The New York Times has a story by Abby Goodnough about Catholics resisting the closing of parishes in the Boston Archdiocese by refusing to leave. At St. Frances Xavier Cabrini church in Scituate, Massachusetts, a group of parishioners have been occupying the church in shifts since 2004. What impresses me most is the way these people have formed a cooperative community around this effort, and how much of themselves they’re willing to devote to the cause.
Many of the St. Frances holdouts describe being transformed from passive Catholics to passionate, deeply involved members of a spiritual community that they say could be a model for the future of the troubled Catholic Church.
…Since St. Frances has no priest, parishioners lead services that include everything but consecration of the host. On the Sunday before Christmas, about 50 parishioners attended a service conducted entirely by women, including two who distributed communion. The hosts had been consecrated elsewhere by a priest described… as “sympathetic.”
They may lose the fight for the building. But I hope they’ll keep what they’ve gained along the way.