Saturday, January 17, 2009

Albany to close 33 churches

FoxNews23 is announcing that the Diocese of Albany will close 33 churches over the next 3 years.

According to the story,

Planning for the future of parishes is happening in dioceses across the state and across the Northeast. The Dioceses of Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo have closed between 20 and 30 percent of their churches. Through Called to BE Church, the Albany Diocese will close just under 20 percent of its existing worship sites.

4 comments:

Dr. K said...

Excerpts from an article posted October of last year where Bishop Clark spoke at a meeting about the Albany church closings (source- http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2008/oct/26/1026_diocesespeak/):

Clark spoke about his own experience dealing with consolidation in the Rochester Diocese, which has closed 22 churches over the last 10 years.

“One of the huge challenges of this is communication,” the bishop said, adding that holding meetings between parishes is a helpful way to hammer out solutions, but they won’t always be accepted when committee members get back to their home parishes.

“People who went to school together in central schools, who shopped at the same malls, who were friends through other civic associations, started to take an attitude toward one another.”

People are very connected to their church buildings, where they’ve been married, baptized their children, said goodbye to deceased loved ones and invested money, and no one should dismiss those deep feelings, Clark said.

“We cannot ever ignore or slide by the pain this causes people,” he said. “We are a faith community in which symbols are enormously important.”

...

But Clark, whose relaxed style of speaking had attendees laughing at several points during the speech, said some Rochester parishioners believed he had already made up his mind about consolidations long before he had.

“’The bishop’s got the whole damn thing in the safe already, so why are we going through this?’” he jokingly quoted a parishioner.


Looks like our own little expert here has given some helpful advice to his old pal in Albany. I can just see Bishop Clark now sitting back in a recliner, using a toothpick to get the steak our from between his teeth, and dispensing advice to Bishop Hubbard. Closing churches a couple at a time backfired terribly in the DoR, and it prolonged the amount of negative media coverage and anger from parishioners that the DoR was getting. So Bishop Clark learned that it's better to bite the bullet and perform closures all at once (as we saw with the DoR school closings -- by the way, expect to see more multiple closings in the future should more be necessary, rather than the couple at a time approach of the past 5 years). This is probably why we're seeing the DoA planning on doing all its closings in a short three year period.

And to comment on the last two paragraphs of the citation I posted, it's nice to see that the Bishop can find humor in what he has done to our Diocese and the pain it has caused his faithful. I hope our relaxed joker will enjoy his retirement in 1,274 days, I know I will.

Bishop Clark is an incredibly frustrating individual, I must say, and he is good at bringing out negative emotions.

~Dr. K

Interstate Catholic said...

I'm only familiar with the catholic churches in the cities of Schenectady and Amsterdam. I can tell you that there are some catholic churches that are right down the street from each other. And I'm talking less than one half mile from each other. Consolidation was long overdue in these areas. But it's still sad.

Anonymous said...

LeRoy, NY (DOR) has two Catholic Churches within 100 yards of eachother.

Interstate Catholic said...

Anon,
LeRoy is in the Buffalo diocese. I believe that the smaller church has closed or is in the process of being closed.