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Originally Posted by Administrator
Dan,

If I might add to my point, there is absolutely no reason for there not to be a thriving Church in any city or town.

In geographic areas where there have been large population losses over many years, merging of parishes and even downsizing of buildings is often practical, and even necessary for survival. Some do need to close.

In geographic areas where the original ethnic peoples have moved away (say, from the inner city to the suburbs), new temples should be established. Unfortunately this has not happened in most places, due to the belief that setting up a new parish would draw people from a dying parish. This, of course, is usually true but it is also true that people who move a good distance away from the "old church" tend not to be active parishioners, and the next generation raises their children in another church that is much closer to home. [They are not to be faulted for this as it is perfectly reasonable.]

Another lost opportunity is the "old church" in the inner city. When the original ethnic parishioners moved to the suburbs other people moved into the parish should have welcomed the newcomers by being hospitable to their ethnicity. Consider, for example, the possibility of incredible Byzantine worship in a Black neighborhood if you could convert a few Gospel singers and encourage them to compose new liturgical chant that they will love as much as we love ours. The same approach could work with Hispanics, Asians and probably all of the new ethnic groups.

In the end, though, the largest reason for the decline of the parishes are problems regarding worship. Many Byzantines (bishops, clergy and laity) did not recognize the jewel they had, and they were so envious of another jewel (the Roman Catholic one) that they neglected the jewel that adorned their own House. That self-loathing, together with some really bad decisions by Rome, set the current path. A new direction can be set (to save what remains and to build again), but not until the jewel that is hidden (our own liturgy and theology) is rediscovered, polished, and celebrated. It is something I pray for daily.

John

Wow, great posting. In my Eastern Catholic parish here in California it's the "cradle Byzantines" that tend to be the most optimistic. They are open to local interchange with the Latin Rite of the Church without compromising the jewels. They are a pleasure to worship with.

It's seems to be the disaffected Latin Riters that are the most envious and the most willing to wall our parish off from everyone else. I find this odd because they never lived through the Latinizations and other issues that our cradle Byzantines did. They seem almost obsessed with the Latin Rite -- it certainly dominates their conversations.

One parishioner couldn't wait to tell Bp. Gerald about how odd it was that Latin Rite Catholics didn't regard them as being Catholic. I asked him that rather than continue to repeat stories from those who actually lived that difficulty many years ago, why not spend your time on educating local Latin Riters on the history of our tradition? I could actually see his eyes glaze over in front of the bishop. No interest at all.

Parish growth (and the hard work that it entails) should always be a high priority for every parish.

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Why couldn't enough former parishioners step-up and buy the Holy Trinity facility? Things may be bad now but they won't be forever. A non-profit 501 (c)3 corporation could have been formed. While possibly unlikely, maybe the Eparchy might have even carried the paper or at the very least sold it for even less than $1M to a serious Catholic group who was serious about preserving it for Catholic posterity


Bishop Andrew probably would have asked for $2 million in that case smile he wanted us closed...although you could ask bishop Gerald since he was in the chancery in Passaic at the time and was definitely "kept in the loop"...

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Bishop Pataki closed the parish with no warning whatsoever. On the day it was closed at the end of the liturgy hired, armed security cops made their presence known while the closing was announced for the first and last time. The people were then escorted out and the doors locked. This is how Byzantine bishops behave. And someone thinks a bishop would sell them the building for old time sake? They'd blow it up before they'd sell it to parishioners.

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Here is a report from WNEP of Scranton on the population declines in the Coal region towns of Northeastern PA: http://www.wnep.com/wnep-coal-region-ghost-towns-20110810,0,7495194.story

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One of the things I could never understand about the actions of Bsp Pataki is this: Bsp Andrew who closed this parish was also the same man who had authorized Father Loya to combine three parishes in the Chicago area into one healthy one. I don't understand why he didn't use the same methodology in Conn. I have some guesses. Some are positive and some are negative but I'm not sure I'll ever find out.

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
One of the things I could never understand about the actions of Bsp Pataki is this: Bsp Andrew who closed this parish was also the same man who had authorized Father Loya to combine three parishes in the Chicago area into one healthy one. I don't understand why he didn't use the same methodology in Conn. I have some guesses. Some are positive and some are negative but I'm not sure I'll ever find out.

Not to beat a dead horse, however, remember, Bsp Andrew did not use much tact in closing parishes in your area...Joliet specifically comes to mind...that was one of the many issues that essentially lead to the "revolt" in Parma which forced the moving of Bishop Andrew to Passaic...

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Re: St. Mary Assumption of Joliet,When one tries to herd cats one runs into many difficulties. Still, he was not particularly tactful when handling Fr. Loya either. Still, the merger of the three congregations was the right move.

