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Parish amalgamations (letter)
Much grief is being suffered by many faithful Catholics these days. People who used to be daily communicants suddenly have very few Masses they can attend, unless they drive. Those who walk to Mass are often overlooked when church closures and parish amalgamations occur.
'They' didn't quite close our church but slashed Masses to two or three per week. They descended on us, like an invading army, those people who were supposed to amalgamate with us. They ordered us about, terrified our sacristan so that she was afraid in her own sacristy, meddled with our sound system so that the neighbours complained about the noise, while in the church we could scarcely hear a thing. They even forced us to read American prayers of the Faithful on week days.
The supply priests were as much victims of this tyranny as we were. When one discovered that the Sacrament of Reconciliation was not available to us, he came early so we could avail ourselves of the sacrament before weekday Masses.
They made it clear from the very beginning that our church was not ours any more but theirs. They took our computer and wiped our parish records. I was upset about that as I had spent years entering them, and keeping them up to date. They helped themselves to things from the parish house, sacristy and church. Nothing was safe.
They took over our remaining Sunday Mass. Our choir was not permitted to sing, but theirs did. Our organist was banned but their man played a keyboard. They forced their commentators on us. It hurt when they asked us to 'feel at home' in what used to be our own church. I have never felt less at home anywhere in my life.
It has been almost two years now but things have improved since last August. Our choir is singing again and we are back to our system of two readers. We have representation on the council, but it is like putting the Babes in the Wood on a council with Attila the Hun's cohorts. The truth is we don't have any 'power freaks' in what used to be our parish. We have never needed them until now.
EILEEN A. GOMM SFO
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 20 No 5 (June 2007), p. 15
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