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.


  1. Very nice job, ladies. Nothing slanderous, nothing scandelous just a passionate appeal to save a beloved Church. How could anybody object to this approach? As I sat in Saint Vincent's this past weekend, I must confess that I was rather distracted. My eyes wandered from here to there, examining the beauty of this massive structure. I found little to fault with and am wondering if anybody can tell me exactly what the facility needs of the building are. What needs immediate attention? And at what expense? Has leadership received multiple quotes/bids? Has leadership publically stated the areas that need to be addressed and solicited VOLUNTEER help from within the parish and community? There is no need to destroy this structure- I believe that there are many capable hands willing to restore and repair.

  2. Agree- wonderful media coverage. So many are just learning of the proposed sale. This news is a double whammy- bad enough to sell the property, worse yet to demolish it. Dan, posted aboove, makes a good point. I would like to see an itemized list of all repairs that are necessary. Saint Mary's is visibly in much worse condition, offers poor accessability to seniors. I don't want to see campus either go, but think that the Saint Vincent's campus is much more practical to preserve. I have heard that one of the reasons opted to save Saint Mary's is because of the close proximity to ASA but what if ASA closes as many believe is inevitable. (Hope not but unless enrollment turns around soon, things look unfavorable) Let's keep fighting for both Churches and ASA. I commmend all of you for your efforts to bring this matter before the public eye.

  3. To above. Have you attended a small group meeting? I did last night and believe most of your questions regarding facilities repairs and improvements were specifically addressed. This is not to say there are not additional questions of merit.

  4. I would like to add to my post above. I think that in good faith (no pun intended) a fair prerequisite to a full understanding of the issues is attendance at a small group meeting. It's clear our well meaning brothers and sisters in the parish have given more than generously of their time and talents to pour through mounds of data to analyze every scenario they could imagine. I cannot speak to all their deliberations but certainly posed my own questions last night. I think we all owe them, and ourselves, a fair consideration of what they have come up with. What shakes out from their I assume will be fair for additional discussion.

  5. Bill, is it possible that the later roll out meetings include more information than the earlier ones?

    Perhaps leadership is realizing that parishioners should be engaged in these issues right from the start.

  6. I am hoping that both the churches and school can remain open. As a graduate of the Corning Catholic School myself, I would hate to see that close, but faced with the option of closing yet another church I would rather see the school close than the church. What is going on with IH? Is that already sold? I do not believe that one church could support the catholics in this city if we were ever to get new leadership and people came back. It would be so sad to have nothing to come back to . Where will the money come from to add on to St Mary's? $350,000 from the sale of St Vincent's won't go very far. I don't really understand how it has come to this without any discussion before now.

  7. To Bill- I will be attending a facilities meeting in the near future and look forward to getting answers to the above questions. After your meeting, do you feel more or less comfortable with the future plans?

  8. 1.Will the presentation be available during the Sunday meeting?

    2.Nice to see the media contacted the DOR and received a comment from a spokesperson. That should reaise a red flag in the DOR office that there is opposition in ASP to this proposal.

  9. To anonymous- We believe IHM has been sold to a church community from Gang Mills. Of course, we have not received official word that there is even an offer on the table. Wouldn't you think this information would be shared with the parish? Wouldn't you think we would be informed on the progress of any negotiations? No, again and again, we hear rumors, get accused of spreading rumors and then find out that the rumors were true. So, to answer your question, runor has it that IHM has an offer that is going to be accepted. But this is just a rumor...

  10. Also, I believe that the proceeds from the sales of Saint Patricks, Saint Vincent's and IHM are all restricted for capital improvement and would fund the mega-church at Saint Mary's. So, essentially, we are talking about the potential for a 1 million dollar expansion/renovation to Saint Mary's. Help me understand the logic- we close Churches because we don't need the space and then we add on to a Church to make more space. Guess I'm just frustrated.

