Change is coming, and the bishop of Providence is talking about it:
Dealing with declining numbers of priests and dwindling numbers of parishioners, The Catholic Diocese of Providence is considering some big changes in an attempt to strengthen Diocesan parishes.
“We’re going to have to be creative. We’re going to have to be flexible.” said Bishop Tobin. “The people who are used to going to the same Mass every Sunday and sitting in the same pew next to the same people every Sunday, some of those things will have to change because we can’t expect one priest to say seven or eight masses in a weekend when before there were two or three priests doing the same thing.”
Tobin, the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Providence, said that while it won’t be a reorganization of the Diocese, Catholics can expect changes, like one priest serving two or more parishes.
The bishop added that while many churches in the Diocese are stable, others are struggling with their finances and Mass attendance.
“For the most part our parishes are doing very well,” said the bishop.
On a recent Sunday at St. Charles Borromeo Church in the west end of Providence it was standing room only during one of the Spanish Masses.
For other parishes without large endowments, fewer parishioners in the pews means less money in the coffers.
“We have a handful that are in pretty serious financial difficulty and we’re working everyday with those parish communities,” said the bishop.
Among other things, I think Rhode Island might expect to see more of these guys.