A couple parishioners have shared that on Sunday Deacon Dean mentioned Providence Housing Development Corporation's offer to purchase St. Vincent's had been a complete surprise, and that the withdrawal of the offer should close the issue.
So let's traffic in some facts. In September or October of 2010, a parishioner contacted the director of PHDC, who revealed that it was either the Diocese or our parish who contacted Providence Housing about purchasing the St. Vincent church property. In either case, it was not a surprise to leadership. The councils and committees may have been surprised, but parish staff was not since it was initiated by them or the diocese. And certainly the diocese would've been in contact with leadership to discuss a possible sale of one of its active churches.
Two, since the offer was withdrawn, there has been no public mention of the status of St. Vincent's, other than to say that an announcement would be made in the fall. In fact, as far as we know, there have not been any repairs or improvements to either St. Vincent's or Immaculate Heart of Mary, which remains for sale.
The way to rebuild trust and to help parishioners 'get over' what happened, would be to begin an open and honest two-way dialog with the parish as a whole. Ways this could be accomplished would be to hold open parish council, facilities council and finance committee meetings. For those people who cannot attend meetings, the meeting minutes and financial reports should be posted online and available through the bulletin.
Leadership could publicly announce that St. Vincent's will not be closed or sold, but will be maintained and cared for; the same goes for Immaculate Heart of Mary. We may be one parish, but we've been blessed with three churches. Part of the budgeting process should include a capital improvement plan and maintenance costs.
These steps would go a long way toward restoring trust and building community.