Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

The Truth Behind The Reconfiguration

This week we begin a special series on these pages and on The NET.

For the past year and a half, the diocese has been actively involved in an intense process known as Christ Jesus, Our Hope. Parishes have been asked to take a hard look at themselves and to establish plans to assure that they will be viable centers of spirituality for the future.

It’s no mystery that there is less money to work with, and fewer vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Add to those factors aging structures and a monumental shift in demographics and you have the reasons for circumspection.

One of the solutions that the consultative program has developed is the reconfiguration of parishes. This week’s first installment (Page 3) features two neighborhoods where several parishes have undergone successful mergers. Award-winning journalist Jay Akasie takes a look at East New York and the new parish of St. Malachy – St. Michael and also at the St. Albans section of Queens where St. Pascal Baylon and St. Catherine of Sienna are now known as Our Lady of Light parish.

In the coming weeks, we will examine the role of Catholic schools, the historical perspective, the administration of change, and the financial trends.

A companion series is being produced for NET television, Ch. 97 on Time-Warner and Ch. 30 on Cablevision. It will begin to air this week at various times. Please consult The NET’s program guide which can be found on its website.

The first program features interviews with Bishop Frank Caggiano, Vicar General of the diocese; Bob Choiniere, diocesan director of planning; and Father William Smith, the pastor of Our Lady of Light parish.

In succeeding shows, you will hear from education leaders in the diocese, members of the Diocesan Planning Commission, pastors, religious, and laypeople who have been involved in the reconfiguration process.

The final piece of the series will be an interview with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio who will discuss his personal feelings about overseeing the process.

Too often when people hear the word change, they think closure. Everyone worries about whether or not their parish or school is about to be closed. These changes, however, are meant to bring new life to the Church in our diocese.

The reality is that things cannot continue as they are. Too many circumstances have changed.  This new time we find ourselves in will require some “dying” for what was but it ultimately will bring new vigor and renewed life as we encounter life as it is.

There’s a lot of life in our diocese, but it’s not always apparent when we’re spending all our time running bake sales to pay utility bills.
Our series, both in print and on TV, is designed to get out the word about what really is going on.  So often, rumors can disrupt the best of intentions.  There’s no reason for that to happen in this age of instant communication.  People should know what’s going on and we’re going to tell it to you straight.

This joint effort to publicize Christ Jesus, Our Hope is part of the cooperative ventures of The Tablet and The NET, which have undergone reconfigurations of their own to maximize the communications apostolate of the diocese.

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