Cleansing Fire

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The Windows Of St. Thomas The Apostle

July 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

The content of this post has been moved here. This post is being preserved so as not to lose the original comments.

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57 Responses to “The Windows Of St. Thomas The Apostle”

  1. Thank you for posting this article regarding the windows of St. Thomas the Apostle. I have wanted to see the inside of that church for some time now and missed my opportunity. Are they still having Adoration there or any other type of prayer as it is not completely off limits? If you know of an opportunity when that church is open for mass and/or another event, would you please post it? Thank you.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    The church is open everyday between 8 and 6. I stop there frequently!

  3. avatar anonymous says:

    If you come to see the windows, by all means visit during the day, preferably a bright sunny day!

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Is the Eucharist there daily?

  5. avatar Irondequoit Mom says:

    Yes- the Eucharist is in the Tabernacle inside the Mary’s Chapel inside the Church. However, there is perpetual adoration between 9 am (or 8?) and 11 pm Monday through Friday. Thank you for posting this. I heard once about a miracle having to do with the stained glass window at the south, does anyone know what I am talking about? Something about when they set that glass in that window, and then placed it in that brickfame (with the help of a large crane I would think) but- I heard that the face of Christ was disfigured, and when the architect/artist showed Msgr Burns, he just said lets pray about it and look at it tomorrow. The next day, the face of Christ had reset, so that it was the beatific window it is today. Does anyone know this story?

  6. avatar anonymous says:

    Oh yes, the tabernacle is on the Blessed Mother’s altar in the main Church. Enter through the side door on the parking lot side. There is also adoration in the chapel of the parish center 9am-11pm weekdays.

  7. avatar Bona says:

    One of your best posts ever. The windows are surely one of the highlights of this beautiful church.

  8. avatar monk says:

    Great post Bernie! Your photos demonstrate the beauty and grandeur of this magnificent Church. The DoR creates the largest parish (Blessed Kateri) in the diocese with over 4600 households in Irondequoit. Yet, they effectively close and plan to sell the largest Church in the diocese (STA in Irondequoit) with seating for 1000. Is this crazy? It makes no sense. Since its closure, Irondequoit priest staffing has been cut in half from four priests to two Basilian priests. The larger seating capacity of STA makes perfect sense for this situation.
    The DoR had a long desire to dissolve the traditional STA parish with its parishioners still kneeling for Communion at their altar rail, traditional choir, altar boys etc., despite the obvious need for such a Church. Your post is a sad reminder of what the DoR is willing to toss away to further their liberal agenda.

  9. avatar dmf says:

    Just to summarize:

    The Blessed Sacrament is housed in both St. Thomas the Apostle Church and its Chapel. The Chapel is located in a separate building from the main Church at the east side of the parking lot.

    The main Church can be accessed using the side door near the northwest corner of the parking lot. Note, this door is NOT one of the main doors in the arms of the Church. Hours are:

    –Monday through Friday from 8:15 AM through 6:40 PM
    –Saturday morning from 8:45 AM through 9:25 AM
    –Sunday morning from 9:10 AM through 9:50 AM

    Rosary and other prayers are recited daily in the main Church beginning at the following times:

    –Monday through Friday 8:15 AM and 6 PM
    –Saturday 8:45 AM
    –Sunday 9:10 AM

    The Chapel is open for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Hours are:

    –Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM through 11 PM

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think it is an ugly church, the windows are dark and the ceiling is concrete.

  11. avatar Hopefull says:

    I think it is a beautiful church, and Bernie’s pictures are amazing! One can sense the reverence and care this House of God has received. Concrete ceiling? Anonymous wouldn’t have liked the catacombs either. I am not a member there, but closing STA is, in my opinion, just greed for its savings — burial site of a priest treated as irrelevant where money is concerned.

    I wonder why so many negative comments often come from “Anonymous”? Have you ever noticed how good attracts evil, but evil does not attract good? It is wonderful that an anonymous poster can be tracked within the same thread, but I wish there were a way to track from thread to thread….I suspect we’d find a lot of negativity from the same person or small group of persons.