  11. Dear Anonymous of 2:19 PM

    If you are asking if the facilities (Power Point) Presentation that is viewed at the Church's small group communications sessions will be available at the Large Group Meeting Sunday, Sept 12 at the Library? I believe the answer to that would be "no." Although, Dale W. who was my moderator said it would "soon" be available on the Parish Website, I have yet to find it there.

    Dear Bill,

    I agree that all of the groups in the parish did a great deal of work over the past 3 years analyzing information, and I appreciate all that they have done. I am still amazed that the entire parish wasn't given an opportunity to "vote." I echo what Dan said above "I believe that there are many capable hands willing to restore and repair."

    Lastly, (not addressed to anyone in particular) why do we (the parish) have to accept the offer from Providence Housing? Shouldn't you first ask the people that fill those pews (i.e. almost like residents) each Saturday and Sunday and see if they can offer any alternatives?

  12. Dear Mary,

    I think we'd all love the Catholic church to be a democracy at times, but we know it's not. Truth is, the Bishop runs our parish. He never allows a vote.

    I think you'd agree that if we all voted today, because of our emotional attachment to our churches, we'd all vote to keep SVC. The reality check on that is the difference between our parishes income and expenses. We are in debt, and have been for many years. The only way we've kept going is by using Bequest money that should never have been used for regular operating expenses. Anyway, that's a point that's in the past. Fact is, there is no more Bequest money, and we are staring at bankruptcy unless we take action. The numbers are what they are, as much we would want otherwise. I was told yesterday that Sister Joan, who I understand drove more than a few people out of the parish, at one point asked the Bishop to declare our parish bankrupt. It can happen, as scary as that is. I am looking forward to Sunday's meeting to see what new solutions are forthcoming. If they are there, then praise the Lord. Otherwise I think we all need to look at this as if it were our own finances. You can't spend more than you bring in. In a situation that is so emotionally complicated and heartwrenching, I think it is that simple from a financial standpoint. Let's hope for a good solution (s) on Sunday.

  13. Bill, You seem well-connected. So a church that has a million-dollar yearly budget with a deficit of $140,000 is 'staring at bankruptcy'. Really? Really?

  14. Not well connected, just listening as best I can. Talking to as many people as I can to try to understand and to come up with a judgement that makes sense to me.

    To me the correct equation is income minus expenses. Add in that there is no reserve. If you cannot pay your bills, you are effectively bankrupt. Is it more complicated than that?

  15. Yes, Bill, some people see the donut, some people see the hole. We prefer to see the donut. This is a church with 2,500 Catholic families. The idea that we cannot make up a deficit of 140,000 a year with the resources those families have, is ludicrous. And dare I say, having no faith? Churches have to be more than just business. Jesus said, "My Father's house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."

    Money-changers. Leadership is selling God's house for filthy lucre. I have more faith in the generosity of this community and God's favor on this parish than you do. You look at the bottom line financially, same as leadership. Of course we have to keep the lights on, but poor stewardship and a lack of focus on true gospel evangelizing, is what got us into this situation today.

  16. Anonymous,

    Would you be willing to say that a certain amount of laxity on the part of parishioners got us in this situation, too?

  17. Bill- How can we be assured that the irresponsible mismanagement of our funds will not continue? I did not know until I attended a facilities meeting that we were using bequest funds to pay for musicians, costly rectory renovations, sound systems, air conditioners, and many other LUXURIES that leadership deemed necessary. For the past 4 years, we have witnessed little sacrifice and much extravagence.

  18. Teresa of Avila- Laxity, perhaps. But the greater cause is the lack of trust and the lack of confidence. I remember when Father Wainwright was here. We knew when he asked for money that we truly needed it and parishioners whipped out their check books. Trust is the key.

  19. Leadership, Leadership, Leadership.

    New Lights and Sound Systems - why?
    New Video Equipment - why?
    New Musical Instruments - why?
    New Vestments - why?
    New Paid Musicians - why?
    No Money - why?

    St. Patrick's Complex Sold - why?
    To Gain Money? - Where is it?

