Six months after Bishop Thomas Tobin, in a cutback of priestly personnel, appointed him to run three city parishes, the Rev. Daniel J. Sweet has begun floating a plan to put them under one roof and close down the oldest churches in the group, Sacred Heart and Holy Family.
Due to concern for the deteriorating condition of the church building and a steady decline in Mass attendance and sacramental practice, Rev. Edward Sousa, parish administrator of St. Casimir’s in Providence, has recommended that St. Casimir Parish be closed permanently.
It’s not the norm when the Diocese of Providence calls a “town hall meeting.” Town hall meetings are commonly events where people air their concerns and ideas before elected officials. But a town hall meeting is the forum Bishop Thomas Tobin has selected to address the change the Catholic Church is experiencing.
More than 150 communicants from Warwick’s 10 Catholic parishes squeezed into Hendricken’s Founders Hall Wednesday night to consider a future that bodes fewer parishioners, less funds and a lack of priests.
After analyzing downward trends in worship and sacramental practice, and expressing concerns about the future viability of the traditional parish structure as the number of priests reaching retirement age greatly eclipses the number entering the clergy, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has tasked a group of priests and laity with planning for the future of the Church in the diocese.
Nearly 300 people braved icy roads and temperatures in the single digits to learn more about the statistics that are governing the direction their diocese is headed and what their role in the continued celebration of their faith will be.
To address ways the Church will need to adapt in the coming years to a decline in the men pursuing religious vocations coupled with a marked increase in the number of priests reaching retirement age, while facing a downturn in the number of faithful filling the pews each week, the diocese has commissioned a national speaker to address ways parishes will need to collaborate to ensure their future survival.