July 31, 2012
Dear Bishop Cistone, Sister Mary Judith O’Brien and members of the Reid Group based thousands of miles away on the west coast,
I would like to speak to your points of closing cohorts four and five. I am not a Catholic, but I have worked with the people of these parishes almost all my life. These parishioners are good Christian people living a righteous life. The church has been the center of their life, where their children were baptized, had their first communion, took catechism classes, and joined the church. The children grew up, married there, and brought their spouse and children to the Catholic parish in their villages and towns to worship. That is where they buried their parents and sometimes their children.
These are people, single individuals; sheep in your large flock, who need a shepherd. My mother- in – law is in her 80’s. She has worshiped at St. Denis in Lexington for forty years. Where is she going to go?
Some of my dearest friends at St. John’s in Peck buried their children there, found solace and peace in the pews of that lovely rural church. The parishioners at St. John built almost a million dollar facility for the flock to gather for the times when we need other Christians in our life. St. John’s paid off the loan two years in advance.
There are many talented Christians in those parishes who could lead the worship. Lay ministers and deacons have lead church life for centuries, since the time of St. Peter. Having community members lead worship would invigorate the congregations, facilitate the worship of the Trinity, and take care of the property of the Church.
If you have one priest in each cohort to bless and consecrate the host and the wine, the lay ministry could continue with the masses.
I encourage you to look at the strength of these parishes, and not the numbers of the consultants on the west coast. I pray that you will come to the conclusion that we need more Christ in our life, not who is leading the mass that day. God will bless the Christ centered church every time.
Janine Kredell, Prescott Valley, Arizona