"Sad to say, the present situation here in St. Mary's is not impressive,"
Father Curran, pastor
GLOUCESTER CITY NJ--Since Bishop Galante started his "Speak-up" Sessions in March of 2005, he has constantly talked of his Vision for the Church in the Diocese of Camden and for each parish. He wants each parish to become a Vibrant, Dynamic Faith Community. This is especially true since the parishes of the Diocese have been meeting in their respective deaneries to discuss the future of each parish.
Our deanery had a meeting with representatives of each parish in our deanery at St. Aloysius in Oaklyn on Tuesday, September 25th. Bishop Galante and members of the Diocesan Planning Team were in attendance.
They reviewed the suggestions submitted to them this past July by the Deanery and recommended that all the suggestions be reviewed again at four more meetings between now and mid December.
Bishop Galante asks that he have final suggestions by mid January 2008. St. Mary's representatives are Fr. Curran, Jim Braunwarth, Lew Atkinson and Ed Walton.
These representatives were delegated by our initial larger parish planning representatives. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this very important work.
I am not a scaremonger but I do feel a duty, as your pastor, to remind our parishioners of some obvious realities. Bishop Galante's decisions regarding the future of parishes and personnel will be based on "Realities" as they exist right now.
Sad to say, the present situation here in St. Mary's is not impressive. I know the people reading this are active supportive members of our parish. You are here and I thank you for that.
However, there are so many registered parishioners who are never or seldom here. Those of you who are here regularly can see the empty seats and the empty pews. Look at the Church collection report and you can see that we are approximately $4,000 short of our need each week.
We are required to do a "Head Count" for the Diocese next weekend and unless there is a miracle of some kind, Bishop Galante will not be impressed.
He will probably conclude - "They don't need 4 Masses on a weekend; they can get by with 2. They don't need 2 priests; one will suffice".
And down the road the people who are letting St. Mary's down now by non-attendance, will be the first to complain when they don't have a priest for weddings and funerals and other Sacramental celebrations.
I'm disappointed in the present negative realties. Maybe you can talk to your non-practicing, non-supportive family members and neighbors. A year or two from now don't say there was no warning. This is IT!