Skip to comments.Dozens of South Jersey Catholic Churches Expected to Close
Posted on 04/04/2008 8:07:32 AM PDT by NYer
Sweeping changes are afoot for Roman Catholics in South Jersey, as the bishop of the Diocese of Camden announces a plan to consolidate parishes and probably close dozens of churches.
Half a million Catholics from Camden, NJ to Cape May, NJ were hoping to discern the fate of their individual houses of worship as Bishop Joseph Galante announced his plans for parish consolidations.
But the plan was being presented as a "work in progress" for change within the Catholic Church in South Jersey.
Bishop Joseph Galante (above) made the announcement on Thursday afternoon that the 124 parishes across the southern part of New Jersey were being consolidated into 66, probably resulting in the eventual closure or "clustering" of dozens of churches over a period of about two years.
Galante said that clustering involves placing the operation of more than one church under the control of a single priest.
Although the number of church buildings being closed was estimated at a couple of dozen, the exact number was not known since the buildings are owned by the individual parishes, not the diocese. Church officials said the newly consolidated parishes will decide the fate of individual church buildings under their purview.
Galante acknowledged that the process, including the reassignment of priests across the region, will be painful for many in the church community, but he says it will make the church stronger:
"What is not acceptable is complacency or indifference. What is not possible is to continue to do what we’ve always done. What is possible is the revitalization of our church."
Church officials indicated that the consolidation of parishes has been driven by several factors: declining attendance, a shortage of priests, and rising operating costs. Galante says just 24 percent of the area's Catholics attend mass on a regular basis.
The Diocese of Camden provided a 10MB document showing which parishes were being consolidated. Click here to view (Acrobat required).
(Click here to read the full text of the bishop's announcement)
Here’s another article about our diocese....
Best wishes to Bp. Galante. He’s in a very difficult situation. And prayers for the Diocese, too.
Denial, denial, denial..........
I hate it when they try and put lipstick on a pig. It's the same story with the lack of vocations in certain areas. It's portrayed as an opportunity for greater lay involvement or a challenge to us from the Holy Spirit. The reluctance to face up to the truth and confront it head on has and continues to harm the Church.
Why not simply say "ladies and gentlemen, this is a very sad day for all of us" and leave it at that? For indeed it is. What must it be like to have to close down beautiful churches which are a testament to the faith and hard work of our forefathers, paid for with the shekels of widows and poor people? Unspeakably sad, is all I can say.
We are seeing this pattern all across the northeast. It only makes sense that so many Catholics have moved down south; hence the boom down there. As ‘Soldiers of Christ’, we will just have to keep on championing the Catholic Church and devoting more time and resources to the remaining parishes. (Would appreciate it if you would keep an eye out for an older baptismal font. Our parish needs one and the local diocese is giving us the runaround. Thanks!)
Church officials indicated that the consolidation of parishes has been driven by several factors: declining attendance, a shortage of priests, and rising operating costs.
Sorry, there are no "out of work" Priests. :)
Don't know if it's a workable solution, but the Boston archdiocese has been cannibalizing some of the closed churches (our lower church got a few small stained glass windows from churches on the North Shore). I don't know who you'd ask either -- and shipping charges might be prohibitive. But it might be worth looking into.
My own family was still within St. Aloysius, and it was a dying parish even in the Sixties. When I went back east for the funerals of my parents, it had all the signs of a parish that was disappearing.
People move on.
Don’t let those church furnishings just be thrown out, as happened to many lovely and sacred things of some NYC churches that were closed.
Prayers for everyone affected by this.
Interesting article. I live in Virginia Beach now...where the Church is growing..but I was born and raised in this diocese. Baptized, First Holy Communion and Confirmation at St Anthony of Padua in Camden, but also attended St Peter’s in Pennsauken. We moved to Buena and attended Mass at a mission chapel of Our Lady of Victory in Landisville while building our own parish Our Lady of the Lakes. In the last years of her life my mother was a member of St. Mary’s in Williamstown and that’s where we celebrated her funeral Mass. It’s funny how many of my childhood memories are tied to the parish we belonged too. I’m happy to see that none of ‘my’ Churches are being closed but I did notice that Our lady Of Victory isn’t listed as an active parish. Does anyone know what happened to OLV?
In fact, selling off parishes is something that a bishop can only do with permission from the Vatican. In church law it is refered to as the alienation of church property. If it is over a certain amount of money, I believe it has to be okayed from above.
Parishioners need to ask to see the paperwork.
Then leave me the heck alone and quit stalking my posts, old man. ;o)
the collective holiness to be found in south jersey would probably fit inside a confessional, and get lost in a diocese full of chapels.