The Deacon's Bench simply reports what the New York Times is reporting. Good news for some, sad for others. Why not just let parishes swim or sink on their own without creating a top-down closure system. Wouldn't that be more logical? Let various congregations decide! Just my humble opinion!
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan announced on Sunday the largest reorganization in the history of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of New York, with 55 parishes from Staten Island to the Catskills to merge with neighboring parishes.
In 31 of those mergers, all Masses and other sacraments such as weddings and funerals will cease to be celebrated on a regular basis at one of the churches being merged. In the remaining 24 mergers, both churches will remain open for the regular celebration of Masses and other events.
Of the churches that will essentially be closed on a weekly basis for worship purposes, nine are in Manhattan, six in Westchester, four in Staten Island and six are in Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, or Dutchess counties.
The churches that will cease to be used regularly in Manhattan include Holy Rosary, Holy Agony, and Saint Lucy’s in East Harlem, and Our Lady of Peace, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Stephen of Hungary on the Upper East Side.
In the Bronx, churches no longer used regularly will include Visitation on Van Cortlandt Park South and Saint Ann on Bainbridge Avenue. On Staten Island, they include Assumption on Webster Avenue and Saint Mary of the Assumption on Richmond Terrace. In Westchester, they include Most Holy Trinity and Saint Denis in Yonkers and three churches in Mount Vernon — Saint Ursula, Sacred Heart and Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Parishioners in some affected parishes have already begun mobilizing to save their churches, and legal action and additional protests are expected before the decisions are set to start taking effect in August 2015.
Some churches that had been recommended for mergers by an advisory panel earlier this year were spared after parishioners raised objection Among them are Holy Innocents Church in Midtown Manhattan, the only church in New York where the Latin Mass is celebrated daily, and St. John’s Church in Piermont.
“This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge,” Cardinal Dolan said in a news release announcing the changes. “There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them.”