FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Following the closure of one of the city’s historic churches, the Diocese of Fall River is calling on parishioners to help get more people into the pews.
Hundreds gathered at the White’s of Westport Thursday night to brainstorm ways to increase participation from parishioners.
Back in November, St. Anne’s Church closed its doors for good due to low attendance at weekly masses. Bishop Edgar da Cunha said church closures, like St. Anne’s, have inspired people to become more involved.
“That’s what we want to accomplish… to get people involved, to get them energized to make a difference and to renew the church,” da Cunha said.
At Thursday’s meeting, Fall River residents formed a planning commission aimed at increasing church participation.
“There are some people who feel bad about it, but I think most of the people understand, because they know we have more churches than we need, and some churches don’t have enough people,” da Cunha said. “People are beginning to see that the church is much more than that, a church is really the community of faith and God’s people, and I think tonight is a sign of that.”
According to da Cunha, the most important step is the renewal process. That process includes building a foundation and strengthening the Diocese as a whole.
“Having a response of over 200 people to an event like this is really encouraging and hopeful,” he said.
The planning commission will meet once a month until the end of the summer.