Monday, April 18, 2011

Churches....a reminder

The notion that churches must be closed because there is a shortage of priests is senseless. In order to justify it, one must assume the priest shortage will stretch into the future indefinitely. Not only your children, but your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will suffer it. It is a permanent condition.

Really? Do you really believe that?

Second, how do dioceses around the world handle priest shortages? Well, they usually move the one (priest) around to the different churches. They don't destroy buildings and make hundreds travel. Simple logistics.

Third, our churches house the tabernacle. Our Lord dwells there, bodily. They are holy places and we don't destroy them just because we might not be able to have a resident priest. Keeping them is a sign of hope that the future will be brighter for our children and grandchildren. It speaks to the continuity of Faith in a foundational way.

Fourth, closing churches destroys a sense of community. It tears at the spiritual and social fabric of a neighborhood. It separates a people from their heritage. Churches are a reminder of heaven here on earth.


  1. SOP or FOSV,

    Maybe I'm not entirely informed, but I don't get it. You are still going to have a church at St. Mary's which is very close by.

    It does not make sense to maintain so many expensive old buildings when there are so many better ways to be using the money (such as serving those in need and spreading the Gospel).

    If St. Vincent's were the only Catholic church close by in this area I would understand and agree with you, but it is not.

  2. Friend, you can read the title of this blog: Saving Our Parish. Thanks for asking so we can all be clear on that.

    I doubt anyone will want to take a stab at your assertions. They've been refuted many times on this blog.

  3. 7:34- For many of us, our "needs" are met at Church. In a building. Where Jesus lives. His house. Have you really, really contemplated that the plan is to demolish this beautiful Church? Destroy. For what reason? You will say finances, I will say greed. This Diocese is quite wealthy. Check this out for yourself. And yet, they want more. They want to destroy our Church to pad their own pockets through their collaboration with Providence Housing. Please pray about this. Do you truly believe that this is good for our community? One day, we will have fresh, new leadership and people will return. Let's have faith that God willed for this Church on Dodge Avenue and one day He will fill it.

    Also, it doesn't cost money to spread the Gospel-this price has already been paid.

  4. 7:34 obviously you are not informed, that's for sure. Did you read the article titled where have all the churches gone? Please read it and get back afterwards, I'd be very interested in your reaction.
    11:40 I pray daily for God to save St. Vincent's and pull this parish back together again, you are right we've got to have faith. I don't know how this pastoral admin and bishop can justify the detrimental affect they've had on the good, faithful people of All Saint's Parish. Seems like each week I hear why another family has left.

  5. 1:53 More parishioners have left in response to the 3rd mailing for more money. I mean, really, what part of "We will not support poor leadership" does our Pastoral Administrator fail to understand? Three letters. And the 3rd came after we are told what a success the appeal was. Was it really? Last week's collection would indicate otherwise.

  6. 4:07 Last weeks bulletin must have been a type-O. I think it should have read $18,000 not $8,000 because Deacon Dean stated that almost $3,000 more per week was pledged.

  7. Why doesn't 5:07 just call the parish office and ask if it was a typ-O. Seems that would take care of any assuming and lack of authentic information.Assumptions only fuel the flame of spreading misinformation. So, I am hoping to hear from 5:07 after the call is made.

  8. 9:36 This is 5:07. Why so defensive? I merely suggested that, perhaps, there was a misprint. It would make no sense to have a collection so low after Deacon Dean stated that $3000/week more has been pledged. I really am not losing any sleep over it, but if you are, call the parish office.

  9. This is 7:34am and I read the article. I stand by my statement above. If St. Vincent's closes, you still have a place to worship in the community less then 2 miles away.

    A church is not the building. It is the faithful inside. Look at how Paul addresses the churches in the beginning of his epistles.

    I would much rather know that my offerings were going to helping those in need and sharing the Good News then to support fancy buildings. Even if it is true that the Diocese has a lot of money, I still wouldn't want them to support expensive buildings. If the church grows (and I believe and pray it will), the leaders should still make an effort to keep operating costs at a minimum.

    "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." Acts 17:24-25

  10. 3:39, just wondering, what in the blog post do you disagree with? As a Catholic, I think points three and four in particular are very important. No one in leadership, in the parish or diocese, has addressed these points, to my knowledge. (I know that many non-Catholics disagree on this issue, and that is fine. I am assuming you are a Catholic.)

    We could close all churches and rent some hall space, I suppose. That would save money. Or we could have a church spaced every 30 or 60 miles, whatever. I believe we need sacred spaces where Jesus does dwell, bodily. We need churches in our neighborhoods, in the places where we live and work and go to school. In fact, I know of a person who moved to this area and was inspired to starting attending mass again when he saw St. Vincent's church. That one soul, yes, is a big deal.

    Attracting parishioners also means bringing in more people with talents and money to help the less fortunate. It's not an either-or situation.

  11. A church is both the building and the people. And the people that built SV, some who are still around, did it in order to have a visible representation of Christ's church in our community. How can you possibly criticize that and maintain any kind of credibility?

    Have the poor gone unserved in our community? Has the Good News not been shared?

    You talk as if our churches are monuments to pride and arrogance!

    Assuming you are a Catholic, please parse the Scripture from Acts and enlighten us as to the proper understanding of where God dwells.

    One last thing. If the leadership was truly interested in keeping operating costs at a minimum they would employ less staff and use more volunteers.

