We Are Survivors

I know that the past few months, especially this past weekend has been hard on parishioners in New York. I’ve seen the anguish and the anger on the faces of people whose beloved churches are merging with other churches in the area. But I’ve also seen these same people go through things much worse, and I’ve learned that they are survivors.

They’re tough. They’re resilient. And they’ve taught me a lot about perseverance.

Maybe there is a bit of stubbornness in there, too, but sometimes that’s not a bad trait to have. I’m talking generally about Catholics, and in this case, specifically about my mother and my aunt, who I saw right after they found out that their parish was merging with another in Yonkers. Both women have seen their husbands die of illness; have lived on their own; and have gone through countless other hardships that I’m sure I don’t even know about. I know that this was a hard hit for them from the looks on their face as we met for lunch.

I didn’t say much during our lunch. What can you say in a situation like this—to people who basically have lost a home? That’s what it felt like to me, anyway. I wish I could’ve thought of some comforting words. Then a thought hit me because of the upcoming holidays…this is just like going to someone else’s home for the holidays…and after a while, after a few visits, it will feel just as comfortable as your own house.

That is going to be my hope. After all, the host is the same in Jesus Christ.

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4 thoughts on “We Are Survivors”

  1. I’m losing my parish too. I don’t feel like someone who has been invited to someone’s home for the holidays. I feel like someone who has been kicked out of their family and told to find somewhere else to live because they’re downsizing. Sorry you gotta go. We can’t sustain you or waste our resources on you anymore. That’s how I feel and no amount of nicely worded letters from the archdiocese will change that.

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  2. I know how you feel Bill but what if your home caught on fire, you would have to rebuild. Just say thank God my family survived. Buildings are replaceable. Think of our soldiers attending Mass in a tent. We have to rally and realize our faith has survived over two thousand years, attending Mass in catacombs, tents and even secretly in homes. I feel hurt and disappointed too. Our church is beautiful and I hate to leave it but I still want to practice my faith at all costs. Isn’t that why Jesus died for us.

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  3. Thank you Kitkat for trying to help me understand this. But I still can’t. If we lost our parishes to fire, of course we would be heartbroken and try to rebuild. But this is different. This is the result of a calculated decision. A decision based on greed(think real estate $$$$$) and church politics(a financially solvent parish closes it’s doors and merges with a parish that’s in debt). All about who you know. Why can’t both parishes stay open? It’s possible. I’m very sad. But I know I could get through it eventually if I wasn’t so angry. The anger is what I can’t get through. I will not be going to the parish that we’re merging with. Hopefully, I’ll find another one after our doors close. But right now I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut.

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  4. I don’t think its about greed or real estate. Its more about demographics and shifting populations. I hate to see some of these beautiful old churches close too, especially as the city gets ever uglier and overbuilt with overbearing glass boxes. But is very expensive to maintain these old buildings and with dwindling congregations and fewer priests, painful decisions had to be made. I wish it wan’t so.

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