I know it might be tempting to skip directly to this part of the article. If you have skipped ahead to this point, and not read the first several pages before getting here, STOP READING NOW, AND GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING! If you have read to this point from the beginning, I hope you see why it is so important that you consider all of the points we have covered up to now before considering how to challenge a closure order. I am an Eagle Scout; it is one of my proudest life accomplishments. When I joined the Boy Scouts, one of the first things I learned was the scout motto, “BE PREPARED.” This motto often factored into my activities in scouting; there is no way I ever would have gone camping in January without having considered all of the different issues associated with spending time in the forest in the middle of winter, i.e. what gear should I bring? What will the weather be like during the trip? What food should I pack? If I hadn’t considered these points, I easily could have been badly injured or killed, considering the extremes in temperature and weather which exist in January in Massachusetts where I grew up. In the same way, if you don’t consider all of the points I have thus far covered in this article before launching any effort to stop a closing, you are going to fail. It is not possible to challenge a closure order successfully running purely on emotion. If you want to, you can try to do that, but you will fail.
Assuming now that you are in the proper mindset, (i.e. you want to challenge the closure you face for the right reasons as outlined above,) and that you’ve carefully considered the strengths and weaknesses of your parish and/or church, you are now ready to act. The key part of acting successfully in this context is forming a plan of action, and then executing that plan. I have found that the best way to do this is to work backwards, i.e. start with the goal you wish to achieve, and then plan backwards from there, taking into account all of the smaller steps that will be needed to accomplish that goal, and the steps that will be required to accomplish each of those smaller steps. I know that may sound overwhelming, but if you take things one step at a time, breathe deeply, and pray to God for guidance, you can achieve your goals. Remember, Rome literally wasn’t built in a day. If those who constructed the city over many centuries stopped to think about the complications they might face in the time between the turning of the first shovel full of dirt at the city’s inception and the time when Rome was the most important city in the known world, they would have most likely given up on the spot. Remember as you move forward with efforts to save your parish/church that this is not a sprint; contesting a closure is one of the most grueling marathons you will ever undertake in life, and a large part of successfully finishing the race is having the proper mindset throughout.