Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Looking to a new year

Coming in September...


While a good number of the faithful have been driven from our parish, all can take comfort in the catholic, the universal nature of the Faith. It is worldwide, it springs from an endless and eternal Source, and it is unstoppable. (H/T:  Cleansing Fire.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

God with us

Yesterday’s Advent reflection from Magnificat brought home the lesson of Immanuel, God with us. Helen Alvare´ writes about “God’s Love for What Is Human,” and she frames her words around the Annunciation in Luke 1. She says, in part, “We see from the beginning of the New Testament God’s willingness to interact directly with human categories such as location, emotion, and the human body.”

She goes on to say that the angel didn’t dismiss Mary’s fears, and that God did not “bypass Mary’s body” in bringing Jesus to us. “Rather, God shows love and respect for the human world he has made, and at the same time he reveals it to us with greater clarity: human procreation is a stunning gift; our towns and homes are places where God lives too…”

I believe that our church, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, is a place where God lives, too, both physically and metaphysically. And if Immanuel saw fit to make St. Vincent’s His dwelling place, it behooves those who are engaged in its destruction to soberly reflect on their motives for undoing what God hath done.

Christmas Mass Schedule

Here's the Mass schedule for Christmas:

Christmas Eve:

3 p.m. --    St. Mary's
4 p.m. --    St. Vincent's
5 p.m. --    St. Mary's
7 p.m. --    St. Mary's
Midnight. - St. Mary's


Christmas Day

9:30 a.m. -- St. Vincent's

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Double Speak?

During the recent Dessert and Dialog with parish leadership, our administrator told us that Immaculate Heart of Mary was 'technically not up for sale' since the real estate company agreement to sell the church had expired. The large 'for sale' sign remained in place, though.

The latest bulletin, however, states that it is indeed for sale. But it also says, "...our councils are giving very careful consideration to how to provide priest housing and parish office space before we would agree to any sale."

Sigh.

What does that mean, exactly? Are the parish councils reconsidering the one worship site option? If so, shouldn't all parishioners be involved in this latest process, as mandated in diocesan guidelines?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scapegoating

So, our leadership's latest explanation given for the huge insurance rates in 2005, 2006, and 2007 is that  personal liability claims in the 1990s "rose dramatically". I can buy that, given the circumstances.

That begs the question, though, why did our parish leadership on multiple occasions and from multiple mouths, tell us that it was insurance costs for St. Patrick's that ate up any profit from its sale? That it would have been better to give St. Patrick's away  rather than sell it?

Was St. Patrick's a convenient scapegoat?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For your viewing enjoyment...

Apparently Danny Kaye had Bing Crosby in stitches during this scene in White Christmas. You can see it, too. Back to business tomorrow.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Still America

The people who have been working to save St. Vincent Catholic Church are not just focused single-mindedly on this one issue. They are also citizens and have diverse opinions and views on many different issues affecting our city.

Until the flier went out and the unwarranted attack in the press happened, the subject of the facilities plan and vote had never come up amongst us. We all have full lives and meetings focused only on the church. We usually had an hour or two to meet and needed to focus on next steps.

As has been reiterated several times, there are no leaders here. Meetings are held at different locations, not on a regular basis, and people come and go as they choose to participate or draw back. Different people chair different meetings. Some people plan one thing, some another.

The website has merely served as a communication tool. It does not reflect on this loose grouping of individuals whose concern, again, is saving our church from destruction.

That said, since the Corning Leader saw fit to make a mountain out of a molehill, the facilities plan has now become a topic of conversation among us. Some of us are for it, some of us are not. Some of us are indifferent.

While the website and blog will not publish an opinion on the matter one way or another (since there is no official opinion to give), there are those of us who might want to speak one way or another about the facilities plan. And that is our right. We have every right to be for or against the facilities plan, to speak about it openly, and to work in whatever direction we see fit. This is still America.

Monday, December 6, 2010

600 Fliers

A little more than a week ago a small mailing from Saving Our Parish of about 600 fliers went out to homes in the area of St. Vincent Church. We figured that probably 400 of the fliers would be pitched without being read. Perhaps 100 people or so would read it and feel sympathetic, or not. And of the 100 left perhaps a few would be motivated to write Providence Housing Development Corporation and Bishop Matthew Clark about the sale of St. Vincent’s, or contact their city council members.

Instead, three local entities joined together to discredit and attack their fellow citizens. Much of the rhetoric and actions says more about them than those who are part of Saving Our Parish. We will leave them to their work.

The blog and the website, however, are currently working to save St. Vincent Church, and that will remain the focus. Comments that address issues not tied to St. Vincent’s or other parish issues, will not be published. The Corning Leader has comment posting on their website.

We have not taken a stand on the C-PP facilities plan. That was never our focus. Our concern has always been our church. We believe in letting the voters decide the issue of the facilities plan.

Because of the proximity and timing of Providence Housing’s plan and the possibility of more senior housing being developed at the middle school only a block away, north side residents and their council representatives have much to ponder and weigh.

We think saving a beautiful and gracious church a very worthwhile thing. St. Vincent’s was built with great love and care and has, like the other lovely churches in the neighborhood, anchored and characterized the north side for many years.

It is a vibrant church. It deserves to be saved.

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Attention all non-Catholic residents of the north side of Corning. The Corning Leader has proclaimed that the possible redevelopment of St. Vincent Catholic Church to subsidized senior housing is not your concern. You may all go back to your normal lives now.

