Open Door Policy

CNS reports on a Spanish priest advocating a 24/7 open door policy at church. What do you think? Any experience out there of a parish staying open long hours or all hours? Here’s the scoop on one attempt:

Father Miguel Angel Vives, pastor of Nativity of Our Lady of Burjassot Parish in Valencia, decided that for one year his church would never close its doors. … Churches in Spain and other parts of Europe are normally closed between Masses. One reason for this is the need to prevent theft, but Father Vives said there were fewer thefts at his church in 2004 than in previous years. This year, with Ravasio’s help, Father Vives is pushing a plan backed by the Archdiocese of Valencia to enlist 12 Catholic churches to open 24 hours a day for one month each.

My last parish, on the suburban fringes of a city, stayed open during the day and closed down at 5PM each evening. The past year we experimented with leaving the doors open a few evenings a week. Staff took turns locking down on different weeknights, but I think the policy has been retired this summer.

In my new parish, we stay open 8AM to midnight. 16/7 I guess.

Anybody want to top that?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Open Door Policy

  1. Gavin says:

    Rural parish. Never locked the doors. In my opinion, just as it should be. I know it isn’t practical, but sometimes you just need to be in a church.

  2. Chase says:

    As one who visits churches on a pretty regular basis, my experience has been if the town is small to mid-size and a priest is living there, the church will be unlocked during the day. Large cities are hit-and-miss.

    I think it’s really a matter of knowing your surroundings. If the church is along a very busy highway or in a part of town known for crime, is it a good idea to keep it unlocked 24/7? Probably not.

    If the social and demographic factors are favorable, I say leave it open 24/7. If not, adjust the hours to your situation. I do think, however that having the church unlocked during daytime hours is more than reasonable is most situations.

  3. Matthew Meloche says:

    We’re in a pretty dangerous part of Columbus Ohio, so our doors are almost always locked… but if someone comes to the office (which is open at least 8 hours a day, sometimes 10-12), we’ll always let them in the Church to pray.

  4. Claude Muncey says:

    Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s I attended St. Augustine of Caterbury in Wiesbaden, Germany, one of the six American Churches in Europe (Episcopal). As it was explained to me, the superb location right downtown was a gift from the Duke of Nassau, with the conidtion that it would revert to the city if it every locked its doors.

    Maybe the story was apocryphal, but that church was always open.

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