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A Proposed Model for Letter to Newspaper or Other Group Regarding Closing of Parish

The author of this model letter is Christine M. Roussel, a former member of the ARCC Board of Directors and former editor of the ARCC newsletter ARCC Light. She holds dual U.S. and French citizenship, has a Ph.D. in history, and is retired from the position of a Senior Legal Assistant, having worked for 18 years at a law firm of over 300 attorneys with offices in New York, Washington, Paris, London, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt and Brussels.  Her area was Municipal Bonds and Corporate Law, although she also assisted occasionally in Litigation and Bankruptcy.

I am a [We are] parishioner[s] of ________________ [name of parish] parish in the Arch/Diocese of ________________. On ________________ [date] we were informed that our church would be permanently closed on ________________ [date] and that the parish would cease to exist [or -- would be merged with ________________ parish].

________________ [Insert a bit on your parish if desired, such as "We are a parish of _____families, founded in ________________, with an elementary school ", etc.].

________________ [number] parishes (churches) have been ordered closed/suppressed in our Arch/Diocese under ________________ [name of reorganization plan]. The reasons for which parishes are suppressed are: ________________ [list criteria for closings].

Our parish does not fulfill these criteria. Our parish is [list any positive qualities of parish that contradict the criteria for closure]. [If your parish meets some criteria but not others, write "Although our parish [or church] ________________ [whatever criteria for closure it meets], it does not ________________ [criteria for closure it does not meet].

On the other hand, our parish  ________________   [list possible reasons for suppression of church. Examples: financial needs of archdiocese and high value of real estate; large bank account; conflicts between pastor or parishioners and bishop; other factors].

Given this conflict between the Arch/Diocese's stated policies and the situation in our parish, we suspect that our church is actually being closed because [summarize suspected motives for closing your church]. We believe this is unjust.

Those who disagree with the closing of their church and suppression of their parish have been instructed to ________________ [summarize mechanism for appeal in your diocese, if any].

We have ________________ [summarize actions taken such as appeal to bishop, etc.]. The result of these actions were ________________ [summarize results of these actions].

What we would suggest as a means of dealing with the problems identified by the Arch/Diocese as they relate to our parish is ________________ [suggest concrete alternatives, compromise plans, etc.].

We believe this is reasonable and would ________________ [insert how this would resolve problem, such as raising money for diocese or lessening need for priest's service, etc.] without destroying our beloved parish community.


___________________ [Name]

Member of _____________________ parish [or name of committee one represents]


This letter as MS Word document and Adobe Acrobat file

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