On Thursday, Chaput announced deep and drastic cuts for the church back here in Philadelphia, including 45 layoffs, the consolidation of several offices and ministries, and the elimination of its print newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times, a very old reading habit for local Catholics.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Susan Matthews, a former Standard and Times editor who runs the Catholics4Change.com website. “With over a million Catholics in the city, it was not only a source for news but for historical records.”
In a news release issued Thursday, the Archdiocese said it would be closing the paper and suspending the production of its monthly magazine, Phaith.
The diocese said the website CatholicPhilly.com would continue to be the official source of news for the Archdiocese.
We all know this is because Archbishop Chaput smartly is looking ahead in anticipation of further financial troubles down the road because of the sex abuse cases that will soon make Boston look like a day at the beach.
However, this further piece troubled me greatly and will go overlooked:
The Archdiocese will merge or combine 19 offices and ministries. The Office of Youth and Young Adults, which operates the Catholic Youth Organization, will close, though the Archdiocese said the youth sports programs will continue on “with no change on the local level.”
Right. Because God forbid kids can’t play soccer, while legions of 20 and 30 something adults go without an official office at the diocesan level and largely go ignored in parishes. I hope when he realigns these offices he smartly puts young adults and campus ministry together as opposed to youth and young adults which are hardly the same thing.
This is not a time to ignore the very group that has been affected by the sexual abuse crisis. And because Archbishop Chaput is a smart guy, I will trust that while the Archbishop has closed the young adult office he’s also transferring the responsibility of caring for youth and young adults to someone else’s job within the Archdiocese. Let’s pray that THEY make young adults a continued priority because their list of priorities is going to be lengthy.
That said, this also is an opportunity for Philadelphia’s young adults and individual young adult ministry organizations at the parish and vicariate levels. You need to step up and plan something big on your own to ensure that young people are heard in the diocese and more importantly to show your bishop that you can be self-sustaining in this time of trouble, financially and otherwise. Know of my prayers and know that my phone is always on for you should you want to bounce ideas off me. Busted Halo® has young adult ministry in a box which could prove to be a very valuable resource for you at this juncture.
So today let’s pray for Philadelphia Catholics. May they be able to be served well and trust that God will see them through the tough times.