Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Redistribution of Churches

Readers may be interested in an article we just published over at It contains a great deal of information gathered and put together over many weeks. Please take the time to read it, if only to be informed. Whatever is admirable about it is through the talent of Susan. Whatever is not can be laid at my feet.

Where Have All the Catholic Churches Gone?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upcoming film on Bishop Sheen

Have you heard about the Sheen film yet? It's going to be shown at the Palace Theatre on March 15. Doors open at 6:30 and the film starts at 7 p.m. It's free!

The film details the life of Bishop Fulton Sheen and the ongoing effort to work for an ultimate canonization.

You can access more information here and print out the poster with additional contact information.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thirty Pieces of Silver

When you tear down a Catholic church, you limit the good works that could be done in that neighborhood. You spiritually starve a neighborhood when you take away those institutions that are a visible symbol of God’s presence in a community.

When you trash the blood, sweat and tears of previous generations who built that church – who loved their community enough to provide an oasis of hope and help in their small corner of the world—you limit what the present and future children and grandchildren of that first generation can do in that neighborhood.

When you say a neighborhood Catholic church isn’t needed, you diminish the impact of a sacramental people on those who live near and/or attend that church. You belittle the dignity of those who cannot easily attend church elsewhere, who have supported that church in good times and bad. You belittle the unique character of that neighborhood church and the community family that was formed by that church’s presence. You limit the positive interactions between the church community and the neighborhood.

When you put ‘social justice’ ahead of the salvific nature of a Catholic church, you practically proclaim man to be a soulless animal, for you have plainly chosen the comfort of the body over eternal salvation. The destruction of an active Catholic church in order to build low-cost housing is the triumph of a secular political philosophy over the transcendent truth of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

When you say that present troubles justify destroying God’s house, you deny God’s people the opportunity to come together and rise above the troubles. What did Peter say? "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." (Acts 3:6)

A note from Tom

You know I was beginning to think that writing and voicing my concerns did not matter, but I visited home this weekend (it is important to note it was the weekend of 12-13 February) and I received some of the feel for when things were good and we were a Parish Family. Several people told me they agreed with what I had been saying and writing and that St. Vincent’s was too important to lose.

We talked in church and it was a very cordial and welcoming environment, which I had missed in the last visits. It seemed like the old days a bit. The Priest was warm and inviting and the surroundings were friendly and beautiful. There was a sharing and a common interest. People are still feeling the fight is hopeless, but they are expressing their love and appreciation for St. Vincent’s and all that it means to us.

They also expressed our common disbelief that this was happening and that those who have been entrusted with the care of our parish family were allowing us to lose such a beautiful church. Why have they allowed this to happen, clearly they know a church like St. Vincent’s in today’s world can never be rebuilt of replaced.

We have all grown older and grayer, but we all love our church and know that losing it is wrong and unjustifiable, no matter who puts his seal of endorsement on it. We must all Voice our opinion, our dissatisfaction and our love for this church, even if that is all we say. It is plenty. Write the diocese. If it is truly hopeless, let’s all go down together fighting for what we know is right and the church we all love.

I come home and look at all this simple beautiful building says to me without saying a word. The beautiful altar, with the statues of Jesus on the cross, Our Lady looking lovingly at us, the Sacred Heart, with hands open to embrace all, St. Vincent meeting us at the door and watching out for the little ones, St. Ann, showing Mary our church and how lovely it is. These and the other statues are life like and beautiful.

We look to the stained glass windows; does anyone know the 4 gospel writers, they are right there. We then see the pictures and stories from the new and old testament. The stations of the cross in all their beauty. We sit in our special spots, where we have chosen to sit surrounded by all this beauty and ignore for a minute someone wants to take it all from us. The education of our childhood is all around us. We have learned to love our faith here. We have learned what our faith is here. It is more than just a building. It must be saved. It is part of us and what made us who we are.

You are good people and you practice your faith at a wonderful place. I miss you and wish I could be there beside you admiring this wonderful church every week and hearing what God is saying to me without speaking a word.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Providence Housing is 'drafting concepts' for St. Vincent's

Cleansing Fire has posted about Providence Housing Development Corporation's possible plans for our beautiful church. The Catholic Courier published an article today about it.

There is a little bit of good news here. First, although PHDC has "entered into purchase offers" for St. Vincent's (and another parish church, Holy Rosary), to our knowledge there has not been an announcement from Bishop Clark of formal acceptance of the recommendation to sell our church.