Ignore the elephant a block away.

Signed,

One of those evil papists ;-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Can you trust The Leader?

From an article just posted at SavingOurParish.com:

"Today's 'exposé' of the neighborhood flier in The Corning Leader deserves a closer look. In the article 'C-PP officials upset over flyer' it states, “The author of the flyer remains a mystery. The flyer contained neither the name of a person nor an organization…”

That is an untrue statement and The Leader knows it. I hope they will print a retraction.

Read the whole thing.

Controversy erupts

I'm sure most of you have seen the article in the Sunday Corning Leader titled 'C-PP officials upset over flyer'.

There are numerous points that we will be addressing regarding the article and comments. Give us a little time to organize it all.

Perhaps the first thing we can do is reprint an email that was sent Friday afternoon to Bill Cameron, public information coordinator for the C-PP School District. Mr. Cameron sent a very polite and professional inquiry on Friday morning, which I responded to later in the afternoon. 

He responded back, saying in part, "Yes, it would be great to talk with you so please feel free to contact me. I will be here awhile longer today – but also available next week during the regular working day too... " As I told him, I would be happy to speak with him  and will do so next week.

From my communication with the C-PP School District:

Mr. Cameron,
Thanks for contacting us. The flier that was sent out had SavingOurParish.com's website and post office box clearly printed in the return address. Some of us associated with SavingOurParish.com are known to the community through the efforts to preserve St. Vincent Catholic Church in Corning.
Christine Sharkey, of Corning Enterprises, has spoken to me and my husband regarding the flier. As you can see, the flier is concerned with Providence Housing Development Corporation’s offer to buy the St. Vincent church property and redevelop it into senior housing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Response to Cathy Weil

A Letter to the Editor has appeared in this morning's Corning Leader. It is highly critical of the neighborhood flier and the motives behind it. See the response here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Really? Really?

Immaculate Heart of Mary: assessed at $420,000. Asking price----around that number.  We have been told that  'technically' IHM is not up for sale at this point.

St. Vincent Catholic Church: assessed at $2.1 million. Asking price--$350,000. Was never up for sale.

Such a deal.

Dreaming...not!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A message from Teen Angel

 The Teen Angel Program needs help! We have 58 teens who do not have sponsors for this Christmas. If you would like to sponsor a teen, you will receive their first name, their age and the school they are attending, along with 5 items that they need and 1 or 2 items that they would like. All teens are from the Corning-Painted Post school district and have been referred by district representatives. The gifts provided through our program are the only gifts these teens will receive. If you are able to help, please contact the site administrator at admin@savingourparish.com and someone from the Teen Angel program will be in touch. 

The truth is out there...

The Neighborhood Flier is up at SavingOurParish.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One year ago...

I have been pondering the youth minister's article in the latest bulletin. He forgot to add that a year ago the Teen Angel program was running smoothly and many teens were provided with much-needed items to make their Christmas a little easier. This year, not so much...

Doesn't quite fit the narrative, though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Price is.....right?

What do you suppose was the cost to build St. Vincent and its rectory and furnish it fully back in 1955?

Published in the July 1, 1955 Catholic Courier, the price was $385,000. In 1955.

And in 2010, our parish leadership is willing to sell not only the church and rectory, but the parking lot, the convent, and the school for $350,000.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The mantra

It was heard yet again at last week's parish meeting that it would've been better to give St. Patrick's away than to have kept up the insurance on it for the years it was mothballed. Parishioners have some questions regarding insurance premiums on our church properties. Read about it here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Catholic Radio -- The Station of the Cross

Catholic radio is coming to our area! There's a fundraiser Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. at the Elmira Country Club. Go here for information about The Station of the Cross, and here for their informational packet.

To RSVP for the fundraiser get in touch with Karen Kilpatrick at rkilpatrick@stny.rr.com or 607-562-8630.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Faith and Hope in the Church

Parish gerrymandering

So a fellow parishioner informs us that our parish councils are not as representative as we would like to believe.

Did you know that Zero of eight Finance Council members live on the north side of Corning. (Three from Painted Post and four from the south side of Corning, and one staff person.)

Two of 14 parish council members live on the north side of Corning. (Two from the north side, three from the South side and eight from Painted Post, with one staff person.)

The Facilities Council has four from the north side of Corning, four from the south side and one from Painted Post.

So, out of 31 people on our councils, six are from the north side of Corning.

The dictionary definition of representative is: of, based on, or constituting a government in which the many are represented by persons chosen from among them.

The dictionary definition of gerrymandering is: to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group.

Our councils are selected, not elected.

And, further, at the parish meeting on Thursday, it was quietly suggested that the leadership may "consider" keeping Immaculate Heart of Mary. What happened to the firm insistence on  'one worship site'?

Who or what can we trust? This is All Saints/All One?

Friday, November 19, 2010

'All the news that's fit to print'

We have been given permission to reprint Warren Blackwell's Nov. 18 letter to The Leader. You can access it here. Our gratitude to The Leader for permission to reprint.

Community theatre!

Go to the front page of SavingOurParish.com for some info on the play "Steel Magnolias" that's happenin' at the Elks Lodge this weekend. The cast includes some familiar faces from around our parish and community. We'll try to get a picture of the cast up later on today.

I am St. Vincent de Paul

 
CALL FOR PHOTOS!

