.
"We know there will be a lot of tears, a lot of shouts, a lot of cussing and we need to be patient with people and listen to them, but there's a lot of trust and growth and strength to come out of this."
These mergers are the result of a five-year pastoral planning process, which took input from 368 parishes that were clustered into 75 groups, as well as a 40-person advisory committee, the archdiocesan priests council and archdiocesan staff.
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