Second, PHDC did not apply for affordable housing funding for redeveloping St. Vincent's by the February deadline.

The Courier quotes a letter to parishioners dated Oct. 30, 2010 that said, ""(The sale) will substantially reduce expenses, move the parish towards one quality worship site, and strengthen the Catholic community in our area," stated an Oct. 30 letter to parishioners from parish leaders. "It is one big step toward averting financial collapse.""

The best way to "substantially reduce expenses" is to cut staff. As most readers know, about two-thirds of collections go to paying salaries and benefits in our parish. St. Vincent's is in good shape, even though leadership has deferred maintenance for years on all church properties. Our parish has no debt. We run a deficit budget only because leadership chooses to do so.

The needed repairs and maintenance at St. Mary's hardly recommend it as a "quality worship site" at this point in time. It is in fact, the one church of the three remaining that needs extensive and expensive repairs--especially in contrast to the others.

And once again, to suggest that selling our church is "one big step toward averting financial collapse" is frankly, ludicrous. Since, as all concerned admit, it will take years for the sale to be completed, 'averting financial collapse' cannot be the major factor in selling St. Vincent's. As mentioned above, cutting staff is one way to quickly cut costs.

Also, as has been stated, the only parish property that currently brings income (other than collections) to the parish is St. Vincent's (which collects about $20,000 a year in rents from the convent).

If only parish leadership would make a good faith effort to fund raise, to balance the budget, and to plan a capital campaign for upcoming needed improvements! Again, fundraising income in our parish has dropped from 6% to 1% in the last few years.

One more thing. PHDC is still in the "process of drafting concepts for the Corning site, and details of how buildings would be used have not been finalized." Didn't the sale offer say that the property would be redeveloped for senior--and only senior--housing? Perhaps they are meaning just exactly how each building would be used. Or not used. Remember, the first offer was not for the church, but for the school and convent.

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul was an extraordinary man. I just finished up a short biography of the saint and I was humbled and amazed at the things he accomplished for God's glory and man's benefit. Also watched a foreign film Monsieur Vincent (which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1948). It's a wonderful film -- not up to today's standards of cinematography but straightforward and filled with the good deeds of Vincent de Paul. If anyone wants to borrow either the film or biography, let me know. You won't be able to attend our lovely parish church without thinking of St. Vincent de Paul's love for children, the poor, and the vocation of the priesthood.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Good News

Christianity's demise has been exaggerated.

Christian Number-Crunching

"The love out here...."

Remember the faces of those lovely young (and not so young) people who made the pilgrimage down to the March for Life? Well, prayer and peaceful demonstrations work. Read about it here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Odds and ends

While we're working on some things, thought you might be interested to know about some aids for getting comfortable with the new missal translation. Read here about it. Here's Magnificat's site about the cards.

And just for fun here's J-Mac. Just watch.

And that's not all. The Catholic Courier's own Mike Latona has co-authored a book about J-Mac. (H/t  Ten Reasons.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


World Youth Day approaches. Here's the official site. It would be the experience of a lifetime. And just in case: planning a tour. And here you may win a free trip to WYD. One more thing, have you heard about YouCat? It's coming soon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pray for vocations

Cleansing Fire links to an article at Catholic World Report that featured the DOR's problems with vocations. It is a sobering read.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The St. Michael Prayer

The history of the prayer to St. Michael is fascinating. You can read about it here. Below is a video of the longer prayer, the original one. It is well worth watching/reading. In Hebrew the name Michael means "Who is like God?" and was the war cry of the angels in heaven against the devil and his minions. While the prayer, which was said after mass, was suppressed during the Vatican II era, both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to continue to pray it. And Pope Leo XIII also composed a St. Michael exorcism prayer that can be used by the faithful in their own name. Also, there is a St. Michael Prayer Campaign by Human Life International that prays for the conversion of abortionists. There are numerous apostolates and organizations in the name of St. Michael.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The New Generation of Prolife Activists

Go here for some great photos of the FBI group in DC for the March for Life. Aren't they gorgeous? God bless these young people for taking a public stand for the unborn.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Closer to the Heart

Okay, so when I think of those who have charge of us I think of this song from the group Rush:

The lyrics:

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart

A boy and his Papa!

Some things are so absolutely precious. Watch and be uplifted.