**Cardinal Dolan: Church closings are possible in Staten Island (photos) **
Prior to presiding at a joyous Father’s Day debt-burning ceremony at St. Ann’s R.C. Church in Dongan Hills, Cardinal Timothy Dolan had some bad news for ailing parishes as he acknowledged that church closings are on the table as part of the Archdiocese of New York’s, “Making All Things New,” initiative.
The cardinal’s final decisions are expected to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2015. A letter from the cardinal that was read at weekend masses at parishes throughout Staten Island confirmed what was previously reported in the Advance, that the parishes of St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s in Rosebank and Immaculate Conception in Stapleton will be headed by one pastor as a prelude to the parish restructuring program.
While the three parishes will operate independently and no mention was made of shuttering any of them, the cardinal indicated that they will be working together to determine their future viability.
The cardinal made it clear in his blog and last week’s Catholic New York that he thinks there are too many parishes and that he wants to trim the $48 million that the archdiocese spends each year to operate its churches and schools. The archdiocese already has shuttered some parish schools – including those at St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s, and Immaculate Conception – in its move to a regional education system.
“We have too many parishes” the cardinal stated in Catholic New York. “We no longer need 385 parishes.”
He further explained the archdiocese’s financial predicament, saying in Catholic New York: “We devote a lopsided amount of money to maintain parishes and buildings we no longer need. Simply put, we can no longer put out $48 million a year to keep on life support parishes, buildings and schools we no longer need.”
When asked by an Advance reporter if churches would be shuttered, the cardinal said that Making All Things New would look at a “whole menu of opportunities” including, but not limited to, “merging, consolidating and even, on rare occasions, closing” parishes. The most “dramatic shifts” he said will be in Manhattan, which has an excess of parishes for its population of Roman Catholics, and the Bronx. Read more here.