Boston, Mass., Feb 4, 2011 / 03:53 am
On Feb. 2, the Archdiocese of Boston announced plans for a reorganization that could change how many parishes operate. The changes are aimed at allowing the Church to cope with declining Mass attendance and a shortage of priests, without forcing parishes to close.
“The Archdiocese has been operating under a model decades old that was built for a time when 70 percent of Catholics attended Mass regularly,” archdiocesan spokesman Terry Donilon told CNA. “Today less than 20 percent attend weekly Mass in the Archdiocese.”
These numbers call for what Donilon described as a “total rebuild of the archdiocese,” likely to include mergers between several parish communities.
The newly-formed Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission hopes it can avoid some of the more drastic measures it has resorted to in the past. Vicar General Fr. Richard M. Erikson told the Boston Globe that the archdiocese did not plan to initiate another round of church closings, as it did in the wake of the 2002 sex-abuse scandals and resulting lawsuits.