For many Catholics, their parish Church is an extension of their own personal homes, and their fellow parishioners are like family. Many have been deeply involved in programs and events within their parish, and these have been an important part of their daily lives.
Understandably, the merging of parishes and the closing of church buildings may cause a great deal of pain for parishioners, often leaving an empty place in their lives. Just as the effects of these mergers and closings cause such sorrow, the necessity of having to take these steps is a source of great anguish for Bishops and pastors. In a very real sense, many Catholics have to go through the stages of grief that commonly occur in the face of a death:
Please click here to read some thoughtful perspectives on this issue: