Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Heart of my Church

Monday night was the beginning of the end for my church – at least that's the way it seems. The lovely and talented (please read as much sarcasm into these adjectives as humanly possible) Archdiocese of Detroit is starting this year-long process in which the individual churches evaluate themselves, fill out this long-ass PEI (it does NOT stand for Prince Edward Island, but rather the unlovely Parish Evaluation Inventory), submit it to the vicariate, which essentially is a grouping of churches based on location, and then come Nov. 27, 2005, my church will be closed. We're cynical about the process. Can you tell? Of course, there's nothing set in stone…oh no! There have been no decisions made yet, no way. And if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you.

Four of us got together and worked on Section 1 Monday night. Section 1 is the Sacramental Nature of the Parish. We worked on the numbers portion together and then we reached the last page which consists of essay questions, essentially. This is the part where we small parishes are supposed to be able to show the "heart" of our parish, since our sacramental numbers are not up to those of a billion family suburban white church. The Archdiocese is pissing off a lot of people again. And for Pete's sake, here's a thought for you. If the problem is a priest shortage and that was essentially the reason for the last round of church closings (however many years ago), perhaps, instead of closing churches and pissing off people, we should address the problem, i.e., let married people be priests. I'd say let women be priests, but that won't happen in a hundred million years.

It's completely ridiculous in this day and age to maintain this bullshit celibacy issue, especially because if you've done any sort of historical research you know that until the Middle Ages priests could marry. The problem came when the priests decided to leave church property to their sons (I'd say children, but I'm sure they were leaving it to the sons and not the daughters) and there was apparently no recourse in those days to get said property back. Therefore in order to save The Church tons o' money, they instituted this celibacy insanity and voila, here we are hundreds of years later closing churches because men don't want to be celibate. And check this out, if an Episcopalian/Anglican priest decides to switch to Roman Catholicism (I asked why they would want to do this and was told – maybe tongue in cheek, but probably not – because we're stronger against the gay plague), and the Episcopalian/Anglican priest is already married with children, they allow him to switch with his wife and kids. Explain this one to me, people!!!

So, I'm pissed off right now because I love my church and if the Diocese thinks (and it does) that I'll just pick another church to attend, they are smokin' some serious crack. The "heart" of my parish is the people and if we get closed I'm sure we'll split up and go to a number of other churches and it won't be the same. Besides, I don't want to go to a large church! I want to go where I'm missed and people greet me with genuine affection and ask me where my mother is when she doesn't show up or my sister. And they know my niece and nephew who come a couple of times a year when my mom is watching them (my sister and her husband won't go into Detroit – there are Black people there, you know) and get asked how they're doing and why don't they come more often. We celebrate birthdays and graduations and births. There's a true feeling of family there and I'm hoping against hope that they won't close us, but there is so little hope at this point.

Now I have to work on my essay questions – damn, I hate the whole idea as it reminds me of college and I'm so glad I'm done with that. And I need to come up with the perfect words to show the vicariate and the powers-that-be that we deserve to stay open.


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