If you’re reading this and your church is facing closure, I suspect that I know how you are feeling, because I was in your shoes. You may be angry, upset, feel helpless; you may even be questioning your Catholic faith. You may be thinking back on all of the moments of spiritual significance you and your family have shared in your church, marriages, perhaps your own or that of a child, baptisms, and those times when you commended the soul of a loved one to God. The thought of losing the place that holds so much spiritual significance for you may be absolutely overpowering and paralyzing. I get that, I’ve personally felt it. When I had such feelings a number of years ago, I had no idea what I should or could do to save my church, where I could turn, or who I could turn to. I did what you may very well have done, I conducted online searches for information on Catholic church closures, and I read all I could find. In all honesty, as you might have predicted, some pieces of that information were more useful than others. I did four things however that were key to my getting through the situation, and which will be key to you surviving this as well, whether you are able to save your church or not. I took a deep breath, resolved to retain my Catholic faith regardless of what happened, was analytical not emotional in my response, and turned my anger and sadness into action.
First and foremost, you need to remember that your Catholic faith cannot become a casualty of your church being targeted for closure. I am probably the person out there who does not belong to your congregation who most wants your Catholic church to remain an open Catholic church as much as you do, and yet I am telling you, that whatever happens to your church, you need to remember that you are a Catholic because you believe in the doctrines of the faith, that the Eucharist is the real presence of God, his body and blood transformed from bread and wine through transubstantiation, and that you want to be with God in heaven after you die. If you truly believe in your Catholic faith, and want to save your church because you believe in your Catholic faith and that your church is sacred space which should not be put to other uses (if that isn’t the reason you want to save your church, you need to either make it become the reason you do or you will fail and waste your time and that of many others,) you will know that your faith always needs to be separated from the anger you have toward the situation your church is facing. If you haven’t spent a lot of time studying why the Eucharist is at the center of our Catholic faith, take a look at this link, https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm as your mind really has to be in the right place when you are working to save a Catholic church. Otherwise you just become an angry bitter person who isn’t helping your church or anyone else, and quite honestly you may be even harming your own chances at personal salvation.
Reacting emotionally to the loss of your church is natural, but if you choose to continue to do that after the first several hours from the moment you heard that your church was going to close, you are going to continually increase the chances that your church will be lost forever. Think about the times in life when you’ve wanted something most. Maybe you remember that you wanted it, whatever it was, so badly, that you sabotaged yourself and were unable to get it in the end. This is what happens when emotion takes over and you run on it, with logical analysis being thrown completely out the window. When your church is targeted for closure, your first instinct is going to be to latch on to anything that looks like it will save it. I know that was my first instinct. I am a logically analytical person by nature however, so that impulse was immediately overridden in me by knowledge that I needed to have as many facts in front of me as possible in order to make informed, calculated decisions about what actions I could and more importantly should take with regard to saving my church. Unless you have a tight grasp on the facts that both universally apply to all situations of church closure, and those that apply to your specific situation, you risk making emotion fueled mistakes that can destroy your chances of saving your church. This website gives you all of the facts that you need, both in this article and in its other pages. If you decide to seriously make an effort to save your church, please use this link to contact me and I will personally help you navigate the circumstances of your individual case. You will stand a far better chance of succeeding if I walk you through this process rather than if you try to navigate it without substantial experience on your own.
Finally, anger and sadness will eat away at you and cause your mind to go to very bad places if you don’t turn them into useful action. I once spoke with a parishioner who had recently been informed that their church was closing. Another church in the community which this person believed should have closed instead of their church was slated by the diocese to remain open. This parishioner told me the impending closure of their church made them so angry that they completely lost their faith, that they were not going to do anything to save their very beautiful and historic church, and that instead they were going to do everything in their power to try and also close down the church which the diocese had said would remain open. Not only is that reaction in my opinion absolutely incorrect, it is also in my opinion purely evil. In another case in which I was involved, parishioners of a historic Catholic church ordered closed by a diocesan bishop were so completely convinced that their situation was hopeless, they chose to not only pass on efforts to save the church, but also took it upon themselves to ensure that all of the church’s sacred furnishings were sold to a religious goods dealer and then lobbied to have the church demolished within a short time of its closure. In my opinion, based on the circumstances of the case, that church could easily have been saved from complete closure. Anger and sadness are natural, but they cloud the mind, make sensible thinking difficult if not impossible, and open the door for evil actions to enter into one’s life. If you really truly want to save your church, you have to turn all of the anger and sadness you may feel into constructive actions, i.e. actions that are not intended to be spiteful or harmful, but that will actually meaningfully contribute to your church remaining open. Examples of such action will be discussed later in this article.