For all of you who have been wondering how you can help save St. Vincent de Paul now is your chance. We are creating another video with a positive message in support of our church. Please make a simple sign of your choice, see example photo above. Your sign can say anything in support of St. Vincent's. Please include the name St. Vincent de Paul with any other message you'd like to add.
Examples include: member for 10 years, married here, my spiritual home, faith, hope, met my wife here at my best friend's wedding, graduated 1935 or anything else you like.

As you may know our leadership has claimed that only a small number of parishioners are not in favor of selling the church. This is our response to that misrepresentation. Our Bishop needs the truth.

So please get some paper, a marker and a digital camera. The more photos the better. Please email photos to: choward3@stny.rr.com before December 1st.
 
Faith built St. Vincent's Church, have faith that we can save it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Parish life at St. Vincent's


A heartwarming story of how faith, centered around St. Vincent's church, survives the worst of calamities.

St. Vincent's and the Flood

From the story:  I do not even know who the artist was for this simple depiction of St. Vincent's, but it was sketched and placed on make shift bulletins following the flood and it also became a symbol of our parish strength and survival. We all knew and know the value of St. Vincent's and I pray for her survival, just as we all joined together during the flood and prayed for our individual and collective survival.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Presentation Slides Online

The slides of the Oct. 31 presentation are online at SavingOurParish.com.

Realize that the presenters did a lot of talking in between slides, which means that those who view only the slides are getting a small snapshot of what was presented.

Also, we are in the process of getting some additional information to share from those professionals who looked at the financials. We will post that as it comes in. Basically, after looking at the financial statements, they agree that better stewardship would solve the financial problems. They also agreed that the financials as presented were convoluted and confusing, which could be a whole presentation in and of itself.

Financially speaking, the parish is not bankrupt. We are getting by, even with an inflated payroll (most parish's have around 11 or 12 employees, not 16 like we have). Also, there are other ways the budget could be cut that would strengthen our financial status without having to destroy any more churches.

To the agitators

There's a few individuals who insist upon agitating. That is why comment moderation continues for now. Jesus tells the parable of the tares and the wheat, which were to grow together until the harvest. Tares are a weed that when first growing look so similar to wheat that telling the difference is difficult.

Experiencing some of that here. Clever.

Regarding the presentation being put online, it is coming. Within the next day or so. To the agitator who keeps harping on it, though, I can tell you that in a nutshell what we presented was to:

A) Balance the budget based on collections (which according to parish admin is approx. $800K a year)
B) Include in that budget a realistic figure for maintenance and repairs
C) Form a fund raising committee and begin a capital campaign to make capital improvements
D) Look at raising funds and saving costs through alternative plans to sell or rent other parish properties

It is not rocket science. All of the above is eminently doable without destroying yet another Catholic Church that is active and viable. Why the rush to destroy St. Vincent's?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Building for the future

Have you heard that when St. Vincent Catholic Church was built, it was constructed in such a way as to allow for future expansion? Apparently it can be bumped out 20-30 feet, allowing for many more pews.

Makes you wonder if, during the three years of secret planning, our Facilities Council had that information. There are blueprints around...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sound familiar?

St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome churches--our brethren in the struggle.

News video about St. Thomas and St. Salome.

And here's more.

Terribly familiar.

Come Let Us Adore Him


Our parish will be having Adoration, beginning Sunday, Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. through Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 a.m., at St. Mary's chapel, 155 State St., Corning.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Women's Rosary Group on Saturday


Ladies, don't forget that this Saturday, the 6th, is the monthly parish Women's Rosary and Coffee Group. Here's the info:

Meeting at 8:15 a.m. to pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a few minutes of private prayer time before heading over for coffee and fellowship at a local cafe (optional). No experience necessary (rosaries and prayer guides provided).

Where: Side chapel of St. Mary's (155 State St., Corning - enter left side of church / Soul Full Cup, 81 West Market St .)

Who's Invited: Women inside or outside the parish, particularly in their 20s-50s. Newcomers welcome. Nursing babies welcome too!

In honor of this day: All Souls

Monday, November 1, 2010

Comment moderation

We're turning on comment moderation for the next few hours, hoping cooler heads will prevail.

What can we do?

Here's a start. These ideas were shared at the meeting yesterday afternoon. Scroll down for addresses.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

News Coverage

YNN and WETM have stories about the sale of Saint Vincent's. Here's a statement from Deacon Dean in the WETM coverage:

"Deacon Condon stated that only a small group of parishioners do not agree with the closure and that most parishioners he has spoken to agree with the administration."

Apparently he doesn't interact with parishioners too much.

As expected...

A letter in Sunday's bulletin details the staff/council recommendation to sell Saint Vincent's:

"That All Saints Parish accepts the proposal from Providence Housing Development Corporation to purchase the St. Vincent de Paul campus for the minimum offer of $350,000 subject to the following contingencies to be further defined by Deacon Dean Condon:
    1. Diocesan approval.
    2. Commitment to use property for Senior Housing.
    3. Salvage rights for religious items.
    4. Allow Providence Housing at least two attempts to get financing with final date of December 2013.
    5. Price agreement based on average of two appraisals with minimum purchase price of $350,000."

This now will kick off the appeal process to our bishop. Details at tomorrow's meeting at the Union Hall, 2 p.m. The bishop is traveling down here next Friday, by the way, to celebrate mass with the children at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary's Church. All parishioners are invited.

