Roxbury Catholic Church closed by Diocese
By Julia Green
Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Roxbury, a mission of the Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, will be closing immediately as the result of a decision by the Albany Catholic Diocese to close 33 churches by 2011. In addition to the closings, a number of sites will be merged with others.
The closings and mergings are a result of shifting demographics as well as a shortage of men called to serve in the priesthood, and the 14-county diocese took into consideration factors such as physical, financial and human resources in its deliberations.
The decisions made during the planning process, referred to as Call to BE Church, were announced over the weekend.
In a statement released by the diocese outlining the closings, the diocese identified its goals as “aligning its physical, financial and personnel resources in a way that would serve the greatest number of Catholics now and in the future, while preserving the Church’s commitment to inner cities, the poor, elderly and infirm, and other vulnerable populations.”
“There’s no question that the closing of parishes is a difficult and painful process for the people of the parish, for which there is a great spiritual and emotional attachment,” said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard in the statement. “All of the people involved in this process empathize with the painful adjustments that will be required.”
Statistics that were taken into consideration during the process included the 50 percent or more growth in suburban areas since 1960 and the correlating loss of between 25 and 39 percent of the populations of the cities within the Albany Diocese during those years.
Overall, Delaware County escaped major closings despite the fact that just under 20 percent of the worship sites within the diocese will be closing. That figure is not unforeseen and mirrors similar closings in the Dioceses of Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, all of which have closed between 20 and 30 percent of their churches.
“We as a church must acknowledge the social and demographic trends that require change, and remember our church must adapt, just as our ancestors’ church adapted to rapid changes in society throughout the 19th and 20th centuries,” Hubbard said.
In the News’coverage area Catholic churches remain open in Andes, Grand Gorge, Margaretville and Phoenicia.