Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


St. Thomas the Apostle Press Release

June 6th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

The people fighting to save St. Thomas the Apostle church have issued a press release concerning their request that Bishop Clark rescind his decree to consolidate the five parishes in the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group, and close St. Thomas and St. Salome churches.


June 4, 2010

Parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle Church File Appeal to Bishop Clark To Stop Closing

Today parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Irondequoit filed an appeal to Bishop Matthew Clark urging him to revoke a decree issued May 26th ordering the dissolution of St. Thomas the Apostle and four other Irondequoit parishes. While the decree does not specifically mention it, St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome?s will be closed and sold and their assets taken to support the consolidated Catholic Church in Irondequoit. The move by the Bishop is unprecedented in scope and has Diocesan wide implications. If permitted to stand as a valid confiscation and legitimate suppression of a Catholic Church, the Diocese of Rochester is prepared to move in similar fashion throughout the Diocese. The appeal is the first step in a process identified in Catholic Church Canon Law to reverse the Bishop?s decision. Should the Bishop choose not to rescind or amend his decree, the case can then be appealed to the Pope.

The parishioners argue in the Appeal that St. Thomas the Apostle Church is best suited to handle the shortage of Priests and the consolidation of the parishes in Irondequoit. St. Thomas the Apostle, located on St. Paul Boulevard in West Irondequoit, is the largest parish in the Diocese with seating for over a 1,000 and parking for 300 cars. The IPPG committee recommends in its report to the Bishop that the remaining churches spend over $700,000 to create parking lots. The Appeal points out that St. Thomas the Apostle Church has no debt and over $400,000 in cash reserves. In addition to cash reserves St. Thomas the Apostle Church has the highest non-parishioner income from a commercial tenant located on the parish property.

The Appeal cites many areas where the IPPG Committee failed to assess accurately the facts and impacts of consolidation of the five parishes and the closings, that the Committee often did not follow the planning process described to Parishioners and that parishes proposed to be closed had poor representation and opportunities for input.

The Appeal states that with the closing of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome?s no parishes will exist north of Titus Avenue while 13 churches will exist south of Titus Avenue in a similar sized geographic area. Many of the 13 churches have memberships smaller then St. Thomas the Apostle Church. The Appeal states that this will disenfranchise hundreds of Irondequoit Catholics and endanger their pastoral care. The Appeal points out that while the IPPG projects that the new consolidation will retain 80 percent of the current parishioners in Irondequoit the retention in parishes previously dissolved and renamed has resulted in much lower retention rates. In fact, less than 30 percent of the parishioners will possibly continue to worship at the newly formed parish.

The Appeal to the Bishop is the first step in the Appeal process, which eventually will reach the Vatican. The letter was sent to Bishop Matthew Clark, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Father Norman Tanck and Philip Gray, a Canon Lawyer retained by the parishioners.”

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6 Responses to “St. Thomas the Apostle Press Release”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    I understand their frustration and the move is quite legal, but the press release is not written well.

    The grammar is very poor with many run on sentences, words that are capitalized that should not be such as "priests" in the second line of the second paragraph, and phrases like "seating for over a 1,000" which should be "seating for over 1,000" make this look very amateur and shoddy. If a professional has been hired, he should proof-read future releases.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Good observations Anonymous 4:19. I wouldn't call it shoddy and amateurish however. Unfortunately, we need to be acting quickly at this time.

  3. I think that poor grammar is a minor logical error as compared to the error in thought regarding parking, closing the parish, and the consolidation matters.

    I understand that there is a need for professionalism and good grammar when you are trying to use written work product, but I dont understand why folks think that poor grammar some how invalidates all the arguments contained there within.

    Time should be spent on the substance and not the style.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon 4:19
    What you have read here on the website is not "The Appeal" that was given to Bishop Clark. It's just a summary of the document.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    ANon 9:59 – if you reread my comment, I never referred to this press release as the appeal. A press release goes to the media in an effort, I would surmise, to not only communicate what is going on but to garner support. A tightly worded, professional press release will attract far more attention than a poorly written one. I recognize fully that the appeal given to the bishop and others is a wholly different document. I would hope that my comment would be taken as a constructive critique. I did not disagree with the content nor did I ever say the appeal should not happen. If this blog is to be nothing more than a mutual admiration society, what is the point?

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    I'm sorry. I misunderstood your point. Didn't mean to offend or make light of your opinion.
    Anon 9:59

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