This weekend in a number of parishes, some of our neighbors and throughout the Archdiocese decisions to merge their parish with another are being announced to the parishioners. For many the “merger” is not easy…and in many cases “painful”.
The reasons for these decisions are many and varied—shortage of priests, lack of sufficient funding, diminishing attendance, needs in other areas of the Archdiocese that are growing, etc. No matter the reasons the reality of such a change is difficult. We are called to remember all involved in these decisions in our prayers here.
The announcements in other parishes is a time for us here at St. Thomas Aquinas to reflect on where WE are. It would be very foolish for us to breathe a sigh of relief that we have “survived the cut” and can go on as “normal”. Our “numbers” are a cause for concern and we need to be realistic. While our collections have increased they have not kept pace with expenses. Our attendance at Mass on the weekends (at least) needs to be looked at and improved if we are to be truly a Eucharistic Community. Our participation in the activities of the parish cannot be limited to simply my culture or language—again if we wish to continue as a parish.
Our administration in the Archdiocese will continue to look, evaluate, judge and change the landscape of our parishes as these years go on. We, here at St. Thomas Aquinas, will, quite naturally be part of those deliberations. It is important for us to “see, judge and act” as a parish in order to continue to serve God’s People here in South Philadelphia.
We hear often the saying “Time, Talent and Treasure” with regards the supporting of our parishes. MANY OF YOU do just that in such a clear way evidencing your love for your parish of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Next week I would like to offer some concrete suggestions as to how we might increase our “Time, Talent and Treasure” gifts to the parish. For now, though I would ask you to pray for and with our brothers and sisters who are experiencing some major changes in their parish life—AND to say “Thank you!” for ALL that you do for and are here at St. Thomas Aquinas.
– Msgr. Hugh J. Shields, Pastor
St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Community