Cleansing Fire

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City Churches Experience Decline

January 20th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

I found the following interesting passage in the upcoming Holy Apostles bulletin. The writer, who serves as the parish deacon, mentions the following from the DoR’s study into the city parishes:

“A study group appointed by Bishop Clark revealed that over the past 10 years ? the city has lost a third of its parishes and therefore a third of its parishioners.? Other findings show attendance down 18 % at Spanish Masses

But wait, weren’t these parish closings supposed to help create more vibrant Catholic churches in the city of Rochester? Instead, we’re finding that when a parish closes, people will mostly avoid attending the parish(es) which remain open, if they go to church at all. So DoR, keep closing parishes, and you will continue to see further declines in church attendance.

A second item of note is that attendance is down 18% for the Spanish Masses. The writer of the bulletin article would not make that statement specifically about Spanish Masses if he didn’t find it to be significant. From my own personal experience at Masses offered in Spanish in this diocese, most have been very irreverent and casual. For example, the music is way too bouncy and loud, the Kiss of Peace may last for over two minutes, and people get up and walk around and talk to one another when the collection is being taken up and/or after Communion. Does anyone care to at least try a reverent Spanish Mass to see if makes any difference, or are we so committed to bouncy worship that we’re willing to drive this car off a cliff?

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4 Responses to “City Churches Experience Decline”

  1. avatar Sister Emily says:

    I really don't know this,has a reverent holy mass been offered by a holy priest in Spanish? If the priest jumps up and down so will everyone else.

  2. It doesn't necessarily follow that if the city has lost a third of its parishes it therefore looses a third of its parishoners. I don't think you can make that conclusion. But the diocese didn't hire me, so who am I to say.

    Anyways, good 'ol Bishop Clark needs to step aside real fast. Get a new bishop with a "big pair" and start recruiting, by the Bishop example (and hopefully the priest will follow) for the priesthood. Get some on-fire priest to evangelize the inner-city. The DoR has abandoned the inner city and we need to take it back. Look at what the Institute of Christ the King is doing in Chicago. That church is in a bad area and they are winning converts. That might also have something to do with the Tridentine Liturgy they use. The Institute feed them both physically and spiritually too. We have that Sister Grace Miller at Mercy House on Hudson Ave. I personally can't stand her politics, but she probably is representing the Catholic Church in the middle of the hardcore inner city, save maybe St. Joseph House on South Avenue. I think there you have to pray before you eat.

    I went to one of those Spanish Masses at St. Michael's. I went for a friend's daughter's First HOly Communion. Nobody sits down. Kids are tearing up and down the aisle. The place went totally full-tilt boogie conversation in Spanish. It was more of a beauty pageant when the heavily made up little girls came down the aisle. Huge hair-dos, lots of makeup, fake eyelashes, tight sequin dresses and crown over their veils. It looked like a practice for one of those Quincenara things. Kids all over the sanctuary while Mass was going on. Throngs of people pushing to take pictures. I thought it was chaotic; but my Spanish friend thought it was tame. He said to me "Well they are in church. If this were outside it wouldn't have been different". WOW!!!Difference in culture here or what? The strolling Mariachi band or whatever it was was kind of okay, but not in church

  3. The Holy Apostles attendance figures are worse now than when they were part of a three church cluster.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    The worst thing that a bishop can do to his diocese is close a parish against the will of the parishioners.

    The original "cluster" consisted of 5 parishes. Holy Apostles, Saint Anthony, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saints Peter and Paul and Holy Family.

    About 11 or 12 years ago, Bishop Clark wanted to close down all 5 parishes and build a parish in a old brick factory on Lyell Ave. The parishioners at all 5 parishes were outraged.

    Father Paul Tomasso became known as "Father Death" for closing 3 parishes in the cluster. He was a good soldier doing Bishop Clark's dirty work. All the blame has to go to Clark, but Father Tomasso was certainly miserable with the parishioners who wanted to save their parishes.

    I believe that the Spanish are one of the fastest growing groups of residents in our inner city. The Spanish Masses should be growing, but Bishop Clark has played dirty politics with a few priests who can say the Mass in Spanish and moved them around to other parishes.

    The Spanish group of parishioners was forced to move when the Diocese of Rochester sold their Saint Patrick's Parish on North Plymouth Ave. to Kodak. The parish was demolished for a parking lot.

    The Spanish moved to Saint Francis of Assisi about 1977 or 1978. They were then forced to move to Holy Apostles when Saint Francis was closed in 2000.

    Holy Apostles also lost a beloved Spanish Deacon. I don't know if this deacon was removed against his will.

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