Remember, "Potter isn't selling, Potter's buying."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do they have faith in us?

Some talented parishioners have put together a video to present at Sunday's meeting. Here's a sneak peek:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Whose line is it, anyway?

"People say, 'You haven't communicated well'. The point of these [facilities plan financials] was not to provide up-to-date analysis. It was something done four or five years ago. It was to communicate the fact that this stuff has been communicated. It has been out there."

Whose line is it? Find out Sunday.

Dear Editor...

There's a letter to the editor in this morning's Corning Leader. You might want to check it out.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Forgot to ask...

Could parish administration post on the parish website the actual financial statement for fiscal year 2009-2010, which ended June 30?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

So much for parishioner 'input'

Now that our administrator has spent $4,000 on an updated appraisal for St. Vincent's, do you suppose an announcement will be coming soon....

Friday, October 22, 2010

The 3 x 5 card

Question: Will parish leadership publish a copy of the parish covenant on the ASP website, so that all may be aware of its promises?


For an example of an online parish covenant, click here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let them eat cake...

Download and print the flyer for the October 31st meeting at the Union Hall. The parish leadership is counting on your buy-in to their plan of dividing and dismantling our parish. The meeting on the 31st will give you an entirely different perspective--the unadulterated truth.

Have you heard the story of the dad who was teaching his kids a lesson about mixing error with truth? He told them he wanted to bake them a cake. It would have the best ingredients in it, but for one thing...a small amount of excrement. So small that you couldn't see or taste it, even though it was present. Naturally, the children didn't want that kind of cake.

Smart kids.

Not a dialog

So we went to the "Dinner and Dialogue" tonight. Not. A. Dialog. This was the format: You (meaning the parishioners) submit questions on a 3X5 card, and Deacon Dean would supposedly answer them, as long as there was time. One way communication.

The sense of weakness on the part of a leader who cannot actually engage with parishioners was revealing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Problems with the Teen Angel program?

I have agreed to post a communication from someone going by the name Wrapitup who is trying to get information about reported changes to the Teen Angel program.


I recently heard from a teacher friend in the school district that the successful Teen Angel program is being revamped and will now be run by a Cody Smith. Word is out that apparently this person visited her middle school to announce the program changes and indicated that Marie McCaig would no longer be involved in the program which has been around for years. She called Marie to ask what this was all about and Marie was stunned to find that this was taking place. I have been a monetary supporter, shopper and have even helped with the gift wrapping when needed at Christmas time almost since the inception of the program. Could someone kindly enlighten me as to what this is all about? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Community meeting scheduled

As promised, a followup meeting has been planned for All Hallow's Eve, Sunday, Oct. 31, from 2-3:30 p.m. at the Union Hall in Corning. There will be an hour presentation of financial information and alternative proposals, followed by a half-hour Q&A session.

We'll get out a flyer in the next few days to print.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The church budget

This is from the bulletin of another church in our Diocese. Interesting to see how others are handling financial transparency on a weekly basis.

This blog is here to stay

There seems to be some questions about the usefulness of this blog. I have had occasion recently to meet with parish staff and the parish council. In both situations, what was promised as a dialog to discuss some very serious issues in our parish did not turn out as hoped for. In fact, the opposite occurred. I hope and pray that lessons have been learned and the upcoming dinner and dialog on Thursday will be productive and an honest  give-and-take of ideas.

Dialog, which the dictionary describes as "a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution," should include the idea that both sides have something of value to contribute and a common basis from which to work toward reconciliation. No 'side' has all the answers or has been free of mistakes, which brings me to the topic of this blog.

It is no secret that parish leadership wants it to go away. Suppose it did. Suppose it disappeared tomorrow. Would the issues also suddenly disappear? The answer is self-evident--the issues would remain.

What would disappear is the parishioners ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas to the parish at large. In a free society, all have the right to express their opinions, whether or not those opinions are popular or agreeable. The price of all having a voice is that both good and bad ideas and opinions are expressed. It requires that we learn to discern between right and wrong ideas, that we learn the Scriptural way of not taking offense, and that we actually live what we claim as Catholics.

Since starting this blog, I and my family have been attacked and maligned. Recently, since I began posting under my own name the attacks have intensified, some of them coming from parish staff. None of it is unexpected. It comes with the territory. It's uncomfortable and disagreeable. I can certainly sympathize with those who have been criticized here. But I think it's worth it if we can get to the heart of the matter--if we can get to the truth. And until that happens, this blog is here to stay.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Faith

The rescued Chilean miners have been such an inspiration. They kept the faith. Great article here. FTA:
Jimmy Sanchez, one of the outspoken believers, said, "There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here." Ultimately, Villarroel and the other rescued Chilean miners recognized -- as we must all learn to do -- that their fate rested not in human hands or expert plans alone, but in the providence of God. Villarroel surely spoke for the other miners -- many fell to their knees in prayer as they came out of the rescue capsule -- when he thanked God for a second chance at life. Omar Reygadas clutched his Bible as he exited the rescue capsule, and he knelt in prayer when his feet touched ground. His first words were "God Lives." From the first to the last rescued Chilean miner, these 33 men have learned much they can teach us about faith and what is real.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Dinner & Dialogue

If you didn't already know, Deacon Dean and the parish staff are hosting a Dinner & Dialogue for parishioners on Thursday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., at All Saints Academy Gym. It may be a good opportunity to ask questions about the sale of St. Vincent's, or whatever else you may be wanting to know. To RSVP (by Oct. 19), call 936-4689, ext. 210. Thanks to parish leadership for planning the event. Details here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Watching with Him

There are just a few hours left on the Adoration sign-up list. To sign up, go here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Meeting summary now online

A summary of the September 29 meeting with Deacon Dean is online.

