The Questions Reporters Don’t Ask When Parishes Close

I find newspaper articles on consolidations/closings of Catholic parishes to be very unsatisfying, as the real questions seem to go unasked. Recently, the Detroit Free Press reported: Catholic parishes in city, suburbs close, merge as Detroit archdiocese downsizes.

Pretty standard article, but this paragraph caught my attention:

A parish in northern Oakland County, Divine Mercy in Davisburg, is closing seven years after it opened in a school gymnasium. With the recession and its aftermath, the population expansion that parish backers believed would materialize has not. Its pastor has been assigned to another parish. The parish bulletin says Divine Mercy’s last mass is June 23.

I would be interested to see some follow up questions about what magnitude of population expansion “parish backers” (whoever that specifically refers to) were expecting. A quick internet search revealed that in the past decade, population in Springfield Township (where Davisburg is located) grew 5%. It would also be interesting to know if this parish had a strategic plan for growth, i.e. intentional outreach to the unchurched in the area, an effort to reach non-practicing Catholics, cultivations of vocations to the priesthood within the parish, or any apologetics, discipleship, or evangelization specific programs. 

Many unanswered questions. Yet, our prayers are with these Christians in their time of transition.

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