Saturday, May 7, 2011

Death before evangelization

The "aging and dwindling congregation" of Blessed Trinity Church on Milwaukee's north side will soon merge with St. Catherine's, today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Apparently not recognizing that "aging and dwindling" means dying off, "members hope to remain a presence in their current community".

Our Archdiocese is assuming this death spiral will continue. "Over time, it is projected there will be about 85 parishes or clusters in the 10-county archdiocese, said Mark Kemmeter, director for planning and councils... ." How, you might wonder, can that "85 parishes" be reconciled with the Faith In Our Future capital campaign's Mission Statement including "To strengthen parish ministries in education and faith formation" in "Our 211 parishes"; perhaps it all depends on what the meaning of "parish" is.

Mr, Kemmeter later said "I think the people of Blessed Trinity have it right," he said. "They understand what church is about." About to close, in their case.

It calls to mind what what "Father Eleazar Perez, the popular Mexican priest who transformed a dying Polish parish on the south side into the largest Latino parish in the archdiocese", said to explain his departure. "[T]he system is choking... ."

So a dying parish is a model and a thriving one a problem? Well, recall that some years back, Fr. Bryan Massingale gave an address to the Spring Assembly of Priests in which he said "...I want to offer an image that speaks to me of hopeful endings and new beginnings: the image of hospice. I want to suggest that prophetic ministry today requires a 'hospice' mind set and approach to priestly ministry. ..." Seems he was not only taken seriously, but literally and to heart, and applied bureaucratically.


  1. Anonymous9:10 PM

    Terrence: Blessed "Trinity" not "Sacrament" in your first line. Blessed Sacrament is on the south side (Oklahoma Ave). No idea about any mergers there (yet).