Registration info

If you want to use an email address that is not connected to your regular account, you can go to Google or Yahoo! and set up an email account--which you can then use when posting comments here. Here's the links:

Yahoo! Registration

Gmail from Google

They are pretty self-explanatory as you follow the steps to creating an account.

Information about the September 29 meeting with Deacon Dean will be up later today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A small change

Hello all,

As an alternative to shutting down the blog as requested by parish staff, we have decided to take the step of requiring registration of those who comment. Now, this is quite a simple thing and your anonymity is still preserved if desired. However, it does require a name of some sort to be used when you post, and a registered email account (which will not be published if you choose that option). For instance, if you click on my name in a comment, you will be taken to a profile page that I have elected to make non-accessible. Others may choose to open up an email account with Yahoo! or another venue that is not tied to their regular email account, and use that for posting comments.

Registering will eliminate the many identical 'anonymous' that can get confusing. We will all have a unique 'handle' that makes comments specific to an individual.

There are several different avenues through which you can register and here are links to some of them. If you have any questions, the blog will not require registration until  Wednesday, so you can comment, ask questions, etc., in the old way until that time. Some of you may be able to suggest which preference is best and give advice on signing up.
I believe there are a couple other options you can research if you would like. So, the bottom line is, when you post a comment you will no longer have the 'Anonymous' option in the drop-down menu.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Getting answers

Parish leadership has put up a new Q&A page. Several important questions are asked and answered.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Blessed Thistle(s)

The meeting last night was quite long. We are pondering its implications and will get back to you all in the next few days. Thank you for your prayers--they are much appreciated.

I can tell you there was talk of thistles last night. Cnicus benedictus, or Blessed Thistle, has many healing properties. William Shakespeare recommends "laying it to your heart" because it "helpeth that doth hurt and annoye the hart." Renowned in medieval times as a remedy for plague, it is used today for a variety of ailments. The thistle survives in the waste places of the world where little else grows. There is a place in God's kingdom for thistles.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Parish Financials Online

The parish has posted financials for the last several years. Here is Joey's contribution. This was his tooth money, which he offered up to save St. Vincent's.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Speaking the truth in love


By Juan Contreras
 (Posted here because of length and posting issues)

So I have contemplated all day what to write about the Parish Council meeting last night and initially I was going to refrain from providing any commentary, but this blog thread has gotten out of control – regardless of what side of the fence you are on. But, at the same time, that is to be expected because the SOP team, as well as the Parish council, has exerted a tremendous amount of time and energy to their cause. As has proven to be the case on other threads the rumors, half-truths, and attacks have taken over the conversation and I ask…when will level heads prevail?
 With that said I would like to provide you my observations from last night’s meeting and agree with or counter some of the statements that have been posted in the preceding comments.
I would like to open with a thanks to Steve Rossettie for allowing SOP to consume the vast majority of the 15 minutes, normally, allotted for the open forum and then allotting an additional ten minutes for others to ask questions or make their points of view heard. We, as SOP, came to the meeting to offer our assistance to the Parish Council and administration in whatever way we could to help restore our faith community and heal this divide that now exists. Of course, right away, we knew no decisions would be made since Deacon Dean was not in attendance. Regardless, we presented the information in the executive summary (linked above). Per a request from Steve we supplied him with the executive summary, or list of requested information and questions prior to the meeting. What this implied to us was that we could expect that there would be some form of an attempt to address our questions and requests for information. Granted some of the information was made available on the Parish website prior to the meeting, and we greatly appreciate that, but other requests were not even mentioned by the council. Cory, and others, make a valid point that the council normally just sits and listens, but it you ask for information and questions before a meeting the least you could do is acknowledge they exist but will not be answered. The same goes for the questions we supplied prior to the meeting. The knowledge was present to answer some of our questions, but again they were not addressed. I am not saying they were ignored and they may very well be answered at tomorrow’s meeting, but common courtesy and decorum would imply they acknowledged they had not given us answers.

As we were providing our presentation to the meeting we were subjected to open hostility and contempt from certain members of the council. There were instances of people rolling their eyes, laughing and generally showing a complete lack of interest and disregard or what we were saying. I am not asking them to agree or take detailed notes on our presentation but the least you could do is listen and withhold judgment until we have made our presentation. For those members of the council (and we can provide names if necessary, but no need to embarrass them for their lack of professionalism) what your attitudes and demeanor did was just reaffirm what the majority of Parishioners already believe: you are not interested in hearing, accepting or acting on their opinions and ideas. Their actions and attitude were very similar to that exhibited by Mr. Cassidy at the September 12 meeting when after hearing an elderly parishioner express her concern about attending Mass at St. Mary’s in the winter time, due to the steps and hills , he told her to “just stay home.”  Truly appalling behavior from one on the council and if that is truly your opinion and attitude I would suggest you leave your post. Honestly, how can anyone expect you to act in the best interest of the council when you make such a statement? Finally, I would like to once again, thank Steve Rossettie for actively listening to our presentation and taking notes on what was said.
For those expecting us to have presented concrete ideas and/or actionable plans I have one question: how can you expect us to have these things after three months and without all the information if the facilities council failed to develop these same things after studying the issue for three years? Let’s be fair people and not try to hold us to a higher standard than we hold those who are tasked with making the decisions. After all, we are still awaiting receipt of our requested information so that we can develop an actionable plan to tackle some of the necessary items.

