Archdiocese Closes Boston church, Ends Vigil After 7 Years

The Boston Archdiocese is in the news for ending a seven-year vigil at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in East Boston  The archdiocese apparently changed the locks on the building.

Here is a link to one of the articles:

Parishioners fuming over lockout from Eastie church (Boston Herald)

After holding vigil inside their closed church for the past seven years, about 30 angry parishioners protested outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston yesterday — one day after they discovered the Archdiocese of Boston apparently changed the locks to the building.

“We thought it was vandalism,” said Steve Ashcraft, pointing out a broken key jammed in the front door’s key hole, adding that a side door was glued shut…. “We were put on notice that if we go into the church we’d be arrested.”

A group of about 70 people regularly attended services at the church since the archdiocese closed it about seven years ago. The archdiocese allowed them use of the building even though it was officially closed — until now.

 “It’s like losing a part of your body,” said Phyllis LaPlaca, 75. “It’s close to your heart.”…

The archdiocese released a statement yesterday through spokeswoman Kellyanne Dignan, who refused to elaborate on what the organization intends to do with the property, which includes a rectory and convent.

“For the better part of seven years, we have permitted the vigil while the petitioners pursued various appeals,” the statement said. “The time for this vigil to end has come.”

Ashcraft said the protesters, who lost a recent church ruling, have 60 days to appeal to the Vatican supreme court.

Meanwhile, in Scituate at St. Frances Cabrini, the 24 x 7 vigil continues:

SCITUATE – On Day 2,731 of the unbroken vigil at St. Frances X. Cabrini, parishioners vowed to continue their occupation of the shuttered church, despite a move this week by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that shut down a protest vigil in East Boston.

“We’re optimistic; we’re prayerful; we’re still here 24-seven,’’ said Maryellen Rogers, a leader of the St. Frances vigil, which has maintained at least one person at the church around the clock since it closed in 2004.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley moved last year to deconsecrate the church and several others, so the buildings can be marketed and sold. Parishioners have appealed that decision to Vatican courts….

“The vigil at Mount Carmel is over, and it was the longest-running vigil,’’ said Peter Borre, head of the Council of Parishes, a group that fights church closings.

But Borre said Mount Carmel parishioners will appeal to the Vatican’s highest court to stop the church from being sold…

The Archdiocese has told parishioners at Mount Carmel that they can contact the property manager to retrieve any personal items left in the church, but they will not be permitted to hold services there anymore, said Kellyanne Dignan, an archdiocesan spokeswoman.

“We understand that those who have opposed the closing of Our Lady of Mount Carmel desired a different outcome,’’ the archdiocese said in a statement. “For the better part of seven years we have permitted the vigil while the petitioners pursued various appeals. The time for this vigil to end has come. We pray that they will choose to join an open and welcoming parish to experience the fullness of their faith through parish life.’’

The notion that the archdiocese could lock them out is one reason that the protesters at St. Frances X. Cabrini never leave the church empty.

On Friday, parishioner Pat McCarthy kept vigil on the afternoon shift, camped out in an easy chair in the church vestibule. She could not get the DVD player to work, and an unwatched episode of the television series Downton Abbey was on the table, near a half-made jigsaw puzzle….

The St. Frances protesters are still waiting for a decision on a Vatican appeal, they say, and could fight on to a higher canonical court even if they lose.

BCI knows that the matter of church closings and vigils is wrought with controversy.  BCI hates to see even a single church close. Parishioners are fully justified in opposing the closing of their church and appealing to the Vatican through every channel available.  The recent appeals in the Diocese of Cleveland were successful and resulted in the reopening of 12 parishes previously ordered closed.  If you read the decrees from the Vatican, it is clear why the Congregation for the Clergy reversed the closing decisions and ordered the parishes reopened.

That said, while the appeals are underway, BCI is not a supporter of people occupying churches in vigils. The occupancies have cost the archdiocese millions of dollars because in many cases, the buildings have been maintained to residential standards. BCI on a number of occasions has suggested that the archdiocese simply change the locks on the doors and not let people enter the church buildings. The appeals should still run their canonical course–just without people living in the empty church buildings. So, in the specific case of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, BCI is not criticizing the archdiocese–we believe it was the right move to change the locks. While appeals continue, BCI thinks it would be better for the spiritual life of the former parishioners to move on to a welcoming parish where they can receive the sacraments and participate in the spiritual life of that parish.  What do you think?