    Budgeted Income Short - why?
    Expecting $100,000 From Bequests - why?
    Counting On People Dying AND Leaving Large Sums Of Money To Our Parish - why?
    Expecting Trends To Be Guarantees - why?
    Finance Council Going Along With This Style Of Budgeting - why?

    One Parish - One Church - why?
    If Father Wainwright/Hogan/Spilly/Davis/Brennan Had Said To Do This - "YES" - why?

    Mistakes Made - why?
    No Humbleness About Them - why?
    No Explanations - why?
    No Transparency - why?

    Claiming Corning for Christ - why?
    True Evangelization - really?
    Lack Of Christian Behavior From Staff - why?

    Just Ignorant Parishioners Who Want To Stay Stuck In The Past - really?
    Opposition To The Self-Proclaimed Prophet - really?
    Parishioners Going To ABC And Elmira - why?
    Parishioners Staying But Pulling Away From Ministries And Contributions - why?

    Parishioners Spreading Rumors - really?
    No Statements Explaining The "Truth" - why?
    Pushing Things Off To Later Dates - why?
    Stalling To Get Things Passed Before Parishioners Realize It - maybe?

    Father Spilly, Father Conboy, Sister Joan "Consultation And Consensus" - why?
    Now - My Way Or No Way - why?
    Small Groups - Not The Parish As A Whole - why?

    Things HAVE Changed - why?

    Leadership. Leadership. Leadership.

  20. Oh my, talk about something to ponder. Most of us know "why?". The question that begs to be answered is "How much longer?"

  21. Bill, Thank you for your response and, I can see where you are coming from - financially speaking. BUT...(here goes)the whole "vote" comment I made was some what of a metaphor (although if the "Good Shepherd" of our Diocese knows his sheep he will hear our voice -- and know it).

    This Sunday's Gospel speaks on three parables. The one I'll focus on here is that of "The Lost Sheep." Our parish is losing sheep by the (dare I say) hundred...AND NO ONE IS GOING TO LOOK FOR THEM. No one that is in this parish. Many, I hope, are found locally at the ABC and Elmira parishes. Some sadly are just gone...perhaps to other denomination or so fed up with being left out that they are not practicing.

    Bill, I have a brother that is a dairy farmer. Nobody knows debt and hard times like today's small dairy farmer. If someone were to come up to him and offer to buy just 1/2 of his milking herd, should he take the offer? Say it was a great price and they could really use the money to catch up on bills, save a little for the holidays. If he takes it, he knows that his income over the next 9-12 months (roughly the time it takes to get a cow ready to milk) will drop dramatically. So, as tempting as it would be to break even or even get ahead, it would be a poor business choice to sell, at least when you think long term. (PLEASE no one read to much into this analogy!)

    Finally, if cash flow were such an issue, why wasn't there a Facilities Committee AND a Fundraising Committee? Read the bulletin regularly and you can see that we usually use more than we collect. The church makes pleas for increased offering. They speak on tithing. And yet nothing else is considered? I really believe there is so much more to be considered.

  22. SOME GOOD NEWS!!!! Alene has been offered a wonderful, full-time position at Arnot Ogden. Thank's be to our gracious God, who will not be outdone in His generosity. What an exciting opportunity for her. She deserves this and so much more. Be happy Alene- we know you will be successful!

  23. anonymous from 8:51 PM....I love it!! You stated it all in a nutshell. I believe no matter what we do to save our parish, there MUST be a change in the leadership

  24. So happy to hear about Alene. I have been praying for both her and Eleanor since June. I still am grieving over the loss of both of them. Things will never be the same without their joyful hearts and ministries.

  25. Everything comes back to the leader-ship. Until we see a change, the ship will continue to sink. To those who think things will become better with one church, you may be mistaken. Sadly, you may lose most of the Saint Vincent's parishioners to neighboring parishes and then what? No money to sustain and maintain the big church on the hill. The solution is quite simple. The healing won't begin until there is a fresh start.

