Council of Parishes
Embargoed for Release: Friday, April 22, 2005, 6:30pm
Contact: Peter Borré, 617-448-3850, firstname.lastname@example.org
COUNCIL OF PARISHES CALLS ON ARCHBISHOP
SEAN O’MALLEY TO MEET WITH VIGILING PARISHES AND RECONFIGURATION
REVIEW COMMITTEE IN OPEN MEETING
Documentary film chronicling the closing of parishes premieres tonight
Cambridge, Mass. — Against the backdrop of the opening night for a documentary film chronicling the closing of parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston, the Council of Parishes today called on Archbishop O’Malley to meet with the parishioners of churches currently in vigil and those slated for closure, before taking any further actions in the reconfiguration process. Such a meeting would begin a new dialogue engaging Archbishop O’Malley and lay women and men in the spirit of unity of expressed by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Council of Parishes is offering its assistance to Archbishop O’Malley to plan this meeting that would also include the Reconfiguration Review Committee and other concerned Catholics. Leaders of the Council of Parishes believe such a meeting can lead to a diocesan wide convocation that would begin to define and address the myriad of problems that plague the Catholic Church here in Boston, prevent further pain, and begin to rebuild trust in the wake of the anguish of multiple crises, including the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the archdiocese’s distressed financial condition, and the flawed reconfiguration process.
“Pope Benedict XVI will have to address many issues which concern all Catholics, including the enduring legacy of Vatican II, the need for greater collegiality and collaboration in church governance and the growing role of the laity,” said Pete Borré, Co-Chair of the Council of Parishes. “We are challenged by these issues here in the Archdiocese of Boston. The most striking lesson from the Reconfiguration fiasco of the past year is the inability of the Archdiocese to engage Boston Catholics in a meaningful dialogue. Many of them have struggled to keep their faith while losing their trust.”
“Dialogue is part of our Catholic tradition. This Archdiocese and others across the county have come together in the past in convocation as part of the planning process for the mission of our church, yet none has been convened since the clergy sexual abuse crisis broke in 2002 and particularly for the planning of the reconfiguration process,” said Cynthia Deysher, Co-Chair of the Council of Parishes.. “In addressing the challenges in the Archdiocese of Boston the archdiocese has not sought to make the people part of the solution, but rather has undertaken a flawed top down process that has further alienated Catholics. Lay Catholics must be part of solving the problems of the Archdiocese of Boston to rebuild trust and promote healing.”
The documentary movie Closed on Sunday’s chronicles the events of parish
closings from the day the announcements were sent out via FedEx to the present
from the perspective of the people whose lives it has affected. The film was
produced by filmmaker Rudi Schwab, a parishioner of St. Catherine of Sienna
in Charlestown. “I undertook this project to tell the stories of the people in the pews, but did not know where it was going to lead,” said Schwab. “I had no idea of how profoundly this would affect Catholics and their response to a process that they felt ignored them. I hope that the movie portrays their level of faith - which for many in the vigiling parishes has been deepened as a result of this - and the responsibility the people embrace beyond the anger they have felt.”
The Council of Parishes is a group of committed, concerned Catholics formed to support parishes subject to closure; who seek options other than the closure of vibrant parishes as solutions to the shortage of priests and the financial distress in the Boston Archdiocese and who provide a forum for parishes and laity to communicate with the archdiocese about issues of concern.