Parishioners React with Mixed Emotions to Church Closures and Consolidations

Parishioners React with Mixed Emotions to Church Closures and Consolidations

 Mixed Emotions Surrounding Church Closures

The news of church closures and consolidations has naturally elicited a range of emotional responses from the affected communities.

Former Sheriff’s Perspective: A Church’s Century-Long Existence

Former Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, a dedicated lector at St. James Major Church in Gentilly, attended the vigil Mass on October 28.

In a report by, he conveyed the sentiments of the parishioners, who were deeply saddened by the announcement, given the church’s century-long existence.

A Joyless Day: The Impact on Parishioners

Gusman expressed, “It was not good news. It was not a joyous day.”

Parish Council Member’s Disappointment

Chad Sherman, a parish council member of St. John Bosco Church, shared his perspective in the report.

He attended two weekend Masses at his parish and another at St. Rosalie Parish last weekend to gauge the reaction of parishioners following the merger announcement.

Wishing for More Time: Financial Struggles and a New Beginning

Sherman expressed his disappointment, highlighting that both parishes had been aware of their financial challenges for months and had been striving to formulate a plan.

He expressed a desire for more time to address the issues. However, he also saw potential in this as a new beginning, emphasizing that how they navigate these changes will be in the hands of the people.

Archdiocese’s Financial Struggles and Settlement

The Archdiocese of New Orleans, which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2020 due to the clergy abuse scandal, faces the daunting task of settling 500 sex abuse claims, with the potential cost exceeding $100 million.

In a letter dated September 8, Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, conveyed that “parishes, schools, and ministries” would be called upon to contribute financially to safeguard their assets during the bankruptcy proceedings.

A Call for Prayer Amid Transition

Aymond concluded by requesting prayers for these affected communities as they navigate this period of transition.

He encouraged all to pray for the local Church, seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit and striving for holiness, a deeper connection with Christ, and joyful witness in parish life.

About the Author

SueAnn Howell, O.C.D.S., is an accomplished journalist residing in Charlotte, N.C. Her work, published in national Catholic news outlets, diocesan and secular publications, and Columbia magazine (the international publication of the Knights of Columbus), reflects her extensive experience in Catholic media.

In addition to her editorial contributions, she serves as the Strategic Communications Advisor for the Carolina Catholic Media Network.

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