As reported by Barb at SFO Mom, the announcement was made this past weekend in our parishes as to what changes will be made with in our deanery. While there were no surprises in the decision to merge our parish with the other parish in town, it still doesn't mean that I like it.
My parish was a mission parish of the other parish in town. It was formed almost 100 years ago when a group of people of Polish heritage broke away to create a parish to minister to the them and the large Polish immigrant population in our town. We happened to join this pariah when we moved to the area 17 years ago because we couldn't find the other parish. Plus, being the daughter of a first generation American of Polish descent, I was thrilled with the Polish festival where I could indulge in pirogi and filled cabbage and kielbasa some of the foods I enjoyed growing up. Plus, after being "confronted" by members of the other parish and being told that my parish was an "ethnic" parish and that theirs was a parish community, with out taking into consideration that I might be of that "ethnic" origin, I was put off by the attitude of the parishioners I met.
It has been 17 wonderful years of worshipping with this small, and now ethnically mixed community. My son attended school there from pre-school through eighth grade where he received a wonderful education. Unfortunately, because of dwindling enrollment and competition from other schools, the school closed in June of 2006. We have met so many wonderful people that we now call friends.
But ours is a world of change and now we embark on a big change and the merging of two very opposite groups - we the "poor immigrant" parish and they the "affluent" parish. It will be a challenge to blend ministries and organizations together. Both sides will have to learn the art of compromise and how to work together. And we will all have a new pastor to "break in." For me, it will be bittersweet as I will miss my parish as its own little community, but I will be supportive and work hard at what ever I am asked to do.
So like in a marriage, when two become one and the merger of lives and possessions take place to form one family, we too shall become one - a new parish - the product of a marriage of two parishes.