The prospect of losing parishes is haunting people like me in the pews.
However, I challenge all the laity to do three things: firstly, we must pray and have faith that God is in charge. We must pray that all the viable parishes stay open. Viability is a sign of faith, hope and love.
Secondly, the idea of sacrifice seems to have been lost by the laity and the clergy. For several years, I lived in Canada, where my priest traveled 120 miles with a driver, every weekend, in order to cover five of his seven parishes. A vocation of being a priest, like that of being a mother, is not confined to time. If a baby cries in the middle of the night, or a teen needs to talk about something important at one in the morning, a mom or a dad does not say, “I am only working 9-5.”
I think, sadly, that some of the clergy, not all, see their vocations as a job or profession. We need to pray for these priests to fall in love with their vocation again. We need to pray.
Lastly, if parishes close, it is partly the fault of the laity for “contracepting” themselves into practical nonexistence and for stopping vocations, either by not having children, or by positively discouraging the children to be nuns and priests. We, as laity, need to conform our minds to the minds of Christ and his Church.
The laity and the clergy need to look at the Holy Spirit and what he wants for the Church in this diocese and not our own little needs. I think the laity need to be intelligent, informed Catholics and praying Catholics. Then, God can work his miracles.