    Actually, Cleansing Fire is likely the target; not the individual blogger; and it is a faithful thorn in the side of those trying to deconsecrate that which is consecrated to God. Remember how God answered St. Paul about thorns in the side….

  12. avatar Bernie says:

    Just a NOTE: Pictures of STA were provided by Jim Hauser and our own photographer and staff writer, Mike. (Bernie didn’t shoot these.)

  13. avatar annonymouse says:

    With all due respect, Hopefull, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. It is a subjective opinion, not an objective thing, and expressing his or her opinion that STA is ugly does not make the anonymous poster evil.

    And the ceiling is, in fact, concrete.

    In my opinion, STA is not ugly, but it is simply not as beautiful as, say, St. Michael here or St. Patrick in NYC. I don’t like the 60s-modern stained glass windows or unadorned brick interior. However, it no less beautiful than, and is a better worship space than, any of the Irondquoit churches that remain open for Mass.

  14. avatar Bill B. says:

    I have to agree with …mouse here. Ugly is as ugly does to you. It is like music, a piece of music can do different things to two different people; like parents in the 60’s vs. the rock of the time. Ah, brings back some violent discussion on what is music. Same today. He has a point about concrete. Look at the bldgs at SUNY Brockport and others of the same vintage. Ugly concrete. BUT, some would say “…beauty…” Some would say Haugen, Haas and Joncas no good; others would not see it that way. It all tends to come out in the wash of human socks; some like tube, some like half. Go figure.

  15. avatar Hopefull says:

    Hi Annonymouse,
    Thank you for your correction. I probably should have posted the two things separately. I was not calling the person who thought the church was ugly “evil,” but I can see how it might have been construed that way. Surely we all can have different opinions; I think it is beautiful, someone else thinks it is ugly. Neither is good or bad. And I wasn’t challenging that the ceiling is concrete. I hadn’t noticed it, either way. But it doesn’t bother me if it is concrete.

    But it did strike me that more of the supportive comments have names or recognizable nicknames attached, and often negative comments are anonymous. I do wonder why. (I don’t mean yours, as you are the one and only Annonymouse!) But I wonder why others aren’t at least willing to post with a nickname? It is hard to tell if 15 posts by Anonymous are 15 different people or not. I am suspecting not. And we are in a culture where good seems to be attacked more than evil (unfortunately.) But these were two different subjects; I should have done separate posts. Thank you for giving me a chance to explain. Hopefull.

  16. avatar Bernie says:

    I prefer to use the terms beautiful and ugly, like and dislike. A church building may be beautiful (in its ontological sense) but I might not “like” it. I can see and appreciate the beauty in a Baroque church but personnally not like the Baroque style. Similarly, we can like a church that is, in fact, ugly. I think that is part of the problem today; the Catholic faithful have come to like ugly churches. By ugly I mean that they do not express in their architecture and art true, orthodox, Catholic belief.

    The stained glass in STA is beautiful in an ontological sense. The glass technique is professionally fashioned in noble materials by a competent studio according to a design created by a professional artist; they are excellent examples of the facet style of stained glass. The windows are unambiguously Catholic and orthodox in their imagery; they respect the iconograhy of Catholic imagery. And, the figures are natural; not grossly distorted, or too realistic. The figures express a spiritual or transfigured state of being.

    Having established that the windows are beautiful (or ugly) we could all go on to express our own personal reactions -our likes or dislikes. Beauty (and ugliness) is objectively based; likes and dislikes (personal preferences) are subjective responses.

  17. avatar MichaelL says:

    Totally off topic, but I wanted to let people know that Thomas Peters (American Papist) has posted a new article about State Senator Alesi. It’s causing quite a stir because he apparently thought that Alesi is Roman Catholic. Of course we know better:
    http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=18834

  18. avatar Arch says:

    Truly beautiful church but the bishop sniffed tradition. His clan has been paid.

  19. avatar Arch says:

    Thanks dmf.

  20. avatar Dr. K says:

    Alesi considers himself a Catholic.

