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Diocese to close, merge worship sites (RC Diocese of Albany)
Times Union ^ | January 8, 2009 | MARC PARRY

Posted on 01/08/2009 12:52:25 PM PST by NYer

COLONIE-- Roughly 20 percent of worship sites in the 164-parish Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany will close or merge in an unprecedented restructuring plan expected to be released this month, Bishop Howard Hubbard said Wednesday.

But Hubbard said his decisions will largely hew to the recommendations of 38 local planning groups from across the 14-county diocese. Those panels of lay Catholics and priests analyzed parish resources and made suggestions to Hubbard in June as to which churches should merge or close.

"There will be some surprises," Hubbard said. "There will be some places that were recommended for closure that won't close. And there are some places that people are at least hoping that they've made a strong enough case that their parish would stay open and that will not happen."

Hubbard spoke during a meeting with reporters and editors at the Times Union's Colonie office Wednesday afternoon. The remarks were his most detailed public comments to date on the outcome of a two-and-a-half year restructuring project that has aroused anxiety across the diocese.

In June, the Times Union reported that at least 19 churches would close or merge throughout the Capital Region's urban core under recommendations that the local planning groups submitted to Hubbard.

The plans proposed then would be particularly painful for Troy. Planners recommended closing six of the Collar City's dozen Catholic churches, including St. Patrick's, Hubbard's home parish, and St. Peter's, the state's third-oldest Catholic parish.

Albany, like other dioceses across the Northeast, is grappling with urban flight and a shortage of priests. Since 1960, the city of Troy has lost 34 percent of its population, Albany declined 27 percent, and Schenectady dropped 25 percent.

In the interview Wednesday, Hubbard touched on another factor that, for some, could be as painful as closing parishes.

"There will be people who will be losing their jobs" after the plan is announced, he said.

It's unclear right now how many people that will be, Hubbard said. But the types of positions affected could include parish life and faith formation directors, people who care for the elderly, bookkeepers and secretaries, Hubbard said.

And the diocese will try to place as many displaced workers as possible in jobs within the vast Catholic employment network -- schools, Catholic Charities, hospitals and nursing homes.

"We'll try to do what we can to make sure that people who are being displaced find another job," Hubbard said. "We can't promise that. But we'll do the best we can."

Then there are the properties that will be sold. First preference, Hubbard said, would go to religious uses. Second would be nonprofits, and third would be the commercial sector.

"Any assets of a parish that's closed or merged, be it savings that they have or proceeds that come from the sale of the property, they will go to the successor parish or to the local community," Hubbard said. "In other words, the finances remain locally. They're not going to the diocese."

For parishioners like Maureen Noonan of St. Peter's in Troy, all that is to be done now is wait.

Church members are planning to celebrate St. Peter's 185th anniversary this year, the lifelong parishioner said.

"Until they hear the words," the 71-year-old said, "they're going to keep hoping."


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; Ministry/Outreach; Worship
KEYWORDS: albany; bishophubbard; newyork; ny; rcda; troy

1 posted on 01/08/2009 12:52:26 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

It’s getting ugly.


2 posted on 01/08/2009 12:53:22 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

It’s terrible.


3 posted on 01/08/2009 12:56:43 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer
Diocesan destruction. How lovely. It's long past time for Catholics to start demanding accountability from their bishops. If a bishop has been in cathedra for 10 years and his diocese is still a mess, he should be forced to resign.

Bishop Hubbard, for one, should resign. His reign has been an abject failure and a scandal. He's like the servant who buried his talent in the ground.
4 posted on 01/08/2009 1:17:49 PM PST by Antoninus (America didn't turn away from conservatism, they turned away from many who faked it. - Mark Sanford)
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To: NYer

“Worship sites” huh? What’s the deal with that terminology? I mean, Stonehenge was a worship site, too, wasn’t it? Political correctness run amok.


5 posted on 01/08/2009 1:41:18 PM PST by Red Reign (Storm clouds gather. Fear not, it's a Red Reign that's coming.)
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To: Antoninus
It's long past time for Catholics to start demanding accountability from their bishops.

I live within the Albany diocese and letters have been written over the years for various things.

I pray that Bishop Hubbard retires soon and we get a good replacement

6 posted on 01/08/2009 2:05:25 PM PST by stfassisi (The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi))
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To: Red Reign

Have a look at any of the “renovations” performed under Hubbard; you wouldn’t mistake one of them for a church.


7 posted on 01/08/2009 2:42:57 PM PST by Oratam
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To: NYer

And meanwhile, my sister and her family attend mass in Fredricksburg, VA in an old mini-mart! Heck, the gas pumps are still outside!


8 posted on 01/08/2009 2:43:03 PM PST by SAMS ("I may look harmless, but I raised a U.S. MARINE!" Army Wife & Marine Mom)
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To: NYer

Why are so many closing (question from a non-RC)?