  12. Lo and Behold, what did I find in my mailbox today? Another letter from Deacon Dean begging for money. You would think if he didn't hear a response after two letters sent that he would take the hint that I am not able to send money.
    So Deacon Dean I would advise you to save your postage and give up. No More Money Available. I was in Church the first weekend he passed out envelopes, oh and don't forget he included a pencil, and asked it to be filled out and put in the basket that was passed around. I was in Church to hear Mass not to fill out pledges. Enough said, but some things and people never change. Happy Easter to all SOP.

  13. Gretchen and Susan,

    I do not think you need expensive buildings to attract wealthy, talented people. I believe that the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments. When people have faith, they will necessarily do good for others since they are covered with the holiness of Christ (Maybe this is not Catholic).

    Many wealthy people followed Jesus without Him being housed in a shiny object. A couple of examples are Mary and Martha, sisters to Lazarus. The recurring theme throughout the New Testament seems to be one of modesty (in all ways). The Holy Spirit does not need money or attractive buildings or even talented people to work faith. Look at the original 12 apostles.

    I agree with the statement that leadership should employ less staff and use more volunteers to keep costs at a minimum.

  14. Modesty, hmmmmm, I'm scratching my head now.
    9:37, were you at 7:00pm at St. Mary's? If so please explain the application of modesty there. I'm not trying to be a smart ass either I really don't understand how certain staff get away with their far from modest behavior. Am I the only one who notices it? Sometimes I feel like I am.
    The rest of the mass was beautiful though. As always, the peace of Christ is with me after Communion.
    Thank you Jesus.

  15. 9:37, I guess what is considered reasonable and what is considered expensive is a matter of opinion. No, you do not need expensive buildings to attract people. But you do need churches and vibrant parishes. The four Catholic churches in Corning were an inspiring presence for many years, constantly reminding us of what was most important as we drove along Dennison Parkway (St. Patrick's); through the village of Painted Post (IHM); lived in our neighborhoods on the Northside (St. Vincent's) and Southside (St. Mary's).

    In addition, every time a church is closed, no matter the community, people are lost. Souls suffer. Some people say these people put too much emphasis on a church or a congregation, that their faith isn't strong enough etc. I say that it's wonderful that they bonded with a parish and found a spiritual home. And show me a person whose faith hasn't faltered, and I'll show you a person who hasn't lived very long. These are our brothers and sisters. I wish that even ONE letter was sent from our leadership to the "missing" parishioners, instead of four letters for fundraising.

  16. 9:37, thank you for agreeing that we need less staff and more volunteers.

    As a former Protestant (and grateful for my background), I am very familiar with the current Evangelical de-emphasis of the Eucharist, sacred buildings, and so on. I can say with certainty that there are serious issues that arise from that perspective, such as a lack of ongoing conversion and sanctification, a dependency on people for bolstering the faith as opposed to developing a real relationship with God through the sacraments, and a collective amnesia regarding the history of the Christian faith. At its worst, it is nothing more than a rock concert adrenalin rush that wears off the next day.

    No buildings, no symbols, no sacredness, no sacramentals, and the world will fill the void and leave us vulnerable to Satan and secularism.

  17. Gretchen,

    I agree with your statement of 7:23am. I never said anything about de-emphasis of the Eucharist or sacraments, just expensive buildings and operating costs. The Word and Sacraments, and respectful and reverent worship are very important. The casual approach that most protestant churches have adopted in regards to the Word and Sacraments is one reason I am not attending a Protestant church.


    I also understand and respect your position. Leadership should be making every effort to keep the faithful from getting displaced or lost when it is necessary to close churches. To my knowledge, they are not doing this. They should be trying hard to incorporate these people into St. Mary's.

  18. 11:29, I was at the mass as a Protestant, and I do agree with the over the top rendition of the "Gloria" and the lack of humility in the homily, but at the same time I was captivated by the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. When I woke up the next morning it was this that was in my thoughts, not the former. As with most things in life it is easy to focus on the negative, but I say to everyone who is Catholic, embrace your tradition, be patient and trust in God.

  19. We attended another Holy Thursday mass. What happened at Saint Mary's? Who gave the homily and how did it lack humility? Also, how was the Gloria over-the-top?

  20. Buildings and operating costs are quite manageable when good stewardship is in place, with an understanding of the importance of sacred buildings and the will to provide for them in the budget.

    Why does no one answer this question: If these churches were deemed important enough to build, why have they become unimportant to maintain--even to the end of destroying them? Money is not the issue--at issue is how the money we have is spent. And that is where many parishioners part with leadership.

    I believe that the lack of reverence for the Eucharist and the sacraments in general is partially the outcome of having a utilitarian mindset that church buildings are unimportant--that indeed, because God is a Spirit, the material should no longer be important to enlightened people of faith. This translates eventually to the belief that the Eucharist was meant as a memorial and so on down the line of dissenting beliefs in Church history.

    Taken to its logical extreme this perspective falls squarely in the heresy of Gnosticism. If God came down and became a Man, and worshipped in the temple (as well as gathered in neighborhood synagogues) his whole earthly life, then I hope to humbly follow His example and worship at my neighborhood church, built with love for those living closeby.

    The heavenly Jerusalem still awaits.

  21. 10:31 -- thank you for your perspective and loving comments. I meant to comment earlier.

  22. What happened at the Holy Thursday mass?