Once we concluded our presentation, Steve allowed five more Parishioners to ask questions of provide their opinion. There were those for and against SOP but more importantly there were those who just wanted their voices heard. One Parishioner (and I will not use names because I did not receive their person before doing so) made a very profound statement when they stated “Action without vision is a nightmare” and that is what we are currently living. What is the vision for our Parish? Their follow-on question to that statement was “where is the strategic plan to move the Church forward” because, as they stated, they did not see it. Another Parishioner asked two very good questions:
1)      Does the Lord want another tabernacle removed?, and
2)      Is this God’s will?
These are things we should all pray on, long and hard, hoping that the Lord provides us some insight into what his plan is for our Parish.
This brings me to those who opposed SOP of which there was one who was openly hostile and another who questioned the fact that the web site provided information for those Parishioners who have chosen to redirect their contributions elsewhere. To him I would like to say, first off, I applaud your willingness to increase your contributions when you saw that there would be those directing their contributions elsewhere. Honestly, this is the type of willingness we need from every Parishioner who is not tithing their full 10%. Remember God rewards those who give of their first fruits (a fact my wife and I have come to realize over the last two years when we have increased our contribution from 2% to almost 9%, with the goal to reach 10% next year) and your willingness to bear an increase burden should be applauded and emulated by all. As for you taking issue with the fact that the web site provided information on how to contribute elsewhere I am sorry but all we were doing was providing information. Granted the letters were rather pointed (and were taken down) but there was no attempt at coercion or force to get people to leave. People had already made those decisions on their own and without any undue influence.
Then there was Karen (Her I am not going to attempt to protect) who opened by stating her support for the council, not a problem. But then she went on to question SOP’s means and the fact we had not come up with any ideas. As for our means…we have made attempts to reach out and involve the Parish council and administration in our efforts and were initially rebuffed. We asked them to attend the meeting on September 12th and Fr. Lew was on the only one who showed up. Thus, we were forced by necessity to undertake other forms of communication to have the Parishioner’s voices heard. If that is found to be objectionable or questionable, then so be it. We, in turn, question the means by which the Parish is being lead. We question the means by which decisions are being made. We question the concern, demonstrated and otherwise, to achieve the ASP mission statement.  Actions speak louder than words and we are acting on our beliefs and desire to heal our Parish. What are you doing?
Let me answer my own question…you are attempting to quiet us and beat us down. Well it is not going to happen because we have the backing of the majority of the Parishioners. We will make their voice and opinions heard.
What you are, also, doing is telling us about the problems of the last 10 – 20 years and how these issues are not new. Well I find no comfort in that argument. These problems have not been solved by reducing staff or the selling of buildings, so maybe it is time to take a fresh approach. What has caused the problems? A lack of contributions and income. How do you increase contributions and income? Make the Parish welcoming for new members and comfortable and familial for current members. Of course we currently do neither. We fired the person responsible for welcoming new members and what has been the result? For the three years I have been a member of the Parish our RCIA classes and family faith formation had large numbers of attendee’s and this year I know of only one. And as far as making the Parish comfortable and familial to current members…we fail here to but the causes of this issue are well known and the selling of a Church campus is not going to resolve them.
I am not blind and as Steve pointed out to the reporter, it may come down to selling a Church, ASA or something else to resolve the financial issues of the Parish. But I would like to add that it should not be done without Parishioner input and, at a minimum, affording them the opportunity to do something about it. What if the sale of any Church building were delayed, at least, one year with the caveat that the Parishioners would have to raise $XXX to make XXX repairs? Then we, Parishioners, would have to put our “time, talent and treasure” where our mouths are. But to offer us no input and show an open hostility to open communication will not help solve any of the issues we currently face as a Parish.
In closing I would like to thank the council for allowing us to speak and I would challenge each and every Parishioner to pray for our Parish, pray that where are headed is God’s will, pray for those you agree with and, more importantly, those you do not.

God Bless,
Juan Contreras,
SOP Member

Monday, September 27, 2010

Summary online

Everyone,

The executive summary is now online here.

Please note that the ideas presented in the summary are the ones that SOP felt would be most helpful at this moment. It does not mean they are the best ideas, or should have precedence over the other ideas from the brainstorming session.

Right now we are still engaged in getting a fuller picture of the situation in our parish. As the picture gets clearer in the next few weeks, we will schedule another meeting.

For those who weren't able to make the parish council meeting tonight, we'll report back.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Community Meeting Notes Posted

All, the Sept. 12 community meeting notes have been published at SavingOurParish.com on the Articles page. The executive summary has been sent to the parish leadership and will be posted online, too. Copies will also be available at tomorrow night's pastoral council meeting at Rogers Hall at 7 p.m.

Plans are already being made for a followup meeting for the community.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Facilities Proposal Online

Everyone, staff has put the facilities proposal online. It deserves your careful study and attention.

