The Catholic population of the Cumberland area is again in a quandary. It’s about performing the basic practice of their faith: attending Sunday Mass.
Many factors exist, causing recent heartbreaking decisions. Namely, decreasing participation of “churchgoing” faithful, needed monetary support for upkeep, demand on a limited clergy and the shrinking populace in the area, affecting the future growth of membership.
According to a recent news release, the factors and decisions were studied at length, discussed within problem solving groups, and conclusions were reached. (See: “Archdiocese accepts ..., Nov. 26 Times-News, Page 1A.)
Namely, the announced closure of St. Ambrose in Cresaptown, the leasing of St. Patrick’s in Mount Savage with very little promise of future religious activity, and finally, the Monday through Friday schedule of Masses, with Sunday being omitted, at The Shrine of SS Peter & Paul.
This is where I have to admit confusion. I acknowledge that many factors could exist for which I am unaware, but I do know the following to be pretty well-founded.
The congregation for masses at St Mary’s for Saturday and Sunday consists of former parishioners from SS Peter & Paul who long for Sunday Mass at the shrine who are equal in number with dedicated attendees of St. Mary’s.
In addition, the parishioners from St. Ambrose would definitely prefer attending the shrine, instead of traveling to Frostburg to attend Mass. Just maybe, St. Anthony’s in Ridgeley, West Virginia, would yield several parishioners who were former SSPP parishioners.
Consideration should be given for our Parish Leadership Team and other decision-makers who have been involved to schedule Sunday Mass at the Shrine at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, in place of St Patrick’s, which already has a scheduled Sunday Mass.
By doing so, the overall attendance for Our Lady of The Mountains may return to former numbers, as well as the collection figures.