House Church Talk - shutting the doors in Boston
forwarded at housechurch.org
Wed May 26 13:47:25 EDT 2004
Boston Archdiocese to Shut 60 Churches, O'Malley Says (Update3)
May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese will close 60
churches in eastern Massachusetts over the next four months and reduce
the number of its parishes from 357 to 292, the most extensive cutbacks
in the U.S. in at least three decades, Archbishop Sean O'Malley said.
The cuts announced today don't include at least 10 parishes targeted for
closure last year in the cities of Lawrence and Lowell, an archdiocesan
statement said. When added to other previous and announced closings, the
Boston area will have lost 122 parishes since 1985, surpassing the 78
Chicago eliminated from 1975 to 1995.
The cuts, driven by financial needs and a priest shortage, reflect a
shift in the Catholic church in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest from
serving mostly large families in urban areas to a more suburban,
gentrified version of itself, said Bernard F. Swain, a management
consultant who worked with eight groups of Boston-area parishes during
the closing process.
"The suburbanization of Catholicism is a major feature of recent American
Catholicism, as it was a feature of Protestantism a couple of generations
before," Swain said.
Swain said Boston's archdiocese, which has 2.1 million members, was
probably overbuilt in 19th and 20th centuries.
O'Malley said one-third of the parishes are running deficits and many
more need repairs. In Boston, the bill to fix the facilities would be
$100 million, and the archdiocese doesn't have cost estimates for the
rest of the churches in the five eastern Massachusetts counties with 144
communities that it serves.
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