St. Vincent de Paul


Did you know that Monday, Sept. 27 is St. Vincent de Paul's feast day? Here is a lovely article giving a short  history of St. Vincent. Among other things, he is the patron saint of spiritual help. Send up prayers for his intercession as our pastoral council meets on Monday. Hope to see you all there in support of our parish.

Prayer to St. Vincent De Paul

O Glorious Saint Vincent de Paul,
The mention of your name,
Suggests a litany of your virtues:
Humility, zeal, mercy, self-sacrifice.
It also recalls
Your many foundations:
Works of Mercy,
Congregations,
Societies.

The Church gratefully remembers,
Your promotion of the priesthood.
Inspire all Charitable Workers,
Especially those who minister,
To both the spiritually
And the materially poor.

O Lord, give us the grace,
That You bestowed upon,
Your servant St. Vincent de Paul,
To relinquish the temptation,
Of material things,
In our holy effort,
To minister to the poor. Amen.

Not All Saints Parish?

In a recent All Saints Parish bulletin, a question was asked and answered. I reproduce it here with the original grammar and punctuation: 

Q. Will we still be known as All Saints Parish or will we be St. Mary Parish? 

A. When All Saints Parish was established, the four original parishes were formally suppressed according to canon law. That means that in the eyes of the universal church, St. Patrick, St. Vincent, St. Mary, and Immaculate Heart Church no longer exist, while their original building still stand. They are all part of All Saints Parish. The church on the hill has traditionally carried the name St. Mary, and perhaps will always be thought of that way in the minds and hearts of people. However, it technically is now a worship site of All Saints Parish, and is more aptly named "All Saints Church."

But read the following from a canon lawyer at EWTN in response to a question regarding the same issue:

Renaming of a Church building 

Question from Terry on 8/24/2010:

I seem to remember reading some place that Canon Law forbids renaming a church building once it is dedicated. Not a parish but a church building. Did I misunderstand? If not could you tell me the Specific Canon because all around me this is happening when the diocese combines parishes. God Bless you! terry 

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 8/28/2010: 

Canon 1218 states: "Each church is to have its own title which cannot be changed after the church has been dedicated." There was even a specific clarification from the Vatican stating that the diocesan bishop does not have authority to dispense from (make an exception to) this law.

I agree that this is a widespread and terrible problem that is happening in many parts of the United States, especially throughout the northeast where many parishes have been closed. It is often done under the pretext of giving a parish a name that is distinct from the name of the church buildings. However, nothing in canon law authorizes the giving of a parish a name, yet I have seen this abuse repeatedly. Only Church buildings are to be given a name (or title). It is part of the dedication or consecration of the sacred place....read the rest of the answer here. H/T from Cleansing Fire.

This means, that if we end up with one church, St. Mary's, then our parish should, according to canon law, be named St. Mary Parish. If, St. Vincent's and Immaculate Heart of Mary are gone, then we will no longer be All Saints Parish. Makes sense, since the only saint left is St. Mary. Something to think about.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

To the top...

Can we bring this thread up to the top? Please start commenting here. The last three comments posted are:

Anonymous said...

FWIW:
Auburn - population ~28,000 - 7 churches
Elmira - population ~39,000 - 6 churches
Elmira Heights - population ~4,000 - 1 church
Corning - population ~11,000 - 3 churches

Demographically, not accounting for population density, we should look at Auburn and see what we can model on and borrow from them.

Obviously this is back of the envelope, as the number of churches and the population of, say, Rochester is hard to make a direct correlatation between poplation and churches serving that population. I am sure the population density of the ABC Parish would also be skewed as the populations and square mileage of the parish being served by those churches is interesting. Although you could segment the population of the specific townships and the local church serving that township.

Question - could Corning support 2 parishes? September 23, 2010 12:34 PM 

Joe said..

Just crunching numbers for the heck of it- the total population for above is 82,000. Divide this by the number of churches covering this population, 17, and you come up with an average population of 4,823 PER ONE CHURCH. With our population of 11,000, sustaining 2 Churches should not be an issue. The fact that it is an issue, is the issue. September 23, 2010 12:47 PM

Chris said...

Auburn is a very conservative, traditional parish. Need I say more? Much credit to the late Father Shammon.
September 23, 2010 1:01 PM 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Continuing a blog thread here...

People are having trouble commenting on the thread to this post, Meeting Open Thread and Power Point Presentation. Two members of SOP wanted to respond but some glitch prevented both they and the admin from posting their responses on the thread. So, we are linking here and here to their responses. Feel free to continue the thread here on this blog post.

Come, let us adore Him

Beginning the second week of October parishioners will have the opportunity for Adoration at St. Mary's Chapel--24 hours a day for a week.

For all the info, including signups, click here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Parish women's rosary group starts up


A new women's rosary and coffee group is starting at All Saints Parish. Check out the details in this week's bulletin or at SavingOurParish.com.

Editorial in the Leader

It may take a miracle to save church

FTA:

No one wants to see a beautiful neighborhood church like St. Vincent’s closed down, if that is indeed part of the plan to convert other parts of the church property into a senior housing facility. Not surprisingly, it’s difficult to find out the full intentions of the proposed sale and the fate of the church itself seems uncertain, at best.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Listen to Papa

“Sometimes it is a challenge to find a reason for what appears only as a difficulty to be overcome or even pain to be endured.  Yet our faith helps us to break open the horizon beyond our own selves in order to see life as God does, God’s unconditional love, which bathes every human individual, points to a meaning and purpose for all human life.  Through his Cross, Jesus in fact draws us into his saving love and in so doing shows us the way ahead – the way of hope which transfigures us all, so that we too , become bearers of that hope and clarity for others.” Pope Benedict XVI

Letter from a Native Son

If you are feeling a little down about our parish, there's a letter on the home page of SavingOurParish.com to cheer you up. And then take a look at the news article that was also sent along--yes, it's Bishop Sheen at St. Vincent's!

