Thursday, February 19, 2009

Decline along the shore line

Eugene Michael at Rochester Catholic is reporting on declining Mass attendance in the area immediately east of the Genesee River and the effect it is having on individual parishes.

The Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group (IPPG) has just released its latest report on the clustering process in that town. The report states that in Irondequoit, “Mass attendance has decreased 38%” since October, 2000.

The report goes on to say that buildings are underutilized, income is declining, and the availability of priests is limited. The report strongly intimates that the closing of churches will be next.

Things are not much better on this side of the river.  The 6 parishes of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte Planning Group have experienced a combined 32% decline in Mass attendance over the same 8 year period.

Last year Bishop Clark tossed out the existing EG/C Pastoral Plan and told the group to come up with a new one.  According to the bishop,

changing circumstances have led me to ask you to develop a new plan addressing emerging needs and issues. While the most visible concern is the financial situation at some of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte parishes amidst the challenging local economic climate, the current landscape in the Eastern Greece and Charlotte areas includes changing demographics (both of the parishes and of the surrounding neighborhoods) and a significant drop in Mass attendance over the past seven years.

The Irondequoit Planning Group consists of Christ the King, St. Cecilia, St. Margaret Mary, St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes.

The Eastern Greece/Charlotte Planning Group consists of Holy Cross, Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lady of Mercy, Our Mother of Sorrows, St. Charles Borromeo and St. John the Evangelist parishes.

8 comments:

Dr. K said...

And within 3 years, after all of these churches are clustered and almost half have closed, they will almost all be led by Pastoral Administrators.

Come on DoR, the solution is simple: orthodoxy and vocations. And the second comes as a result of the first. Make it happen.

~Dr. K

LarryD said...

Where does St Mark's in northern Greece (off of Long Pond) fall in all this? That's where my parents and some of my siblings attend.

Mike said...

Larry,

St. Mark and St. Lawrence comprise the Western Greece Planning Group which is located, as one might expect, west of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte Planning Group.

See map here. (The area between them is part of Our Mother of Sorrows.)

I do not have attendance figures for these parishes.

Interstate Catholic said...

I'm a little surprised that the Basilians are still running a church in the diocese, let alone three.

Mike said...

Interstate,

I'm surprised too.

I'm guessing there are two factors involved:

Not all Basilians want to teach and Bishop Clark needs all the extra-DOR ordained help he can get.

gretchen said...

Which churches are run by the Basilians?

Mike said...

Gretchen,

Christ the King in Irondequoit is one. I'm not sure of the other two.

Interstate Catholic said...

The other two are:
St. Salome
St. Thomas the Apostle

Fr. Norm Tanck C.S.B. is the pastor of the cluster. Two other Basilian priests and one priest from the DOR minister to the cluster. DOR Deacons serve the cluster as well.