  21. avatar DW says:

    I am sure this will stirr up the nest, but personally i agree with Anonymous-204144 about STA not being that attractive.

    In the design and decorating field, concrete is recognized as creating a cold and sterile setting. Coupled with the thick black glass lines in the windows– a dark and dungeon-like atmosphere is created. The lighting also casts a dark yellow tone throughout the already light-starved church. I found the acoustics were sub-optimal, and it was hard to hear anyone consistently.

    BUT– as we all know: its not about a building, but rather the people that fill the building. Thus the building doesnt matter.

  22. avatar Hopefull says:

    I think the concrete doesn’t bother me so much because I spent years in Washington when the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was new, and there was unfinished concrete in every side chapel, wall and ceiling except for the extraordinary huge mosaic behind the main altar, and artful renderings in the crypt chapels. But many years later these surfaces had been covered and became unique side chapels dedicated to a variety of saints. The concrete seemed almost a metaphor for transformation. Thought I’d share another view, artfully dodging ugly and beautiful, like and dislike. 🙂

  23. avatar Anonymous says:

    Well it does not matter too much because the church is closed and will be sold soon.

  24. avatar Anonymous says:

    It is hard to tell if 15 posts by Anonymous are 15 different people or not.

    Hi Hopefull,
    Well, I’m another anonymous-sorry 😉
    However-just for your information- if you’d like to track posts from anonymous posters, you can Google: cleansing fire, anonymous, and then type in the number they have been assigned. When I tried doing this with my own number, all my “words of wisdom” came up.

  25. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: To Anonymous 138247….Where in blazes did you get that info from? You’d better check your sources!

  26. avatar StillCatholic says:

    What a dreary church. I’ve been there to celebrate mass and, architecturally speaking, which is what this post is about, it will be no loss. If the windows are all that miraculous, which I doubt, they could be move to a different church.

  27. avatar StillCatholic says:

    PS: those are some seriously ugly stained glass windows.

  28. avatar JLo says:

    Out of sight; out of mind, Anonymous-138247? Doesn’t matter because the “problem” will soon go away? You’re not exactly heroic at either end of opinion, just lukewarm and totally uncaring at best.

    I will tell you that whether you like the concrete or not (has anyone who faults the concrete of St. Thomas visited more than one church in more than one city of Europe?), when one walks into St. Thomas the Apostle Church on St. Paul Boulevard (St. Paul, pray for us), one’s spirit soars at the majesty of that sanctuary. I wager that is the spirit’s first reaction, before one looks all around for the negatives some have cited.

    Now that’s my opinion, my estimation of the honest man’s reaction to majesty, and some will not agree. But I also wager that there is no sanctuary in all of Irondequoit that can have that impact. They house the Lord, of course; but speaking of the buildings themselves, such are no more than nice rooms (CTK), and the older ones badly designed. You who negatively speak of the acoustics at St. Thomas, have you ever sat in the back pews at SMM? Or on the sides? You need field glasses, and even those won’t help you from some pews.

    Not the point anyway, is it. So sad when some (as did Anonymous-138247) just shrug their shoulders and tell us to just move on, but it’s hard to do that in this case. Church beauty as Bernie instructs us is objective truth. St. Thomas is accordingly beautiful. Further, and very importantly, it has made thousands of people happy in their worship for many, many years; it is large enough to serve all of Irondequoit (as is the entire vast and well-kept infrastructure); and is being trashed by those who have no regard for that which we should love and protect, the Beauty of Truth and orthodoxy. They closed the school at St. Thomas in 1990 to favor SSM and CTK, and now they do the same with the STA sanctuary, all the while having subpar structures and infrastructures of the sanctuaries they chose to maintain.

    As to selling STA, Anonymous-138247, they (the DOR and its minions) surely WANT to… after all, Fr. Tanck wants to be the guy who builds the Irondequoit mega church, and Bishop Clark and his progressive staff want to do away with all of our past, like communion rails and an all-male server group and just anything that smacks of orthodoxy and worship of God as he has revealed himself to us. Instead they have a pastor of Irondequoit’s churches who quotes Sr. Joan Chittister when teaching in his weekly bulletin letters to the parishioners. Imagine. Millions of saints and Church documents, and he chooses the writings of a pretend Catholic religious. That’s where Irondequoit’s faithful have been left.

