When a Faith Community Works – Beware
VOTF Boston Area Newsletter
[Diana Draheim, a longtime VOTF member, submitted this disturbing story about
the shutdown of a vibrant faith community at Bridgewater State College.]
For over 40 years the Campus Ministry at Bridgewater State College served
a vibrant Catholic Community. We were financially and administratively semi-autonomous
and managed our affairs separate from surrounding parishes. As laity, we consistently
participated in the selection of our campus ministers and for years we had
been served by fine priests, both diocesan and from several orders. In recent
years, we constructed a lay-led self-governance structure that was collaborative
But in swift strokes last September, the RCAB ordered that we be absorbed
by the local parish. The local parish, itself under a new pastor, eventually
blended our finances with the parish, superseded our governance structure and
even folded our weekly bulletin into the parish bulletin. We were assigned
a new campus minister. All of these changes were made without lay involvement.
Our existing campus minister, a Sister of Notre Dame who had been a member
of our community for many years, saw the handwriting on the wall and resigned.
Like errant sheep and against our will, we essentially disappeared into the
We in Bridgewater, like the faithful in vigiling churches, experienced a new
(to us) adult way of being Church. We were a lay-led intentional worshiping
community and we have been forever changed by the experience. We’re sure
that this was how the Church was in the beginning and we’re sure that
the Church will someday be this way again, though perhaps not in our lifetime.
It was an exhilarating ride while it lasted.