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Well, the parish I grew up in–Epiphany of Our Lord–was spared, thank God. I love that place. But a lot of the schools we played baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball against will close. Here’s the complete list from KTRS.com:
Ten Parishes and Three Schools in South Saint Louis will be closed by the Archdiocese. Holy Family Church and School Immaculate Conception, St. Henry Church, St. Bonaface Church, St. John Nepomuk Church, Saints Mary and Joseph Church, St. Mary of Victories Church, St. Hedwig Church, Resurrection of Our Lord Church and School, St. Mary Magdalen School and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church will be closed. Church leaders say the closings are necessary because of the area’s declining population.
It’s really sad for me. St. Louis once had nearly the densest Catholic population in the country. But the Catholics–and with them, ethnic groups–have spread out into Illinois and St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Charles, and Franklin Counties. With them went that wonderful concentration of community: the share responsibility for others welfare.
Living, as I do, in the burbs, I can see the stark difference. While I have friends and neighbors, the friendships are so much shallower. They are based on property values and professional networks, not on shared faith and, more importantly, shared drive to avenge our last loss to St. James’s basketball team. When I was in the Navy, I was asked what part of St. Louis I was from. Without thinking, I answered, “Epiphany.” To my surprise, the fellow had no idea what that meant. But tell me you’re from St. Al’s or Ambrose or Gabe’s or Raphael’s and I’ll know almost exactly where you lived, where you went to high school, and the relative quality of your neighborhood’s athletes.
To many St. Louis natives now living in distant suburbs, their neighborhood, as much as their church and school, were scheduled for closing today. That’s sad.
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