Cleansing Fire

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Northeast Rochester Parishes Have Clustered

June 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

We have been following the story since May that the Northeast Rochester parishes of St. Michael, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Corpus Christi, St. Andrew, and Church of the Annunciation were to cluster by the end of June. Well, here we are. Word has come in to us that the parishes have clustered, and are now under the leadership of Deb Housel and Fr. Paul Gitau (we could use confirmation on the Fr. Gitau part). According to our sources, the five churches will be cut down to two, and these two will form a single parish under the leadership of a priest pastor and Parochial Vicar.  This change will take effect by June of 2011, so the decision on which will be closed is likely to be made by the end of this year.

We will post updates as information becomes available. Stay tuned folks. It’s going to be a wild ride during Bishop Clark’s final two years in Rochester.

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6 Responses to “Northeast Rochester Parishes Have Clustered”

  1. St. Boniface/Blessed Sacrament to cluster in June 2011 (per Blessed Sacrament bulletin).

    I expect the next couple of years will be “slash and burn” around the diocese.

    Two churches left in the NE City? Since St. Stanislaus is stand alone at the moment, I’ll say Our Lady of the Americas and St. Michael will stay open. St. Stan’s and Our Lady of Pepetual Help are one block apart. I like St. Andrew’s but they have attendance issues. Annunciation is probably gone, with St. Cecelia and St. Ambrose nearby.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    I agree with your assessment of the N.E. Rochester situation. I too think the DoR will go with St. Michael and Corpus Christi.

    I was going to do a post on it, but I’ll quickly offer my reasons:
    -Annunciation will close for certain. Too small a church, too little attendance, and an aging congregation that has declined sharply since 2003.
    -St. Andrew will close for attendance reasons. They draw 120 more than Annunciation, but it doesn’t stand up to the other three parishes. The Lifeteen Mass @ STA is really hit and miss. Some weeks they get in the 50s, others in the 30s. They also have an altar rail. I think we know how the diocese feels about that…

    Now the tough decisions are to be made. If the DoR is going with two (I’d rather they drop down to three first to see how that works), then I will say OLPH is the one to close of the remaining three options. OLPH is indeed too close to St. Stanislaus. It doesn’t make sense to have two churches only a couple of blocks from each other in an area with far too few Catholics. OLPH does have a nice structure, but it doesn’t compare with St. Michael, which is a true landmark and gem. St. Michael also has a “fiercely loyal” and large Hispanic population. I went there for a Spanish Mass, and the place was almost full! There is so much more “vibrancy” there than OLPH, and many many young people. The English Mass isn’t well attended, but that would improve if the OLPH people came over. Also, an attempt to close St. Michael would almost certainly result in legal action. Does the DoR really want to take on STA and an effort to protect SM as a landmark at the same time? I don’t think so. The Catholics in the city are Hispanic, and that is where the future lies. St. Michael is the better choice to remain open.

    Corpus Christi will not close for the obvious Callan reasons. Also, their attendance numbers are probably still in the 350s.

    So, in my opinion (and yours) it will be Corpus Christi and St. Michael. I believe Fr. Panepinto will be pastor. Not sure who the other priest might be. There will probably be 3 English Masses, and 3 Spanish Masses between the two parishes in order to adapt to the changing city demographics. Doesn’t seem likely that Fr. Tracy will be involved if the makeup is going to be Pastor & Parochial Vicar. Know of any other Spanish-speaking priests out there who will be without a home in 2011?

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    “Corpus Christi will not close for the obvious Callan reasons.”

    It’s been almost twelve years since the Callan/Corpus Christi crisis. When Spiritus formed, most of the parishioners either followed him or left Corpus Christi. I don’t believe any of the outreach “houses” are opened or still connected to the parish. The parishioner make up at Our Lady of the Americas parish is a combination of the old Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Francis Xavier. It is really unfair to continue to either call that parish Corpus Christi or to paint it with the Callan brush. As I said at the beginning, it’s been almost twelve years. Time to let the Protestant church of Spiritus go. It’s over.

  4. avatar Dr. K says:

    I’ll call it whatever I want, ok?

    It’s still Corpus Christi. The “parish” may be Our Lady of the Amercia’s, but the church is still Corpus Christi (at least according to the DoR directory). Same is true with the “Light of Christ” parish; those church buildings are still St. Andrew and Annunciation. In case you didn’t read the article, and I sense that may be the case since you’re always so quick to bitch about everything we do here, the five churches in N.E. Rochester are clustered. Their parish designations, though they still exist, are irrelevant now that we are looking at the BUILDINGS to see which two will be retained. The remaining buildings will be forming a new parish anyway.

    You’re dead wrong about who goes there. Most people from OLMC would have nothing to do with Corpus Christi. I’m not sure about SFX. The CC attendance remained steady after the closure of the other two parishes, so don’t make it out like people came flocking in from those two creating this great mix of three communities. It’s still largely Corpus parishioners.

    Like it or not, the stain of Callan will always be on Corpus. Always. When I have gone there in the past and told somebody that I was going to Corpus Christi, they ask me “aren’t they excommunicated?” Most people out there don’t know the difference between Spiritus/Corpus. Most people will avoid Corpus because of what happened there in the past. If Corpus remains open in 2011, and I suspect they will, the DoR is going to have a tough sell once again. People won’t go there because of the Callan incident.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    You are all wrong…this is coming from an active parishioner of Our Lady of the Americas.


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