Schools in Parishes Slated for Closure To Remain, Says Detroit Archdiocese
"Someone's going to have to helpthem out financially. There isn't a Catholicschool in the Diocese of Detroitthat can survive financiallyon its own."--Jay Berman
The schools that are operated by 5 of the 30 Detroit parishes slated to be closed in the coming year by the city's Roman Catholic archdiocese will remain open, a church spokesman said last week.
"We are not thinking of closing schools," said Brenda Marshall, assistant director of communications for the Archdiocese of Detroit. "In some instances, the parish may be closing, but schools will remain open."
The five schools are the only ones located within the affected parishes, she said.
In what church historians are calling an unprecedented move, Cardinal Edmund Szoka this month gave the majority of the affected parishes until summer to close. He also gave 25 others a year to streamline their operations and to increase membership or share the same consequences.
In issuing his directive, Cardinal Szoka softened the recommendations of a study group that in September proposed closing 43 churches and merging several others with larger parishes.
Jay Berman, the spokesman for the archbishop, said the schools within the targeted parishes may have to devise ways to strengthen their financial outlook, including developing "links" with other parishes.
But, he added, the archdiocese plans to continue subsidizing parish schools through its Catholic Ser4vices Appeal. Approximately $2 million is expected to be made available for that purpose this year, he said.
On average, parish schools last year gained $33,000 from gifts and fundraisers, $71,623 from parish subsidies, and $8,616 from the Catholic Services Appeal, Mr. Berman said.
"Someone's going to have to help them out financially," he added. ''There isn't a Catholic school in the Diocese of Detroit that can survive financially on its own."
"All of the financial details have not been worked out," Mr. Berman noted.
Sister Mary Sweeney, principal of St. Brigid's Elementary School, which is affiliated with a parish scheduled to close, said she had been ''assured that the school is viable and will remain open."
But she added that she did not yet know how the $25,000 in annual op8erating expenses that the school shares with the parish church will be made up.
Another concern, she said, is the question of how the school's nearly 300 students will be able to "celebrate the faith" on a daily basis once the parish church closes.
"Many families are here because of a faith commitment and that's part of what makes [the school] viable," she said.--