"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Diocese of Antigonish Closing Parishes

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Diocese confirms several Cape Breton churches to closeMany reasons listed for closures, but population decline driving decision: diocese
CBC News
Posted: Jan 20, 2013 3:03 PM AT
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2013 4:46 PM AT

St. Leo's Parish, closing in April, is among eight churches to close. (Wendy Martin/CBC)

Related StoriesSydney Catholic churches may closeSix Cape Breton Catholic churches closingPolish church in Sydney wins reprieve

The Diocese of Antigonish has announced it will close another seven Cape Breton churches, and monitor the situation at several others.

Letters from Bishop Brian Dunn to parishoners and priests said the churches are struggling with a shrinking population, a declining number of priests and financial shortfalls.

The following eight churches in Glace Bay and the North Sydney/Sydney Mines area have either closed or will close:
Saint John the Baptist, Glace Bay: Closed Nov. 3, 2012.
St. Leo's, Glace Bay: Closing April 14, 2013.
St. Anthony's Church, Glace Bay: Closure TBA.
Holy Family Parish, MacKay's Corner: Closing June 2013.
Saint Eugene's Parish, Dominion: Closing June 2014.
Immaculate Conception, Sydney Mines: Closing June 2013.
Saint Stephen, Florence: Closing June 2013.
Saint Barra's, Christmas Island: Closure TBA.

According to the letters, St. Anne Parish will remain open and merge all parishioners from Saint John the Baptist and St. Leo's by April.

Holy Cross Church will take on parishioners from St. Anthony's Church.

Pius X Church will be used as a church for the closed Immaculate Conception and Saint Stephen churches.

The letters state that other churches will remain open but will be monitored and in some cases asked to consolidate resources with other parishes or reduce the number of services they provide:
Saint Gregory's, Donkin.
Saint Mary's, Port Morien.
St. Joseph's, Reserve.
Immaculate Conception, Bridgeport.
Saint Michael's, Baddeck.
Saint Andrew's, Boisdale: To open only during the summer.
Saint Joseph, North Sydney.
Saint Joseph, Bras d'Or.
Saint Joachim, Boularderie.
Saint Ann, Alder Point.
Saint Peter, Ingonish.
Saint Margaret of Scotland, St. Margaret's Village.
Saint Joseph, Dingwell.

Saint Gregory’s and Saint Mary's will remain open and will be served from Holy Cross Parish, with services scheduled on a rotating basis.

Saint Mary's in Frenchvale will remain open, as will Saint Columba's, which will take on parishioners from Saint Barra's.
Declining population main reason for closures

There are a few reasons for the closures but Father Donald MacGillivray, who speaks for the local pastoral planning committee, said the closures are largely driven by a dramatic decline in population.

"From 1961 to 2011, there was a 26 per cent drop in the population in Cape Breton Island and so that's kind of what we're going at," said MacGillivray.

"We have 43 places of Roman Catholic worship in Cape Breton County, not Cape Breton Island, Cape Breton County. It's just hard to maintain that — the cost of oil, the aging of parishioners — all of those are factors."

Bishop Brian Dunn wrote the diocese spent nearly a year examining the best ways to move forward. He said this has been a tough decision, but important for the future of the diocese.

Last year, the diocese announced several church closures in the Sydney area as well.

MacGillivray said while these are difficult decisions, the church must live within its means and find new ways to reach out to parishioners.


KWTC Extrapolates 

The Diocese of Antigonish is closing parishes.  That's very sad especially for those directly effected - the parishioners.  Hopefully they come to realize that Christians are not necessarily supposed to be comfortable and never inconvenienced.  Martyrs both yesterday and today pay the ultimate price for following Christ, many saints endured persecution (sometimes by the Church) and even more recently our forefathers, the settlers of the New World, often traveled most of the day to fulfill their Sunday Obligation.

The Chancery Office in Sydney is blaming the closures on demographics (population decline, parishioners aging) and rising cost of fuel oil, etc.  The bottom line as usual is money...lack of it.  Where does the money come from?  The people.  So in essence the church closures are the direct result of a lack of parishioners.

Why has this happened?  Why are people leaving the faith?  In my humble opinion most people leave the faith because they simply don't know it...and the faith is very simple:

  • You either believe God created the universe and is omnipotent/omniescient or you don't.
  • If you do believe then you either believe in the Trinity or you don't.
  • If you do believe then you either believe Jesus Christ as Second Person created the Catholic Church and only the Catholic Church or you don't.
  • If you believe He did then you either believe bread & wine miraculously become His Body & Blood during Holy Mass or you don't.
  • If you believe then you either receive Him in a state of grace or you don't.
  • If you believe then you either follow all Church teachings & precepts or you don't (i.e. Sunday Obligation).
It's just that simple.  People who believe in the above attend Mass every Sunday and Confess regularly.

As per Canon Law, the bishop is the primary teacher in the diocese.  Here are a few salient points on recent bishops and events in Antigonish:

1985: Bishop William Edward Power: Six parishioners of Our Lady Of Lourdes parish in Stellarton were charged with disturbing a religious service.  Their appeal went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Their offence?  They knelt to receive Holy Communion.

1989: Bishop Colin Campbell in a column for the weekly Antigonish newspaper The Casket, said teens abused at the former Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland were partly responsible for what happened to them.

2003: Now Ex-Bishop Raymond Lahey installed only to be forced into retirement after being charged (and later convicted) of possessing child pornography.  He has since admitted to a ten year sexual relationship with a man during his time as bishop.

2009: Now-Ex Bishop Raymond Lahey brokers a $13,000,000 settlement with victims of priestly sexual abuse.  He is charged three weeks later with possession of child pornography upon his return from Thailand (we haven't been told why he was there).  The money came from several parishes many of whom, drained of their assets, were forced to close.

2010: Bishop Brian Dunn authorizes a conference with guest speaker dissident theologian and former Jesuit priest Dr. Paul Lakeland of Fairfield University in Connecticut, who openly holds views on abortion, homosexuality, contraception and women priests that go against Catholic teaching.

2011: Bishop Brian Dunn calls for women deacons.

2012: Bishop Brian Dunn opens a new chapel in the Chancery Office's pastoral centre.  The items brought forth in a procession: 


God will be the judge of whether these shepherds of His flock passed along the faith or not.

1 comment:

  1. The late Bishop Campbell is not adequately presented by your account. As far as teaching the faith goes, among other things it was he who put forth a motion for the CCCB to officially negate the Winnipeg Statement. Sadly, it didn't pass.

    Bishop Dunn is neither adequately nor even accurately presented by your account. He is a careful diplomat - he is, unsurprisingly, a canon lawyer - and he is in his diocese surrounded by Catholics of all stripes as well as non-Catholics who are more or less out to get him unless he kowtows to whatever specific agenda they happen to think is best.

    Bishop Dunn has not called for women deacons, although he was once misunderstood as having done so. Generally speaking, his hands are tied, his allies few, his resources nil... and the number of seminarians he has is growing.