  26. I have a question for everyone out there. Are we as a parish community ready to step up and do what is necessary to dig deep in our pockets, give more of our time, and give more of our talents? The reason I ask is because over the years as a RCIA core team member I found it extremely hard to get people from our parish community to pass out 7-10 bibles to our RCIA students. Time after time I would ask people " would you mind giving a bible to one of our students during mass? You will know when it's time and you won't have to say anything. Just walk up and hand it to them and go back to your pew." No thank you, no thank you, no thank you...WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER IF OUR PARISH IS TO SURVIVE!!!! NO MORE "NO THANK YOU'S!" Part of this is our fault and now is the time to get a fresh start and be a family. God Bless All Saints Parish!!!!

  27. Amy James, finally a voice of reason. Let’s all stop the blogging and fighting amongst ourselves and get out and help our parish survive! Be part of the solution not part of the problem!

  28. Our faith is based on the Paschal Mystery - Life, Death and then Resurrection.
    There are times that things must die in order to be raised to new and better life. Under current leadership, is it possible that we may have to let our parish die in order to be raised up to new and better life?
    Is this the only way to get the attention of the Diocese?
    There will be a connection to only one of four Church buildings. There are very few (if any?) staff left that are truly concerned about us and our spiritual and temporal needs.
    Peter told the Lord to stop talking about going to Jerusalem and dying. The Lord told him he was a deceiver to to get behind him. Death was necessary to bring new life.
    Is it worth all the effort to save what is considering the shape it is in under the current leadership?
    Do we trust the Lord enough that if we let this die He will raise it up?

  29. The argument that the sale price of 350K is too low is more emotion than reality. Unfortunately, the best use of the church is a church. The leadership of the parish (and diocese) want to divest their property. The diocesan comment in today's leader did support the notion that Dean is getting direction from the diocese to "rightsize" which means "downsize". A very disturbing "strategy" from our diocese. They are actually saying that they cannot support a plan to increase parishioners. If the population is decreasing then go find those un-churched in your areas and convert them. This starts with good programs (Youth Ministry/RCIA/Family Programs/Children's many parents come back to church through their kids). This parish, through poor leadership, has decimated the programs that facilitate new membership. The most troublesome part of all of this for me is the fact that Dean is just a microcosm of our Diocese. Poor Leadership, breeds Poor we wonder why the Diocese is ranked almost last in the country?

  30. The decline in attendance at mass has been occuring for much longer (+10 years) than Deacon Dean has been at ASP, try not to pin everything on him!

  31. The largest decline in attendance and contributions has occured in the last 4 years.

  32. This whole of idea of letting the churches go in order to have some type of miraculous resurrection later on is just not being born out in areas that have been clustered and then reduced to one church.

    Our parish community in particular is not fully indicative of 'what is happening in the northeast'. Our population is stable. Our masses are generally well attended. This is not a parish where there are 14 elderly women attending a cathedral-sized church.

    You don't euthanize a person with a bad cold. You treat him and cure him before pneumonia sets in.

    The treatment that has been prescribed for our parish community is the wrong medicine. We need the patient files opened wide and a consultation to see how we can all get invested in a healing instead of a funeral.

  33. In terms of physical illness, yes, we treat the person do that death does not occur. However, spiritually speaking, death is not the end. I am not saying just let St. Vincent's go and IHM go and then attend at St. Mary's. Let THE ENTIRE PARISH GO! Attend elsewhere. Minster elsewhere. This parish cannot survive on 500 registered households. So when All Saints cannot function anymore - what will the Diocese do? They can control buildings. They can control pastors/administrators. They cannot control you or your faith!
    Didn't the Lord say "Do not fear those who can kill you. Fear those who can take your soul."
    If the current leadership drives away 75% of the parish, can they/will they keep that leadership here?
    Could (and I say it without certainty) COULD the Lord be saying it must die to rise to new life?

  34. I have considered your thoughts, 9:15pm. There is some merit to what you are saying. The Parish is dying as we speak. Dying physically. Dying spiritually. Dying financially. We are being purged. And it hurts. But I'm OK with this because there is a new life. I can feel it. Waiting. Waiting. We will get our resurrection.