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46 Responses to Archdiocese Closes Boston church, Ends Vigil After 7 Years

  1. YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

    “BCI thinks it would be better for the spiritual life of the former parishioners to move on to a welcoming parish where they can receive the sacraments and participate in the spiritual life of that parish. ”

    I strongly disagree. Once closure is ordered and locks have been changed, over half the parishioners never resurface in any parish count. In other words, you loose most people in fact. It will be most interesting to observe the resurrection of the Cleveland Diocese’s parishes now that they have been ordered reopened by the Congregation for the Clergy. If you listened carefully to Bishop Lennon’s official statement, he admonishes those parishes that the Archdiocese will be carefully watching and counting numbers now and the process of closure may be just on the horizon. This time he will try to get it right.

    It is an incredible blow to any parish just to have Closure announced from the pulpit, let alone have the locks changed. Many people just do not come back after the announcement. They perceive any objection as disrespect to the Cardinal and they are explicitely told that by representatives of the Cardinal. Further, they are never told of the Rights of Parishioners to appeal and that the window to do so is 10 days with no excuses for failure to exercise that right. I suspect many parishes would not survive like Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

    The “national” parishes are very different. For the most part, overwhelmingly, immigrants built those churches with virtually no help from the archdiocese. These were poor people who saved and sacrificed. When the Archdiocese was in a position back then to order “welcoming” parishes already established to open their doors to the immigrants, it stood idly by and worse, sanctioned the wholesale shunning of the different ethnic groups. The same thing happened in East Cambridge, with the Italian immigrants literally thrown out of the established church and told to walk to the North End, to their “own” church. And so, these Italians, like those in East Boston, saved and sacrificed and bought a church, now St. Francis of Assisi, also ordered closed, and built a school and rectory and convent, with ho help from the Archdiocese. Note also, both Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Francis of Assisi were manned by Franciscans, OFM of the Immaculate Conception, so never even “bothered” the Archdiocese for a priest. Further, these Franciscans never received a pension through the Archdiocese.

    Now 100 years later, the Archdiocese wants to pay off its debts and pay the 6-figure salaries of the Braintree gang off the backs of immigrants and their descendants whom they never helped at all.

    Really informative article and video clips of Our Lady of Mount Carmel:

    http://www.bostoniano.info/2012/04/20/after-7-years-new-chapter-in-fight-over-our-lady-of-mt-carmel-in-east-boston/

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING,

      Thank you for your comment.We agree with most of what you said. The question is, what to do?

      Just to clarify what we wrote previously, BCI is very disturbed to see any parishes close. In late 2011, we rather vocally criticized the mismanagement of the situation in East Cambridge with St. Francis of Assisi in multiple posts:

      http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/cambridge-church-closing-calamity/

      http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/st-francis-of-assisi-parish-closing-response-from-fr-carriero/

      http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/st-francis-of-assisi-closing-confusion/

      We share your concern that when a parish closes, a lot of the parishioners never resurface in any parish count. And we share frustration about how immigrants built many churches targeted for closing (or that have closed already) with virtually no help from the archdiocese. and now the archdiocese is closing them. We agree parishioners should appeal closings if they feel the decision is a flawed one.

      But what should they do while an appeal is underway to still receive the sacraments? When all appeals are exhausted, what should parishioners do? At what point do you believe it is better for the spiritual life of the former parishioners to move on to a welcoming parish so they can receive the sacraments and participate in the spiritual life of a parish?

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        I acknowledge that BCI was the sole sympathetic voice in the media to cover the closure of st. Francis of Assisi and we are most grateful for the coverage. BCI was in a very lonely position at that time.

        Indeed, the question becomes what to do. I don’t get the impression that those of Mount Carmel have neglected the sacraments and I know that is likewise true of those at Saint Francis of Assisi. The bigger question becomes ultimately whether the Archdiocese even cares. I doubt “they” do. They have never been sensitive to or appreciative of the great sacrifices of the immigrant groups who built their parishes or the nondiocesan Orders who have manned those churches for the past century with absolutely no support.

        To quote from someone close to the Franciscan Order:

        “We know that St. Francis faced the same moral decay that the Catholic Church faces today. From our history of this great Saint we know that Christ appeared to St. Francis in the Church of St. Damiano and said “Francis, Francis go rebuild my house which as you can see is falling down into ruin.”

        “He took it upon himself with his followers to REBUILD the church, not to close them. His mission was “to reach out to our brothers and sisters and bring them back to the fold.”(Rebuild My Church, A Franciscan Prayer).

