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.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

And now on the lighter side...

To Robin and his band of merry men. An inspiration to us all!

All Saints Academy

School time has come round again. Do go to the All Saints Academy website and view their video. I dare you to have a dry eye after watching it and seeing those children. Prayers going up now for the students and staff to have a great year.