Over the next couple of years, Charlestown Catholics will see a change in how their churches do business—but parishioners will have a say in the matter.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston recently released a plan that would cluster parishes in what the church calls “pastoral collaborations.”
In Charlestown, that collaboration would lead to the Saint Francis De Sales and Saint Mary—Saint Catherine of Siena sharing resources, such as business managers and priests, but would follow a planning process that Father James Ronan of the St. Mary—St. Catherine called “deliberate and organic.”
“It’s not a plan that will be decided from the top down,” Ronan said. “It will be decided from the bottom up.”
Ronan said that the plan is best understood by describing what it’s not: it’s not a plan for closing parishes, he said. It’s also not a plan driven by economics, and it’s not a plan that ignores that Catholic Church’s shortage of priests.
Also, he said, “Its not a plan that excludes broad-scale involvement in leadership and in consultation of the lay people.”
Over the next few months, Ronan said, the church will begin calling Charlestown Catholics to meetings where they will be educated and consulted on the proposed consolidation.
Discussions on the matter began this week, he said, but won’t conclude for quite some time.
Parishes are required to submit a report of their progress at the beginning of May, Ronan said, but the actual implementation process could take as many as five years.
“[It’s] too early to say what it’s going to look like,” Ronan said. “We haven’t really decided what format will be best for us… [but], whatever it looks like in Charlestown, two Parishes will continue.”