        Rebuild My Church
        http://franciscanhackensack.tripod.com/rebuild.html

  2. jbq2 says:

    Here in St.Louis, my parents (my mother is now deceased) were married at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. It was closed quite some time ago and sold to an African-American religious community. The church is in good hands. The problem is that the name of Mt. Carmel keeps cropping up around the country in association with churches that are being shut down. There is a pattern here. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a symbol of the old church in which women were subservient to the aspirations of a patriarchal hierarchy. The new church is here with all of its glories of feminist rebellion and support from the not so patriarchal hierarchy under the direct inspiration of Uncle Joe Bernardin. Meanwhile, the links to the Middle Age wars against Islam and the inspiration of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are fading into oblivion.

  3. RadioFlyer says:

    I for one am enjoying this new Chancellor they have found. I was suspicious at first, and probably remain so a little, but I think he has done the right thing on both St. James and Mt. Carmel. The previous Chancellor was all bluster and no results. He didnt have the gumption to just change the locks and move this 7 year old decision forward.

    I am praying the Archdiocese finds new footing and begins to course correct from the last 7 years of wandering through the desert.

  4. Capt Crunch says:

    Well, the Vatican thinks the US and Boston are on a course correction. Naturally it will take time to see these results…

    http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/world-news/detail/articolo/stati-uniti-united-states-estados-unidos-14486/

    Now will this increase in vocations reverse the trend of closing parishes?

  5. Mack says:

    It’s about time that the archdiocese finally took some steps. They should do the same thing in Scituate. There are two other churches close by (St Mary’s and St Anthony’s). The people keeping vigil are evidently not going to Sunday Mass, but having a Communion service. They are not fulfilling their obligation, and for the diocese to allow it to continue is harming them spiritually. The result is that people don’t even understand what the Mass is anymore. An article in the Globe about it last year quoted some woman saying that she doesn’t even see the need for priests. They need a good catechesis on the Mass and the sacraments.

  6. Mack says:

    Besides, some of the people at the vigil are not from the area. A couple years ago when I was there visiting, a woman driving by stopped and asked where St Frances Cabrini Church is. From what she said I gathered she was taking part in the vigil.

  7. Jack O'Malley says:

    Much as I sympathise with the sentiments of these parishioners, it does seem that seven years is a long time for the collection plates of other parishes to have been supporting their “vigil”. Though whether that vigil is less worthy than the fat paycheck of Mary Grassa O’Neill is an abstruse theological conundrum that I am unqualified to discern.

    That said, there was an article in the Globe or Herald wherein an older Italian parishioner stated in either Italian or English that despite the lack of either priests or parishioners, the church ought to be kept open. Extrapolating from this is of course an exercise in ludicrousness that undermines their otherwise potentially legitimate cause

    It is not to be passed over that all of these parishes are of the novus ordo sect and that many of the younger members feel that that pseudo-liturgy is their birthright. Their delusion is much to be lamented.

    Restore the True Mass and vocations will follow, parishes will flourish again, queers will be eliminated from the clergy and the Holy Ghost will reign triumphant.

    This will not ensue under the heterodoxy of Seán O’Malley.

  8. Stephen says:

    Right on Jack.

  9. Michael says:

    and you thought I bring up MGON’s salary at irrelevant moments … that reminds me … what exactly does she get paid to do?

  10. Marie says:

    “While appeals continue, BCI thinks it would be better for the spiritual life of the former parishioners to move on to a welcoming parish where they can receive the sacraments and participate in the spiritual life of that parish. What do you think?”

    I do think that BCI is kidding.

    The Pastoral Planning concept was flawed, the fact finding flawed. The initiator(s) of the plan have lost both here and in Rome.

    Do you, BCI, not think that given this insight and knowledge, it is time to start fresh?

    The “former” present parishioners are right where they want to be and, by all right, should be. I think the occupiers and their supporters, regardless of where they are from, should stay on until the church doors are re-opened and the process for decision making legitimized.

    “Rebuild My Chuch”: re-open the doors.

    It is obvious that the Archdiocese does not communicate, but, rather, dictates. If they had taken the time to communicate with their Catholic faithful and their ever-faithful priests, they certainly would not be into Pastoral Planning II. And, it appears, once again, it will be done the Archdiocese’s way or no way.

    Realistically, regarding churches, church property, archdiocese property, it is necessary to close some and to scale some down; and, I do not think anyone is arguing that point; there is a need to let excess buildings, grounds, possessions go, but this must be accomplished with creditable data and by all involved.