Why aren’t they growing. Seems there are plenty of new
hispanics, etc. that tend to be RC)?


9 posted on 01/08/2009 3:23:22 PM PST by aMorePerfectUnion ("I've got a bracelet too, Jim")
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To: Red Reign
“Worship sites” huh? What’s the deal with that terminology?

That was my first thought, too -- "'Worship sites'??? Well, there's the problem!" I'd LOL, but it's too sad -- and way too common . . .

10 posted on 01/08/2009 3:28:07 PM PST by maryz
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To: Antoninus
Bishop Hubbard, for one, should resign.

He is 5 years away from submitting his mandatory letter of retirement. Read that as ... an eternity.

11 posted on 01/08/2009 4:26:00 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: stfassisi
I pray that Bishop Hubbard retires soon and we get a good replacement

He reaches mandatory retirement age on Dec. 31, 2013 and will not resign sooner.

I live within the Albany diocese and letters have been written over the years for various things.

From what I understand, the Vatican has a very thick dossier on him, filled with formalized complaint letters written by local area Catholics. Short of apostacy, there is nothing they will do.

Do you remember the Fr. Minkler incident?

12 posted on 01/08/2009 4:34:03 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: aMorePerfectUnion
Why are so many closing (question from a non-RC)?

There are a combination of factors, most of which are historical. Here in the northeast, immigrants built many Catholic Churches. To honor their ancestral lands, you would find on one corner a church built by Polish immigrants, another built by the Germans, the Irish, the Italians, etc. Albany, Troy and other nearby cities were manufacturing towns for shirt collars, gloves, etc. Once manufacturing was automated, the descendants moved to other parts of the US in search of jobs. These magnificent churches, built with sweat and tears, now have small congregations.

Why aren’t they growing. Seems there are plenty of new hispanics, etc. that tend to be RC)?

Not up here. If anything, we have an influx of southerners and the Evangelicals are in growth mode. Due to a weak Catholic bishop, many Catholics now worship at the Evangelical churches. Please remember us in your prayers.

13 posted on 01/08/2009 4:47:35 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

**It’s getting ugly.**

Per your predictions all along the way.

Hubbard needs a lot of prayers.

And to think that other churches, including my own, are bursting at the seams.


14 posted on 01/08/2009 5:42:26 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: stfassisi; NYer

**I pray that Bishop Hubbard retires soon and we get a good replacement **

This may be the only answer.

Praying for you.


15 posted on 01/08/2009 5:43:47 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
He reaches mandatory retirement age on Dec. 31, 2013 and will not resign sooner.

But, you're not counting the days are you? ;)

16 posted on 01/08/2009 7:02:29 PM PST by Desdemona (Tolerance of grave evil is NOT a Christian virtue (I choose virtue. Values change too often).)
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To: NYer

hubbard?

is he related to L. Ron Hubbard?


17 posted on 01/08/2009 9:17:35 PM PST by Coleus (Merry Christmas!)
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To: NYer

Shucks - the first part of the headline made me think Rome was gonna take drastic action clean up your diocese by closing it down and merging it with another....


18 posted on 01/09/2009 5:34:59 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: Notwithstanding; stfassisi
Shucks - the first part of the headline made me think Rome was gonna take drastic action clean up your diocese by closing it down and merging it with another....

Lol ... the closest 'other' is the Diocese of Rochester run by Bishop Clark, Hubbard's fellow seminarian and good friend. You may recall a recent thread about the bishop booting the resident priest and replacing him with ....

Sr. Joan "Installed" as Pastoral Administrator

Imagine the mayhem were these two dioceses to merge! No ... we need to think positive thoughts. Like Hubbard, Matthew Clark will turn 75 in 2013. I pray BXVII is still with us to appoint bishops with a straight and orthodox spine.

19 posted on 01/09/2009 6:10:22 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: Desdemona; stfassisi
But, you're not counting the days are you? ;)

Countdown To Hubbard's Retirement

20 posted on 01/09/2009 6:20:22 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer; stfassisi
ROTFLOL! I was laughing so hard I had to go make a cup of tea before I could type. That's priceless. I have to forward that to some people I know in LA who say things of Mahoney that would get you banned on FR.
21 posted on 01/09/2009 6:30:25 AM PST by Desdemona (Tolerance of grave evil is NOT a Christian virtue (I choose virtue. Values change too often).)
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To: NYer
LOL!
22 posted on 01/09/2009 6:45:15 AM PST by stfassisi (The greatest gift God gives us is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi))
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To: Antoninus

You can yell at the bishops but if the people are not giving enough to keep the parish open there are few alternatives.

It could be the bishop’s weakness and it could be the priests in certain parishes but the one thing I have noticed coming from Protestantism to Catholicism is that Catholics don’t give a lot of money. They expect a lot and give very little.

Another thing is that many priests spend parishes into insolvency.


23 posted on 01/09/2009 5:08:17 PM PST by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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