Sunday, November 25, 2012

When Divorce or Death of Clustered Churches Crushes

When divorce happens.

When the pastor of Saint Mary's Church of Royal Oak, MI., broke off the cluster relationship parishioners engaged with neighboring Saint James of Ferndale, MI., pain poked and penetrated deep in this divorce recently.

No kidding.

Divorce is to be a last resort, parishioners remind me.

That's what I was taught in my divinity school courses on sacraments, especially holy matrimony.

Little counseling, minimal communication, and high-handed decisions in this divorce.


And, go figure, the re-marriage with Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park suddenly set off the new romance, or, rapport with the stranded Saint James.

Slow down.  Grief takes time.

Prudence suggests that one wait at least a year before entering another marriage, merger!

Not this time. Not many times.  These clusters of clergy with multiple parishes need to be studied.

Grief takes at least a year to examine, to  wonder, to explore, to walk through the dark tunnel into the light again for most human beings.

That's good grief then in this procession of the desolation and consolation of a roller-coaster-like ride
that rocks people.

Grieve but not like those who have no hope, the Good Book notes.

Hope is that evergreen virtue, strength that is linked with faith and charity along with prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance.

Hopes sees me through each day.

It's like that.

Evergreen it is like the holiday tree one smells, like the fragrance and aroma of Christ we're each called to be as noted in the  Pauline theology addressed in the Christian Scriptures.

Woops!  Phones ringing.  Gotting get ready to go.

Got to go now.  I apologize for the disruption and abrupt end to my blog here, more so, for this tragic tale repeatedly told by parishioners. Those hurting, and, those healing in the mending and morphing.

Like at Saint Valerie in Clinton Township, MI., when it was merged and I appeared to lead Mass there one Sunday a few years ago.  No one told me it was the final and Last Supper, the concluding Mass.

The funeral. 

Imagine that.

Early into that Mass, I saw people wiping away tears, so, I stopped and asked about what I'm missing.

Now, I do have to run but the litany list of  parish closures and clusters is taking a toll on humans.

Mass at Saint Dennis in Royal Oak, MI. now at 3 pm today, I'm told.

Another funeral Mass of a parish edifice I presided at for decades.

Nobody told me.

God help us.

Eternal rest grant unto Saint Dennis, O Lord!

And, let perpetual light shine upon them who remain crushed once more to pick up the pieces and move on and support another community in love amid their grief and loss.

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