Monday, October 22, 2007

Parochial Disaster?

Terry asks a few questions about the merger of four Milwaukee parishes (Corpus Christi, Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Philip Neri).

How's it working out? All I know is what I read in our archdiocesan newspaper.

Swearingen said that the parish is estimating 300 parishioners in the pews on Sundays. Before the merger, Swearingen told your Catholic Herald that following the merge, Blessed Savior could have 3,000 parishioners coming from all four parishes.

It certainly could have, since the District statistics showed 3,273 members in the constituent parishes.That raises some questions unanswered in the remainder of the article. Does he mean, as he appears to, 300 total at Mass? If he meant 900 divided among three Masses for Sunday, I assume the article would have said so. Even 900 is a drop from 1,266 on the District statistics. Are those people attending Mass elsewhere? Of the possible 3,000 members, how many did they wind up with, how many joined other parishes, and how many are unaccounted for? If this merger went as badly as it appears from this article, what have the people in charge of archdiocesan planning learned from this experience? Or is this what they consider a successful merger?

900 attendees would be bad.

300 attendees is a disaster of the first water.


Brother James said...

How far does the merger force the farthest flung parishoners to travel? I'd hate to think that many just stopped attending Mass due to inconvenient travel or Mass scheduling.

Dad29 said...

They are urban parishes, so the longest distance would be around 5 miles, maximum...

Most members should be within 3 miles, maybe even 2.

Anonymous said...

Jim Conell will probably try to eliminate lots of churches and most of the schools. Schools cost too much of the money he'd like to use to do funky, trendy, IAF, interfaith stuff that he could schmooze about at cocktail parties. Be very wary of what her proposes. Pray hard.

Terrence Berres said...

I see no reason to attribute any such motives to Father Connell. The problem is that his "Energizing Our Vibrancy" actually proposed another round of managed decline. Parish and school mergers are downsizing, and in our Archdiocese "planning" is planning more downsizing. Downsizing is demoralizing. Demoralization leads to more downsizing: the death spiral.

xxxxxx said...

I think that the loss of parish identity is devastating. I left St Adalbert in So Milw a year or two or few before it merged. Of course, they don't use the beautiful church building, but the ugly one...Point is I chose St Adalbert because it was the most conservative. Now I travel a half hour to get to mass....most people won't. Even 20 minutes is too long for many. Sad but true.

As an aside, nothing is more depressing than seeing the old Holy family parish and school in Cudahy...we lost so much with this Catholic identity crisis.

Terrence Berres said...

"Of course, they don't use the beautiful church building, but the ugly one..."

Those old churches were usually either hot or cold, the new ones lukewarm. We're told it's the HVAC.