    With good information one is able to execute (I do not like using that word here because a lot of what has happened has seemed like an execution) a plannned and legitimate scale back. And, as with Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum, and all other churches that suffered the same fate, you do not announce at the end of a Mass “this church is closed now; move on” when the decision is based on biased opinions and flawed information.

    From my observations, for all the so-called business heads they have accumulated in Braintree, this business is run more like the government with every “ism” in the book in play.

    I thank you for this forum and this venting place, BCI.

    Marie

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      Thank you, Marie. I absolutely agree that some property can be easily sold off while keeping parishes open. The heart of the parish is the church.

      To quote from someone close to the Franciscan Order:

      “We know that St. Francis faced the same moral decay that the Catholic Church faces today. From our history of this great Saint we know that Christ appeared to St. Francis in the Church of St. Damiano and said “Francis, Francis go rebuild my house which as you can see is falling down into ruin.”

      “He took it upon himself with his followers to REBUILD the church, not to close them. His mission was “to reach out to our brothers and sisters and bring them back to the fold.”(Rebuild My Church, A Franciscan Prayer).

      Rebuild My Church
      http://franciscanhackensack.tripod.com/rebuild.html

      • Marie says:

        I borrowed “some” from what you had written before.

        The neighborhood churches, for me, are the heart of the neighborhoods, the anchors. And, today, so very significant, important and necessary; it says for all to see that God is spoken here and Godspeak, even if aquired subliminally, may make an impression, a difference in one’s day, in one’s life. There is a crucifix at the back of Mary Star of the Sea Church and the intention when the church was built in 1956 was that the Crucifix and the image of Mary exactly below it would be lit up at night and seen from great distances. The Archdiocese has been successful in extinguishing that light, that source of Godspeak.

    • Marie, BCI is not kidding.

      It sounds like we agree that it is necessary to close some parishes and to scale some down. We agree there is a need to let excess buildings, grounds, possessions go.

      It would surprise BCI if people can receive the sacraments (Eucharist and confession), fulfill their Sunday Mass obligations every week, and participate in the full spiritual life of a parish when that parish has been closed for 7 years. We maintain our perspective that after 7 years, while appeals are still underway, it would be better for the spiritual life of the former parishioners to move on to a welcoming parish. Perhaps we need to agree to disagree on that point.

      BCI is not saying what happened in the 2004 reconfiguration process was perfect or without flaws, and we are not commenting on what happened with Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum. If you think what happened in the past or is currently happening is wrong, BCI would suggest you contact the Vicar General, Msgr. Deeley and try to schedule a meeting so you can make your case directly to him and invite his response.

      As for the current Pastoral Planning process, BCI is reporting on what is occurring–the good and the bad–and we are maintaining a neutral perspective. We agree it should be data-driven. If you have a better suggestion for what the process should be, feel free to outline in specific detail it here, or you may want to contact the Vicar General and Fr. Paul Soper to share your perspectives directly with them.

  11. John Sousa says:

    Could someone at BCI tell YOUGOTTOBEKIDDINGME that Saint Francis in Cambridge has NOT BEEN ORDERED CLOSED!!!!! It is still open with the help of DIOCESAN priests from the Archdiocese of Boston. The Franciscans ABANDONED the parish.

    In reality, Saint Francis should be closed. It only has 80 people attending the two masses on Sundays. How can you justify the money being spent to keep this parish open for 80 people. And don’t tell me about the future construction and influx of people Baloney. And the church is NOT HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE FOR THE ELDERLY!!! There are two perfectly good churches within 1/2 mile of Saint Francis – Sacred Heart of Jesus and Saint ANthony – ready and willing to receive the 80 parishioners of Saint Francis.

    The time for vigils is over. The Vatican has upheld the Archdiocese of Boston’s closure of these parishes. Cleveland is a whole different issue and the parishes have been reopened on canonical technicalities. The Archdiocese of Boston has been very careful to follow canon law.

    • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

      JohnSousa, I recall you from a few months back. You are the loyal parishioner of St. Anthony’s, the “welcoming” parish to St. Francis. The parish that will be the recipient of all the statues located at Saint Francis and its coffers. How are you?

      I simply don’t understand your interest. In the vernacular, “What’s it to you, anyway?”

