Cleansing Fire

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The State of Black Ministry Churches in the Diocese of Rochester

December 12th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Below is a graph analyzing the attendance figures of our two black ministry parishes, Immaculate Conception and St. Bridget, over the past six months (click chart to enlarge):


These figures show that neither church is doing particularly well in either attendance or collections. The diocese should probably evaluate whether or not our efforts to reach out to black Catholics are working. These numbers seem to indicate that we have not been successful in bringing the message of Christ to black Rochesterians, at least not through the method of supporting two black ministry parishes. So what are we to do? That’s going to be a tough decision, but one that will ultimately need to be made very soon if these numbers do not improve. The diocese is going to have a difficult time selling the idea that churches like St. Thomas the Apostle should close when St. Thomas is bringing in more than 10 times as many people at St. Bridget.

I believe that we are at the point where we do not need black ministry parishes any longer. It is long overdue that we end this pseudo-segregation and invite these Catholics into our other parishes. We have many black Catholics in our city parishes already. For example, I would estimate that Corpus Christi is around 30% or more black. The experiment to see if more black Catholics would be attracted to these predominantly black parishes appears to have been a failure. The roughly 30 people that St. Bridget has been drawing since October 11th does nothing to support the idea that we continue to need these type of parishes in our diocese.

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11 Responses to “The State of Black Ministry Churches in the Diocese of Rochester”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    They still have the Black Gospel mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well. Not sure how many that draws.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    It is not in the best interest of any diocese to close a parish as long as the bills are being paid.

    The only person to benefit from a parish closing is the Bishop. He makes the money go South, straight into his side pocket.

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    Why is ~$800 sufficient to support St. Bridget but ~$4,500 is not enough to support St. Thomas? The math simply does not make sense in the DoR.

    I do realize that St. Bridget receives assistance from some wealthy parishes.

    ~Dr. K

  4. avatar Sonja says:

    Where's the earlier comment about it being akin to segregation? I thought the same thing myself.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    "It is long overdue that we end this pseudo-segregation and invite these Catholics into our other parishes." in the article.

    A very true statement.

  6. avatar gretchen says:

    Why have parishes segregated by skin color? Aren't we all Catholic here? And doesn't catholic (with a small "c") mean universal? We are all God's children, regardless of the color he spray-painted us!

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    How soon we forget what Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark did to the Puerto Rican "Catholics" in the Diocese of Rochester.

    He sold their St. Patrick's parish located on North Plymouth Ave. in Rochester to Kodak. Kodak demolished the parish and built a parking lot.

    The parishioners were sent to St. Francis of Assisi on Whitney St. St. Francis was closed in 2000.

    The Puerto Ricans were then sent to Holy Apostles on Lyell Ave.

    Many parishioners were lost along the way.

    Bishop Clark's former secretary (???) Father Paul Tomasso, was sent in to destroy parish communities and sell property.

    Bishop Clark treated the Puerto Rican community as "2nd class citizens".

  8. avatar Persis says:

    Anon. 11:09-

    Your point about Bishop Clark and St. Patrick's on Plymouth Ave., I believe is totally unfounded. Bishop Clark was not the Bishop of Rochester when St. Partrick's was sold to Kodak.
    Not sure who was Bishop, but I know that St. Patrick's was long gone before MHC came to Rochester.
    Any one out there know the story behind this? I think I saw a post about St. Patrick's here on Cleansing Fire once, but not completely sure, can any one enlighten us?
    Peace!

  9. I maybe be able to clear up the St. Patrick's confusion. The old cathedral was St. Patrick's that was sold to Kodak in 1937 and demolished 2 weeks later (talk about fast action on the DoR part). While the old cathedral was knocked down, the diocese left the school hall which was turned into St. Patrick's Church on North Plymouth Avenue. That was torn down maybe 15 years ago or so.

    Does that help?

  10. @Anon11:09

    Fr Tomasso is in Geneva now. Geneva has 2 churches that make up Our Lady of Peace Parish.

    I wonder sometimes if one of the churches will be closed (presumably St Francis deSales) since he seems to be the guy sent around to close churches…interestingly, though, I do not believe he says the Spanish Mass at St Francis…which has a substantial Puerto Rican population

  11. Re: my post above. It was Bishop Mooney who sold the old Cathedral to Kodak. He left the diocese very shortly after that.

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