    It’s all enough to make it necessary, for those of us who care, to pray away, to beat back the bitterness which keeps rising within. Injustice has a way of doing that, and we right to beat back such sinfulness within ourselves.. Such as I must constantly remind ourselves that Jesus has already won, that though we must make the stand and fight the fight, in the face of eternity, it is very small ball…. except for the father tancks and bishop clarks and surely the openly heretical joan chittisters. It will one day all loom very large indeed for such as they. In the meantime, Anonymous-138247 and all you experts on beauty, have a heart.

    +JMJ

  29. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Thanks, JLo, that was a great response to Anon-138247. I guess people who have never been a part of St. Thomas will never really understand what a lot of us have been going through over the past few years…. Perfect summary!

  30. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    The pattern of behavior on this blog drives me ape sh– sometimes. We begin with a beautifully written article by Bernie, who is evidently very knowledgeable and urbane on church architecture. It is followed by a few complementary comments which are very appropriate. Then the honeymoon is over!!The next comment talks about ugliness and all the detrimental thing they can drag up. Conflict sets in and before you know it, the compulsory arguers are battling it out and appear to be at each other’s throats. Full battle ensues until someone steps in with a totally of the subject article so the full scale condemnation and war continues in an off the subject area.

    A few people on here need 1. counseling about their anger,2. or antidepressants 3. a vacation in a 3rd world country or4. deal with their anger addiction issues which seem to come up whenever the sun rises. We have reasons often times to be angry but does it have to be with each other all the time and evidently become the dominant force in our spirituality???

  31. avatar StillCatholic says:

    I’d agree with you Raymond, but you are totally wrong. This was not a benign article about church architecture. This was a cheap attempt to try and portray St Thomas the Apostle into some sort of artistic and religious marvel that only the hard-hearted and spiritually bankrupt would close. That is is merely a building with marginal artistic merit is beside the point when points need to be scored against a hated bishop who saw fit to close it.

  32. avatar StillCatholic says:

    I think the only desired response is a teary ‘forgive them Lord for they know now what they do’.

  33. avatar Anonymous says:

    I’d agree with you StillCatholic,but you are totally wrong. If it were an out of the ordinary, out of place article for this site, I could agree with you. However, there are many articles on this site about church architecture, art and so on. I don’t see a political motive in other such articles and this one fits in with the rest.

  34. avatar Anonymous says:

    You are right Still Catholic it is marginally artistic. I plan to attend the next Blessed Kateri council meeting and ask them when they plan to sell it. If they don’t have an answer then I will recommend they remove the alter railing to sell the marble, at least they will get some cash and the building will be closer to being Vatican II liturgically correct.

  35. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    As President Reagan used to say: “there you go again!”

    PS: Telling someone they are totally wrong is not very diplomatic even if you think you have the Holy Spirit delivering special comments in you ear. Would the expression, “I beg to differ” be so bad a phrase to use? Being angry and self righteous do not excuse bad manners.

    Maybe the failure to turn your mind and heart to God when you are at STA is YOUR failure in understanding and acceptance of legitimate diversity.

    I don’t think Jesus considers it an ugly building since it is His home and was built by people who loved Him.

  36. avatar Dr. K says:

    What a Christian attitude, Anon-138247.

  37. avatar Mike says:

    Anonymous-138247 wrote,

    I will recommend they remove the alter (sic) railing [so that] … the building will be closer to being Vatican II liturgically correct.

    Please pardon my ignorance and tell me where, precisely, does one (or more) of the 16 Vatican II documents call for the removal of the altar rail? I’ve read through all of them and seem to have missed that particular item.