      Yes, we are now “open” We have no Saturday Vigil Mass. No Italian Mass. Some days no Mass at all. Our Sunday Masses (2) have changed times to whatever the diocesan priests choose to provide. We had no Holy Thursday Service at all. We had no Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. We did not have enough Palm on Palm Sunday. Oh, yes, we only had one Mass on Palm Sunday weekend. More often than not, we have no Holy Water.

      We keep count also.

      Rebuild My Church
      http://franciscanhackensack.tripod.com/rebuild.html

      • John Sousa says:

        I am just a parishioner at Saint ANthony’s concerned with what is happening to our priests.

        You may not have a vigil mass on Saturday but Saint Anthony has one at 4:00pm in English and many of Saint Francis members are there. Who speaks Italian at Saint Francis anymore????? From what I hear, there is only one couple who would need Italian. Two masses on Sunday are more than enough for 80 people!!!!! We have almost 600-700 people each weekend at Saint ANthony’s.

        You had Stations of the Cross every Friday of lent at Noon. I went once and there was only 10-15 people. Why don’t you mention that? Holy Week services are meant to be shared by both parishes. There were numerous Saint Francis members at Holy Thursday Mass which was bilingual. There was even Saint Francis parishioners whose feet were washed. Where you there to support that evening and support the gift of priesthood.

        Also, let’s tell the truth. There WAS a full Good Friday Service at Saint Francis with the Liturgy of the Word, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion. Where you there? My friends who attend Saint Francis said there was only 35 people. The Good Friday Service is more important.

        I am not sure about the palm situation but I have a feeling there was one mass because Fr. Jim and Fr. Walter were busy at Saint ANthony’s and Fr. Darcy is a retired priest and it would be easier for him to do one MAss there.

        Holy Water????? Jeepers – do you volunteer to help?????? All you would need to do is get some water and ask the priest there to bless it and fill up the fonts.

        I have heard from my friends at Saint Francis that no one is volunteering. If Fr. Jim didn;t decorate there would have been no decorations. So, instead of complaining and making the situation worse, and scaring the older parishioners at Saint Francis I think you should help and offer your help.

        Saint Francis Parish needs you. And our priests need you. WIthout your help, and others, Saint Francis Saint ANthony and other churches will have to close due to lack of interest and help.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        John Sousa,

        I was present for Good Friday at St. Francis. Ask your Father Jim. He even mentioned to my sister that he saw me. I thought it amusing that you folks seem to be keeping score on my attendence. There were no stations of the Cross. I actually work so on an ordinary Friday, I am not free to attend. How would you even know? I attended Holy Thursday services but not at St. Anthony’s. (Actually I attended another St. Anthony’s. ) I help out as has my family for generations at St. Francis. I never question your “devotion” to your parish so I am a bit surprised that you would question mine. We asked about the Holy Water. I would have filled the vessels. There was no Holy Water, just as the Palm delivered was insufficient for the numbers attending Mass on Palm Sunday. Our parish always ran on volunteers. The only paid people were the cantor, organist and book keeper. That was it.

        I told you before. I count as do others at St. Francis . If you count, then I ask you why?? Do you see it as your personal duty to close St. Francis? I know you have a few St. Francis parishioners attending. You always did; there were always people who lived closer and attended your church.

        Your anger is palpable and I am not sure where that comes from but it certainly does not make anyone feel “welcomed.”

    • John, You have said it quite explicitly yourself! As BCI reported last year, the Franciscans pulled out, and the parishioners were told their parish would be closing at some point in the future, with no date set. That said, no formal decree has been issued as of this time that orders the parish closed, but the Mass schedule has been cut back from what it was when the Franciscans were staffing the parish. Based on the comments posted here at BCI by YOUGOTTABEKIDDING, we are fairly certain that YOUGOTTABEKIDDING knows exactly what is going on there already.

      • John Sousa says:

        BCI,

        Yes the three sunday masses were cut down to two masses for 80 people. 80 people. The priests at st anthony’s are covering their place and st francis and also one mass in peabody for the brazilian community on sunday nite. How much more do you want them to do. One masd at st francis would sufficient on sunday. The place is open. There are still weekday masses and the macaroni lunch on tuesdays and funerals and sunday mass. What happens when there is only one priest at st anthony? Then even more cuts.

        I do not know anything about scituate ir south shore closings. But the reality is there are fewer and fewer priests and fewer people going to church. Change is difficult. But necessary now in our history.

      • YOUGOTTABEKIDDING says:

        John,

        There were originally 4 weekend Masses at St. Francis and the Saturday Vigil and the Sunday 11:30 were the most well attended. Once the Franciscans were gone the diocescan priests cut out the Saturday Vigil and the Sunday 11:30. The Italian Mass was also omitted. They also cut out all times that the workers in the area preferred like the weekday Holy Day of Obligation services and such.

