GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 5, 2013

Church changes forcing out local pastors

St. Ann's, Our Lady's will remain open, but join as 'collaborative'

A “pastoral plan” being advanced by the Archdiocese of Boston, designed to keep all of its 288 churches open while consolidating them into 135 “collaboratives,” will combine the historic Our Lady of Good Voyage Church with Holy Family Parish and its St. Ann’s Church.

But the proposal is also forcing the resignation of both local pastors, Holy Family’s the Rev. John Kiley and the 82-year-old Rev. Eugene Alves, who has led Our Lady’s and been the church’s driving force for nearly 40 years.

In its announcement, the archdiocese emphasized that each parish in a “collaborative” will “continue to keep its own identity,” but that each collaborative will be led by a single pastor.

While all of the current pastors have been told to resign, each can also apply to head their new or another collaborative as well.

But Alves — who has himself been an enormous part of Our Lady of Good Voyage’s identity in his 38 years as pastor and kept alive many of the church’s Portuguese ethnic traditions, including the annual Crowning of Our Lady procession and ceremonies, carrillon bell concerts, and many other events — told church-goers last weekend that he would not be applying to lead both parishes within the new collaborative.

Both Alves and Kiley — along with other pastors involved in the collaborative consolidation across the archdiocese — are expected to continue to serve in their current positions until next June as part of the transition.

Neither Alves nor Kiley, who succeeded the Rev. Ronald Gariboldi as pastor at Holy Family when the latter retired in 2011, could be reached for comment Friday.

Kiley was on vacation Friday, a church receptionist said, but in a message to parishioners included in the parish bulletins, he outlined aspects of the changes.

“...We will now begin several months of important preparation so that these ... collaboratives can begin on June 3, 2014,” he wrote.

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