Dozens of Catholic churches in Springfield, Massachusetts, have closed over the past decade, as membership has fallen. Lately, diocesan leaders have been asking parishioners how they can improve the church.
About 50 people gathered in the basement of St. Rose de Lima Parish in Chicopee Monday night to tell Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski what the church is doing right, and what it can do better.
In the five or so listening sessions he's held so far, some common themes have emerged.
“For example, we’d like to see more young people in church,” Rozanski said. “How can we do that? How can we invite them, and make them feel welcome, and really help them to be disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world?”
Rozanski said people have also said the church needs to communicate better with the public and ramp up outreach efforts.
The first session was held less than a month after the diocese closed Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Springfield.
The final two listening sessions are scheduled to take place at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Holyoke on April 2, and St. Thomas Parish in West Springfield on April 12.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the Catholic Springfield church organization as an archdiocese. It is a diocese.