        There is a retired diocesan priest from Regina Cleri who for years has said Mass at St. Francis and he says most of our Masses now, not Father Correira. While the macarone and meatball free lunch continues, I have to say I was never a fan since it has nothing to do with Catholicism and most who are attending have never been parishioners as far as I can tell. It is a free lunch program, while very nice, not high on my list of church functions at all and one for which our parish is financially supporting. People like it, I gather.

        Father Jim of your parish has been very responsive to our parishioners and hard working, making sure we were decorated for both Christmas and Easter. So, here is a shout out for Father Jim, who has a nice singing voice and delivers a good sermon.

        John, if the tables were turned and it was St. Anthony’s on the chopping block, I think you would be as motivated as I.

  12. Marie says:

    A question for John Sousa.

    John, you seem to have the answers; perhaps you can answer why Mary Star of the Sea Church in Squantum was closed. This is a neighborhood on an island-like peninsula with approximately 1200 homes, 60 streets, at the end of a mile long causeway that connects it to the city of Quincy. It was and is a perfectly good church. A church the elderly of the community can walk to, a vibrant church with, at times, 4 and 5 generations of the same family in attendance. A church built by the Catholic faithful of the community. A church community dating back to 1916 when this peninsula boasted 200 homes and growing.

    Essentially the closure was initiated by the same person who closed Cleveland; given that information, would you not agree that this church was closed on canonical technicalities and should be reopened immediately pending the Archdiocese and the Vatican revisiting and investigating this and other closing decisions and who benefits from this and other closings. It is not the Archdiocese; whi would gain; its worth is but a drop in their needy bucket. It certainly is not the Catholic faithful in this tight knit community where the whole community, Catholic and not, appreciates that this church makes this community whole.

    So, John, why was the Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum closed and, John, who benefits?

    Marie

    • Marie, BCI cannot answer for John Sousa; however, something you said in your comment is rather far off-base. You said:

      “Essentially the closure was initiated by the same person who closed Cleveland; given that information, would you not agree that this church was closed on canonical technicalities and should be reopened immediately…”

      If you read the Cleveland ruling from the Vatican, the main canonical technicality that was the basis for the closing decrees being reversed was that Bishop Lennon did not consult the Presbyteral Council and others who should have been consulted prior to the closing according to the Code of Canon Law. It sounds like you are arguing that because there was a canonical problem with how closings were handled in Cleveland by Bishop Lennon, and because that same person was involved with closing decisions in Boston 7 years ago (regardless of whether those Boston closing decisions were canonically OK), all of those closing decisions of 7 years ago should now be reopened or reversed. That argument simply does not hold water. If there were a canonical problem with the process in Boston from 7 years ago, that would have surfaced during the multiple rounds of Vatican appeals.

      • Marie says:

        BCI, I did not see that you had answered an earlier response from me (9:19 a.m). Thank you.

        I believe for some the battle in trying to get one’s beloved church
        reopened is very spiritually fulfilling and in some ways fills the requisite responsibilities of “spiritual life”.

        I have spent months and months writing to various members of the Archdiocese in the hopes of awakening in someone the need to revisit the process that ended with the closing of Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum; to date, to my knowledge, I have not struck a chord or a nerve.

        My venture into vaguely understanding the technicalities of Canon Law, and, possibly a case for my “not going there”, is that it strikes me the same as all things that are subject to interpretation; the agenda of who interprets and who enforces must also be factored into the equation. My sincerest hope is that decisions are going to be reopened, reversed, revisited and that some churches will reopen.

        I sincerely hope that some of those decisions will be made at the Archdiocese level by persons like Vicar General Deeley who may find that some of the closings were wrong and done for the wrong reasons. Although, I honestly feel that within the realm of the functioning of “archdiocese” that is not possible; possibly not allowed. But, one never knows who may step out and take whatever follows, punishment, banishment, or, perhaps, a sigh of relief at having done the right thing.

        I fervently support the tenacity of those who occupy.

        Marie

  13. Stephen says:

    Re: Star of the Sea.
    Want your church back?
    Have a developer buy it when it goes on the chopping block. (they will not sell it to you) Work a deal to buy it back from the developer and give it to one of the Traditional orders or even make it an independent chapel.

    • Marie says:

      Hello Stephen,

      Just shutting down and there you were.

