For those of you who read this morning’s Asbury Park Press, I’m sure you noticed the story about Our Lady Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church in Long Branch, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Apparently, yesterday was the first time that the Church ceased to be known as Our Lady Star of the Sea and began a new life as Christ the King Church. Actually, I’m not entirely sure about whether or not this is the first time that the Church has been called Christ the King since this story sort of fell off of my radar, but here is some more information from the Asbury Park Press:
Dozens of parishioners walked out of a Mass at the former Our Lady, Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church on Sunday at the moment their former priest was introduced as pastor of the newly formed Christ the King church.
The parishioners, who attended St. John the Baptist church until they were locked out of the building in May because of a consolidation plan, then marched back to their former place of worship and organized a service on the sidewalk.
“They have ignored us for far too long,” said Victoria Collett, alluding to the Diocese of Trenton. She was among dozens of people who wore white T-shirts that read, “Save Our Church.”
The Diocese merged St. John the Baptist, Holy Trinity and Our Lady, Star of the Sea into Christ the King in part because of a scarcity of priests, lack of financial resources and dwindling attendance, said the Rev. Sam Sirianni, who headed a committee that studied the consolidation.
Many of the hundreds of people who attended St. John the Baptist were of Latino and Brazilian descent, Sirianni said. Many of those among the dwindling population at Our Lady, Star of the Sea were descendants of Irish immigrants from decades ago, he said.
The major gripe talked about in the story is that the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church do not want to be a part of the newly formed Christ the King Church. As it suggests in the story, some parishioners feel as though they were not told the entire truth in terms of how the diocesan consolidation would affect their Church.
Personally, I’m sad for another reason – I’m sad to see the Our Lady Star of the Sea parish consolidated with the others. No, not for reasons of mixing cultures (which I’m in favor of here), but because my family has history at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church. My Grandmother used to go to Church there and my Great Grandfather had his funeral at that Church. Plus, I think it was a fitting name for a seaside parish – Our Lady Star of the Sea.
I’m unsure of how this particular situation will work itself out, but I do hope that – in the end – everyone remembers that they should be attending Church (whichever Church that winds up being) for the right reasons.