As Archbishop Chaput continues to close churches and refuses to meet with the faithful, area Catholics struggle to understand. As a member of St. Joachim Parish (and we do have an open Appeal in the Vatican), we learned last year that “the decision has been made and we are not considering any changes”. From Philly.com, “Archbishop Nixes Appeals by Five Closed Parishes”.
Personally, I would respectfully ask the Archbishop to rethink this policy. Evidence is mounting and even more credible that the Area Pastoral Planning Process is severely flawed. Every parish we have spoken to, has had the same experience that we, at St. Joachim, have had. All parishioners were not consulted and recommendations of the PPA’s have been overturned at the highest level without any explanation at all to the reasoning or the logic. This process needs to be reviewed and redone. The history of our neighborhood parishes is deep and rich. Our needs today require that we unite and become “One body, One church” whether we are from Marcus Hook or Montgomeryville, South Philly or Swarthmore. Only then, can we be heard.
We call on the Archbishop, as our Shepherd here in Philadelphia, and urge him as stated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) referring to 1 Peter 5:1-4 to be that “example” for us:
“So I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the suffering of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, [overseeing] not by constraint, but by willingness as God would have it, not for shameful profit, but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
The mighty wind of the Spirit is stirring throughout this Archdiocese to ask for an honest and earnest discussion about the future of the Catholic Church in Philaelphia and its surrounding suburbs. This Spirit is inclusive and urges that all the voices of the faithful be heard. Can you hear it, Archbishop Chaput? Do you feel it? Perhaps it’s time for a new direction, a new course?