Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Jesuits reflect on parish consolidations

Archbishop+Gregory+M.+Aymond+speaking+in+Holy+Name+of+Jesus+Church%2C+Nov.+10%2C+2023.+Archbishop+Aymond+announced+the+closure+and+consolidation+of+several+parishes+in+New+Orleans+due+to+budget+concerns+and+declining+participation%2C+changing+the+total+number+from+13+to+five.++
Anna Hummel
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond speaking in Holy Name of Jesus Church, Nov. 10, 2023. Archbishop Aymond announced the closure and consolidation of several parishes in New Orleans due to budget concerns and declining participation, changing the total number from 13 to five.

As an effort to ensure the prosperity of New Orleans’ Catholic parishes, Rev. Gregory M. Aymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, announced significant consolidation of these parishes.

Despite the difficulty associated with this transition, consolidation will likely open the door to a stronger and more active congregations throughout New Orleans, according to Joshua Hinche, a philosophy instructor and Jesuit Scholastic at Loyola.

Archbishop Aymond’s announcement states that the decision to consolidate certain parishes comes after in-depth research, conducted by the Parish Sustainability Committee, determined that this would be the best way to address certain issues which these parishes have been facing. These issues include economic difficulties and waning church attendance following the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane Ida, and recent increases in inflation and property insurance.

Hinche related these conditions to a situation which he experienced while working, studying, and living in Chicago. At the time, Hinchie served as a catechist in a parish that was combined with a neighboring parish due to similar circumstances. He remembered the effect it had on the community.

“It’s hard to see them go through that and losing this place that meant so much to them,” Hinche said. “On the other hand, I could also see how this church had gotten thinned out in the number of people participating, that they couldn’t really offer as much formation and programming.”

Hinche further stressed that a strong and active community is essential to any place of worship. Because of this, Hinche was saddened, but not surprised, at the decision to consolidate.

University chaplain and Loyola professor of theology ministry, Thomas Ryan, shared a similar sentiment. This recent consolidation in New Orleans bears similarities to recent consolidation across the country, but that does not make it any less impactful, Ryan said.

Ryan also mentioned that he currently attends St. Rita Church in New Orleans, which recently had to close its elementary school due to similar difficulties.

“It was a loss to the parish, and I think New Orleans, so I was very sad to see that happen,” he said.

But, these consolidations allow for new and stronger church communities to form, which helps address the difficulties which certain parishes have been facing, Hinche said.

Hinche added that, in his experience, parish consolidation is ultimately beneficial in the long run, although its immediate effects may be difficult to grapple with.

Consolidation of the parishes will go into full effect in July of 2024, at which point New Orleans’ 13 parishes will be consolidated into five.

“I’m sure that people will really put a lot of thought and prayer into this, and going forward that decisions and actions can be by good data and best practices,” Ryan said.

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About the Contributors
Ava Acharya, Senior Staff Writer
Ava Acharya is a senior majoring in mass communication with a concentration in journalism. Ava is currently The Maroon’s senior staff writer, and hopes to pursue journalism professionally after graduation.
Anna Hummel, Photo Editor
Anna Hummel is excited for her position as Photo Editor. Anna is a senior mass communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business analytics. She is passionate about telling stories through photos. In Anna’s free time she enjoys swimming, reading and art.

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