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Every corporation I know has what I call the designated SOB--they guy to whom they turn when they need someone to do something utterly rotten--like laying off a thousand or so workers the week before Christmas. More than a few of these people actually like their job. The problem, of course, is such people are both feared and loathed within their companies, which means they will never rise to the top. That's why, in recent years, companies have turned to "downsizing consultants"--outsiders who come in, do the dirty work, and then ride out of town. This allows those in charge to distance themselves from the consequences of their decision, and to posture as nice guys who would have liked to do something else, but, "hey, our hands were tied".

The unfortunate thing about the Church is it has no real mechanism for employing consultants of that nature, and so have to shoot their own dogs.

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Stuart,

I think you have explained the situation quite well. I never knew Bsp. Andrew and I still don't understand why he tolerated some bad behavior by some priests while coming down hard on others. We know that many churches need to be closed or merged. It will happen no matter who is bishop because we are shrinking. We have mostly decided not to merge congregations and use the resources for building stronger ones but this will happen or we will simply cease to exist.

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Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
One of the things I could never understand about the actions of Bsp Pataki is this: Bsp Andrew who closed this parish was also the same man who had authorized Father Loya to combine three parishes in the Chicago area into one healthy one. I don't understand why he didn't use the same methodology in Conn. I have some guesses. Some are positive and some are negative but I'm not sure I'll ever find out.
When the parishes were combined almost 75% of the people did not migrate to the new parish. Ruthenians count that a great success. Ugh!

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Originally Posted by John Damascene
Originally Posted by carson daniel lauffer
One of the things I could never understand about the actions of Bsp Pataki is this: Bsp Andrew who closed this parish was also the same man who had authorized Father Loya to combine three parishes in the Chicago area into one healthy one. I don't understand why he didn't use the same methodology in Conn. I have some guesses. Some are positive and some are negative but I'm not sure I'll ever find out.
When the parishes were combined almost 75% of the people did not migrate to the new parish. Ruthenians count that a great success. Ugh!

Are you referring to Conn.? Whichever, that doesn't say much for the deep devotion for God or His Church by the people.

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Originally Posted by Jason D
Bishop Pataki closed the parish with no warning whatsoever. On the day it was closed at the end of the liturgy hired, armed security cops made their presence known while the closing was announced for the first and last time. The people were then escorted out and the doors locked. This is how Byzantine bishops behave. And someone thinks a bishop would sell them the building for old time sake? They'd blow it up before they'd sell it to parishioners.

That is not how Metropolitan Judson or Metropolitan Basil behaved. When either closed a parish, the parishioners were met with and informed months in advance and closing Liturgies were held and things from the old parish were transfered to the gaining parish.


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Whichever, that doesn't say much for the deep devotion for God or His Church by the people.


Not sure what you mean by this...The great majority (at least from HT) continue to attend church regularly...But the majority of the majority have either become Orthodox or attend RC. In regards to devotion to the BCC, I can't understand why one would hold devotion to an institution where you are not wanted...I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think when a BCC parish is closed people should make a decision, are they eastern, then go Orthodox, or are they western, go RC...the circumstances surrounding the formation of the eastern catholic churches no longer exist...but that could get me on a whole 'nother' topic.

PS...good to see you posting again CDL smile

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Thank you Job. I'll try not to get chased off again as I did several months ago. I don't know why it happened so I'm not sure exactly how to avoid it but I'll be cautious and try not to write anything that might be construed to be controversial.

Anyway, I suppose I might choose one of those options as well but seriously, I converted because I believe in the vision of the Eastern Catholic Church. I would gravitate toward the Ukies or the Melkites before giving up on that vision. Just call me Don Quixote.

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Wow! This brings back some bad memories! The Holy Trinity property was sold for $1.2 million. In 2006 Bishop Pataki & former priest George tried unsucessfully to sell 15 acres of the St John the Baptist property in Trumbull to a developer. The original offer was $2.1 million. The parishioners were unaware of this proposal until two days prior to the first Inland & Wetlands meeting where the developer was to present his plans. It was a very difficult time for the parishioners as this event divided the parish & caused many families to leave. The developer kept making changes & never seemed to have everything in order so his application was eventually denied. The Town of Trumbull looked into buying the property for open space but the real estate market began to tank at that time & the town decided not to buy the land. The was never an offer of $10 million on the table. Furthermore, there has been no talk of selling any property at St Johns since Bishop Pataki retired & George left the priesthood. We still remain a small parish but we are much stronger than we were in 2006 & we have not forgotten what happened to Holy Trinity.

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