Here's the Headline:
This was harder than I thought it would be,” Margaret O’Brien told a
CBS reporter last weekend. O’Brien, 86, had been one of the hundred or
so parishioners holding a round-the-clock vigil at St. Frances X.
Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass.
Eleven years ago the Boston Archdiocese announced that it was closing
the parish, a reorganization necessitated by the financial settlements
after the clergy sex-abuse scandal. The parishioners at St. Frances have
tried to alter the hierarchy’s decision using canon law as well as the
US legal system, maintaining a presence in the building so it would not
be sold out from under them.
But last month, they lost their final appeal when the Supreme Court
declined to take their case. And on Sunday, they held their final
service, holding 11 prayer quilts the community had created to
commemorate each year of their battle.
The story says these are just the kind of Catholics we need to save the Church from declining attendance.
While the Catholic hierarchy may not have had a choice in closing the
parish, in order to thrive they need to re-create exactly the kind of
community that St. Frances had become. Especially with a decline in
vocations, the church is more dependent on lay participation than ever.
So how did these upright and outstanding Catholics respond to the closure?
While the hierarchy has expressed its hope that the St. Frances
congregants will join other local parishes, they say they are done.
Starting next week, the members will be forming a religious institution
independent of the church, meeting initially at the local Masonic lodge.
Good Catholics? I say....