To the editor,
There are feelings of loss, sadness, heartbreak and even anger currently felt and shared by parishioners of closed churches. Life of a congregation is cyclical.
Men get established in a job to support their family. The women, mostly homebound for a while, caring for the children and maintaining the home will get a job later. Parents make sure their children attend school and also get a religious education. Those children grow up, marry and then they have children.
There are three generations of a family already.
While the two younger generations are busily engaged in the workforce leading productive and prosperous lives and have been able to make regular contributions that help to support the church, many have moved away looking for better opportunities.
This leads us back to the original congregants who now are elderly and living on fixed incomes. The cost of living has risen, but not those seniors’ incomes.
All this time the church bills have increased too, and donations are needed to cover the cost. There are collections for everything. Parishioners are asked to sacrifice more but begin to give less just to survive.
Everyone asks why the churches are closing. There is not just one single reason.
The closing of Catholic churches across the state, including St. Mary Church and St. Hedwig Church in Naugatuck, is shameful. Where are all the former parishioners?
I have been a parishioner of St. Mary Church most of my life. I made the sacraments there and planned to be buried from there, but that won’t happen. My church is closed and I am very upset.
On a Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Mass you could look around as you walk down the aisle and see the attendance is pitiful. We were lucky if we could count 50 people, and about 90 percent of them were senior citizens. There were very few young people, elementary age to early 20s.
If they seem inclined, where are the parents of these children?
What has happened to these generations? Do they not practice any faith anymore or believe in God? Do they claim to be too busy due to a beach party or ski trip taking priority over Mass?
And yes, there also is a shortage of priests. Why? What ideas or thoughts have entered the minds of young men to make them reject the idea of priesthood?
Children need mentors to guide them, to encourage them and even influence them down the right path. Where have those mentors been?