      Truth is, Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum should not go to the chopping block. It should not have been closed. To think of making deals with anyone saddens me as would making a deal with a kidnapper to have a child returned.

      I would hope that this church would be the object of “doing the right thing”. I realize it is difficult to say, we listened to the wrong advice, we made the wrong decision, but sometime that does happen and I do believe that speaking and hearing the words “Forgive me for I have…..” would be the turning point and everyone who is caught up in Pastoral Planning would work with as opposed to in opposition of.

      The matter of right and wrong has occurred because of method of implementation of Pastoral Planning. The actions of hierarchy has shown the existence of separation of Catholic faithful and Catholic governance, a gap that must be bridged or the governing body will be governing themselves and the Catholic faithful will continue to be faithfully Catholic.

      So, I continue to write. And, hopefully Mary Star of the Sea in Squantum will reopen because it is the right thing to do.

      Have a good night.

      Marie

  14. Stephen says:

    I met a wealthy family in Mexico City who had a member of their family kidnapped. Knowing that they had little recourse with the local corrupt police, they paid the 2 million dollars to the kidnappers and the person was returned. The family now uses private and armed security, they tell me it is a fairly common occurrence. The lesson? What is – is sometimes more important than – what is right.

    I am suggesting a strategy to get your church back. The diocese wants the money, and they obviously don’t care about the parish. Give them want they want, and you’ll get what you want.

    I think a traditional chapel where the Latin Mass is offered as it was when Star of the Sea was opened would be a wonderful addition to Catholic life on the South Shore.

  15. Stephen says:

    To fill in a few thoughts on my suggestion:
    - From Matt 10:16 – Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.
    - If a friend who is a developer purchases the ‘former church property’ at the fair market price… no foul there.
    - If your friend resells the ‘former church property’ to a collective of people who happened to be friends and acquaintances who also used to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass together, whose only intention is to serve God in obedience to his Church…no foul there
    - If this collective of people in Charity decides to give the ‘former church property’ to a valid Catholic order, and that order re-consecrates ‘the former church property’ …no foul there.

    I wonder if this approach is more prudent than the sit-ins that are more akin to occupy wall street than any recognized Catholic tradition. – Sit-ins are simply a strategy, don’t get romantic about it. The simple dove approach seems to have failed, be wise as serpents.
    Perhaps there is a developer in the neighborhood who is seeking to avoid jail time and looking for special dispensation from Rome ;) .

    As Aretha Franklin would say “Whose is zooming who?”
    Pastoral Planning = Strategy to sell off Church property.
    Fight these Modernists heretics at every turn. We are called to docility in spiritual matters not worldly real estate ones, don’t let them bluff you.

    • ISUPPORTMARYSTAROFTHESEA says:

      Stephen,

      Interesting perspective and I agree with much. Not sure where Mary Star of the Sea stands vis a vis appeals to the Vatican. Is there anything pending or still available?

      A problem I foresee with an offer to purchase is that you need “permission” of the Archdiocese to be a Catholic Church/chapel no matter the Order. That permission was almost always contingent upon the deed being in the name of Archbishop of Boston Corporation Sole or some such entity, irrespective of who actually paid for the property. I do wonder if it would play out differently today, given that this Archdiocese really wants money.

      However, here is my musing and serious concern:

      Some of the properties, if not most, apparently sold below market value. In fact, I personally know of one that sold for 900K and within 2-3 years resold for 2.9 million with no significant improvements. That seems to be the usual scenario. I may add that that same property is now used for what would be deemed “sacriligious” purposes. (Archdiocese had no restriction in the deed.).

      I spent Easter with family who live very close to Mary Star of the Sea. They assured me the property is indeed very precious in today’s market. It contains a huge lot in downtown Squantum. Me thinks someone wants that property, plain and simple.

      Question: Does the Archdiocese ever target property that is worthless in today’s market? Why is it the “best” property? The most marketable?? I see that with St. Francis of Assisi and Mount Carmel, and Mary Star of the Sea. I see the estimated value of Mount Carmet is 12 million. St. Francis is right up there also. Pretty hard for parishioners to buy property like that.

    • Marie says:

      Stephen,

      Thank you for your additional input and observations.

      Have just returned to find that thoughts about Mary Star of the Sea have blossomed. Checking some info. Your smiley face sentiments, well :)………..

