The Steering Committee of the Eastern Greece/Charlotte Pastoral Planning Group has been meeting frequently of late in an effort to chart a course for the six parishes in the group.
The parishes involved are Holy Cross, Holy Name of Jesus, Our Lady of Mercy, Our Mother of Sorrows, St. John the Evangelist and St. Charles Borromeo.
Last year's weekend Mass reductions at HNOJ and OLM have had the predicted detrimental effect on both attendance and finances. HNOJ has seen its Average October Attendance fall 15.5% in the last year while OLM took a staggering 35.8% hit over the same period. HNOJ's 2008 AOA was 372 and OLM's was 276.
Three sources have now confirmed that the Steering Committee's financial sub-committee has spent considerable time of late crunching the numbers and has now issued its recommendation. To no one's surprise, the sub-committee believes that neither HNOJ nor OLM are financially viable over the long term and has recommended that the parishes and the Planning Group suggest that the diocese close both.
I am also told that various approaches to clustering were considered and ultimately rejected, due primarily to the almost universal long term failure of that process in other planning groups.
At this point in time the report and the recommendation are just that: a report and a recommendation. It is now up to the parishes and the Planning Group to decide what course of action they will pursue.