Well, it was a pretty decent start.
Last week, there was a combined prayer service for the three Calumet City Catholic churches — St. Victor, St. Andrew and Our Lady of Knock.
Key people I talked with, including myself, were somewhat surprised by the attendance…in a positive way.
Maybe 200 folks attended the service and the refreshments that followed.
Earlier there had been some anger and consternation at the St. Victor town hall meetings (one in English and one in Spanish) which were held to discuss plans of working together closer and a possible consolidation of the three parishes into one. Some day.
The anger stemmed from an Archdiocese set of scenarios which had St. Victor and/or Our Lady of Knock closing their churches. The scenarios were to be talking points and not the only three possibilities.
But many people talked in terms of one or both of the parishes closing and St. Andrew remaining “open” and the main church in Calumet City.
The reality eventually would be a new parish, with a new name, to meet... at possibly all three churches, at least for a while.
The other buildings of the three parishes? All kinds of possibilities. Retreat center, youth center, hall rentals for a newly configured church in Calumet City, even though there are buildings that aren’t usable any more.
Anyway, no decisions have been made and the Archdiocese is asking us to come up with a plan.
This is unlike the closing/combining of the schools back in 2004. That was done by fiat of the Archdiocese and caused a huge amount of anger and distrust. To this day, there is anger and mistrust of the Archdiocese.
But as I’ve said before, I believe with the present Pope picking like-thinking bishops, like Blaise Cupich, things are being done differently than in the recent past.
However this is done, people are going to be upset and angry. People have a strong attachment to their churches. And some people are quite intransigent about almost any change. But things that don’t change die or get left behind.
So too with churches and people.
In nearby Whiting/Robertsdale, there has been considerable upset with the reconfiguration of the churches there. I’m told there wasn’t much input from the folks in the pews and there was a change in leadership of the Gary Diocese during the process.
Hopefully, things in Calumet City will go better, as we are being consulted about the future of our churches.
With a precipitous drop in the last two decades in church attendance and a shortage of priests that isn’t likely to improve, things must change.
Thanks for reading.