      Marie

  16. Stephen says:

    Lay people do not need permission to give away property. I thought the folks in Squantum were having services at a Methodist church at this point. You want a reality check? Take a good look at the $18mil addition (Modernist elevator and staircase) at St. Cecelia’s in the Back bay and tell me the Modernist Wolves are not in charge around here. As Liberace used to say ‘yes their words upset me very much, I cry all the way to the bank’. These folks are well prepared to let the sit-in folks literally die off. Watch, Star of the Sea will be sold and a large estate or stylish condos will be built with a grand obelisk in the court yard.

    • ISUPPORTMARYSTAROFTHESEA says:

      Stephen, Do you know where the 18 million came from? I would love to go see this church. It does amaze me considering the finances of the Archdiocese. My mother actually offered to donate the cost of an elevator in our parish. The pastor refused. He was afraid that the Archdiocese was looking to take our property and did not want her to waste her money. Another parishioner offered the same and was likewise refused.

      While lay people do not need permission to give away property, I think most people involved with closures want to remain Catholic. That is the rub. Yes, you can buy your own building and truly my church founders did just that, but what then?? If they buy and then the property is donated to a named nonprofit, what then? Your own private religion?

      Do we then celebrate in vacuo distinct from the Catholic church??

      I just checked the city assessor site for Mary Star of the Sea. That is one huge chunk of land!! WOW, you are correct, some developer is salivating over that. Quick glance shows it as 36K sf but there may be more. I did a quick look. It seems the Archdiocese owns an awful lot of land in Quincy!!

      • As we reported here: http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/fiscal-mismanagement-20-million-debacle/ St. Cecilia had $14M cash in the bank, largely from the previous sale of a small parcel of valuable Boston real estate. They borrowed money from the archdiocese to cover the construction cost overruns, and have now raised more money via a capital campaign to pay back the loan.

      • ISUPPORTMARYSTAROFTHESEA says:

        St. Cecilia’s is certainly one industrious parish. Interesting to note that when parish property is sold off, the proceeds are kept in trust for that parish but held in a kind of repository so that if other parishes need a loan they can access that money too. So, the Archdiocese ends up being a kind of bank with all these proceeds. You do not just get to spend that money. While you are the beneficiary of the trust, you must seek permission of the Archdiocese to spend. Obviously the Archdiocese thought this a good investment. The Archdiocese can refuse and has done so.

        BCI, am I correct in this description of the accounts?? I have read the set up on the Archdiocese’s own website. That is my source.

  17. ISUPPORTMARYSTAROFTHESEA says:

    This link may bring you to the city assessor’s online database in Quincy. Most cities and towns have online access so you can browse through the church properties. For title holder usually :Roman Catholic” brings you to RC properties.

    http://data.visionappraisal.com/QuincyMA/search.asp

  18. Stephen says:

    Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
    Give to God what is God’s.
    The consecrated place called Star of the Sea is God’s.
    They want to sell it and give it to Caesar.

    You want change with the out-of-touch Boston hierarchy?

    Check out what happened at Sacred Heart in Lawrence.
    This quirky bunch in more in line with Rome than the
    parody in Braintree.

    How’s that Yoga work’n out for ya?

  19. Stephen says:

    Exactly.
    I think Star of the Sea would be a great place for a similar
    mission.

  20. jwsr says:

    Of course, we pray that the Society of Pius X will soon need to call a Catholic Church home. Quincy is nice.

    • Stephen says:

      “…the Willing Shepherds are Sedevacantist, NOT Roman Catholic”
      Correction:
      The sacraments are valid and the Priests who offer the Mass there are validly ordained. They certainly are Roman Catholics they apparently are disobedient to what they have prayerfully discerned is error.

      You tell me? Braintree is holding Yoga classes and the Shepherds are a concern because they are little heavy on the Latin and scapulars?

      All faithful Boston Catholics would do well to at least find out about the Willing Shepherds and how one faithful group has responded to Braintree’s madness.

      http://www.willingshepherds.org/
      Send them a check if you are so inclined, they will be prudent.

      • Stephen,

        BCI is all for the Latin Mass and is concerned about the orthodoxy and actions of many in Braintree as you have read here on this blog.

        That said, readers should be aware that sedevacantism is the position held by a some “traditionalist Catholics” that the present occupant of the papal see is not truly Pope–and for lack of a “valid” Pope, the see has been vacant for a considerable amount of time, since the death of either Pope Pius XII in 1958 or Pope John XXIII in 1963. Some sedevacantists claim that the vacancy goes back further.

        BCI would see that position as one we are unable to endorse either in principle or with donations.

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