Many thanks and God bless you, Mr. Kane, for taking the time to write and inspire us all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Media Coverage

WETM, Channel 18 was at the meeting last night. Here's a link

And the Corning Leader covered the event, too, here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Meeting Open Thread and Power Point Presentation

Give us your feedback about the meeting...share any additional ideas...and even the things you didn't like about it. :-)

And here's the link to the Power Point presentation. We'll get the results of our brainstorming session up as soon as we can.

Thank you, thank you, to all who participated. Your ideas and input and honest zeal was amazing and inspiring.

See you at the Library, 2 p.m. sharp!

This is a great day for our parish. We are being given an opportunity to offer help and ideas to parish leadership. Can't wait to see everyone at the Library. Praying for the Holy Spirit to guide us, and praying blessings for each and every individual in our parish community.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Signs are in!

 We have yard signs! Get yours at the meeting on Sunday at the Library. If you can't make the meeting or need extra signs, contact us at admin@savingourparish.com and we'll arrange to get them to you.

PRESERVE
SAINT VINCENT CHURCH

Friday, September 10, 2010

The price of selling . . .UPDATE

What would you say of selling off a property that was assessed at over $2 million, for $350,000?

SavingOurParish.com has the assessment for you. A big thanks to the parishioner who alerted us to the information.

Read it and weep.

We are talking only the financials here, which is the language parish leadership is speaking. Nothing about the cost in human terms.

UPDATE: The Corning Leader has an article about the sale of SV here.

For a City of Corning tax assessment, go here to see for yourself. Here are a couple of the particulars:

SWIS: 460300 Tax ID: 299.20-01-070.000
Tax Map ID / Property Data
Status: Active Roll Section: Wholly Exem
Address: 109 Ellicott St
Property Class: 620 - Religious Site Property Class: 620 - Religious
Total Acreage/Size: 1.54 Equalization Rate: ----
Land Assessment: 2010 - $38,400 Total Assessment: 2010 - $2,065,000
Full Market Value: 2010 - $2,065,000 Market Value/sqft: N/A

Sorry, I couldn't get the post to format correctly!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In the news

Parishioners were interviewed at WETM channel 18 last night. Here's a link to the video. You may have to look in the list to the left and click on the appropriate link.

Here's another clip from YNN channel 7.

Hopeful News

The Diocese of Rochester has released a statement to a local news organization, YNN channel 7, that states the sale of St. Vincent's to Providence Housing Development Corporation is not a done deal.

This is very hopeful news.

Don't miss Sunday's meeting at the Corning Library, from 2-4 p.m. This is your opportunity to brainstorm and discuss alternatives to the proposed sale.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Interview on Family Life Network

Today at noon and again at 5 p.m. on FLN radio is an interview with a couple parishioners about the sale of St. Vincent's and Sunday's community meeting at the library. Try 90.3 FM or 88.3 FM on the radio dial. Reception differs a little depending on where you are located.

Monday, September 6, 2010

10 people, 10 days, 10 signatures

If 10 people were determined to get 10 signatures a day for the next 10 days, that would add up to 1,000 signatures.

If you would like to help with the petition, email admin@savingourparish.com for a pdf copy. When it's ready to be turned in, email us back and we'll arrange to come pick it up.

Every. Signature. Counts.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We respectfully request....

Here's a link to an online petition requesting that the sale of St. Vincent's be withdrawn. There will also be parishioners around town in the next several days with paper petitions you can sign. Please only sign once, either the paper petition or the online petition. If you have questions or want to sign the paper version but haven't had the opportunity, email us at admin@savingourparish.com and we will arrange to get one to you.

The petition (both paper and online) states the following:

PETITION

To the Diocese of Rochester and Providence Housing Development Corporation

WE, the undersigned, are residents of the Corning-Painted Post area and its Catholic community. We respectfully request that the sale of St. Vincent’s Catholic Church to Providence House or any other buyer, be withdrawn at this time. We believe there are serious concerns about the process used to determine its sale, and that other viable alternatives were not satisfactorily explored or presented to parishioners. Also, we believe the sale of St. Vincent’s Catholic Church will further divide and diminish All Saints Parish for years to come. For more information visit SavingOurParish.com or the Saving All Saint’s Parish Facebook page.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Your input needed

Based on what you know right now, and assuming you had been included in the process, what suggestions might you have offered to the problems facing our parish? No snark here, please!

How could we bring more income to the parish? There used to be annual and even weekly fundraisers that brought needed income to the parish. Would you bring those back, or look for new sources of funding?

As a parish, how should we go about bringing in the many Catholics who don't attend mass? or those who have left out of hurt and frustration?

If you knew of the considerable maintenance and repair issues for our churches, what would you have done to solve the problems?

How could we, as a parish, better support All Saints Academy?

We could/should do ___________________ about __________________.

Gather your thoughts and be ready to share at the September 12 meeting.