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“Together We Can”
By Emily Holtel-Hoag

Parish closings have had quite an impact on the Catholic Church.  These closings have resulted in many negatives- anger and frustration on the part of the parishioners, larger communities for the already stretched priests and pastoral staff to minister to, questioning of the leadership of the church and their decisions.  In the Diocese of Toledo, all this is true plus some unexpected positives- pew Catholics are standing up for their rights in the Church, working together, finding their voices, and effecting change.

United Parishes, a group founded in the wake of 17 parishes closings in the Toledo diocese, hosted a conference on October 14th entitled “Together We Can”.   The purpose of the gathering was to unite Catholics who are interested in working towards change in the Church and for them to learn about the organizations whose mission is to work for that change.

FutureChurch was proud and grateful to be invited to speak to the group, learn from their experiences, and build solidarity.   Special Projects Coordinator Emily Holtel-Hoag and Leadership Council Co-chair Gene Kramer presented information about FutureChurch’s latest project, Save Our Parish Community. They solicited valuable feedback from those who have recently lived through this painful experience. Their advice will help us assist those facing this disturbing reality in the near future.

Other organizations represented that day included SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Voice of the Faithful.  As Gene left that conference he said, “I wish every Catholic could have been a part of this day.” Toledo parishioners have a great idea!  Great job, United Parishes!

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