    And while you’re searching for that bit of information you might also want to be on the lookout for where Vatican II calls for (a) turning the altar around, thus doing away with ad orientem celebration of the Mass, (b) the elimination of ALL Latin from the prayers of the Mass, (c) the elimination of Gregorian chant from the Mass, and (d) the deputation of legions of Eucharistic Ministers to speed up the laity’s reception of the Eucharist by, perhaps, four or five minutes per Mass? These are also things that I’m assured were called for by Vatican II that I just can’t seem to find in the actual documents. Perhaps you can show me where I should have been looking?

  38. avatar militia says:

    So, “StillCatholic” is a priest, who says he had “celebrated” Mass at STA. Possibly one who has compromised himself in this pastoral planning fiasco? Or one who gains from saying fewer Masses or having the priests’ retirement fund topped off with the half-million dollars in STA’s coffers? One who atrributes hatred to participants on this site (I have never heard the word “hate” directed against the bishop anywhere on Cleansing Fire) but who knows what “StillCatholic” has learned elsewhere or in official complaints he may be privy to that he would think hatred is an understandable motivation? Or perhaps he is psychic or reads motives or knows peoples hearts?

    What would it take to make him realize that what is being done here is not hatred at all, but exposing the truth in a very secretive, opaque diocese, where trust is eroded way below sea level? Where is “FatherStillCatholic’s” concern for the people? I just don’t see it. But he is not alone in such an attitude in DoR. Souls? where? who? huh?

  39. avatar Raymond Rice says:

    “Still Catholic”; “hated bishop”??? I thought Christians were not supposed to hate people/ hate meaning the desire that evil or misfortune fall upon them!!! Boy, you are some ad for the Catholic Church??!!??!!

  40. avatar monk says:

    StillCatholic’s comments expose the deep resentment of the DoR for the traditional St. Thomas the Apostle parish. His comments reveal the underlying attitudes that the Bishop and his proxies including StillCatholic had towards this beautiful parish. StillCatholic and others like him are gasping their last breadths of contempt. His time is short as all things will be made new soon enough.

  41. avatar StillCatholic says:

    Just to be clear, I did not mean to imply I personally celebrated Mass, I meant I was there during a celebration of the Mass. The Mass part was nice, the church itself was meh. And as far as good old-fashioned Bishop hatred, I don’t think the word ‘hate’ actually needs to be used explicitly in order to know that virtually every official blog entry on CF is implicit of the writers hate. I’m not a fan or foe of Bishop Clark, but I can read, and I do know that no matter what he did or didn’t do, he would be denounced for it.

  42. avatar Abyss says:

    Remember Garabandal, remember Medjugorie, the day will favor the more pious folk, the pure of heart and true devotion. The utmost reverence in the Holy Place will flood the places of worship.

  43. avatar militia says:

    StillCatholic, this is what you wrote at 6:02 PM:

    “What a dreary church. I’ve been there to celebrate mass and, architecturally speaking, which is what this post is about, it will be no loss. If the windows are all that miraculous, which I doubt, they could be move to a different church.”

    I’m glad you corrected the perception you created, but I think you know that using the words “I’ve been there to celebrate mass…” would mean to just about any Catholic that you are a priest. We laity would say “to attend Mass” or maybe “to assist at Mass.” I really find it hard to understand how those words could creep in accidentally. The other possibility of course is that you are a priest and said this without realizing what you said, without meaning to give away your identity.

    I think the moderator should put a note on your 6:02 post that in a subsequent post you deny you are a priest, just so nobody gets misled. And on my 10:43 PM post as well.

    Since you still maintain your “hatred” claim, I wonder if you posted on the earlier thread about citing some good fruit from the bishop’s reign? People who hate don’t create those kinds of opportunities to hear from those they “hate.” It is very sad that your only understanding of this blog and those who strive to bring truth is through a lens of hatred. That kind of interpretation of motive is itself one of the bad fruits of this episcopacy, that pits people against each other and sees hidden motives in the simple desire to save our churches.

  44. avatar Bill says:

    I can see the orthodoxy of the glass, which is good, but I can’t say that I particularly like the style. Although it attempts transcendence, I don’t see it. I see an approximation that tries to reduce sentimentality and emphasize otherness filtered through Western rationalism. The East does a better job with iconography in this specific regard that the West. Theologically, in both the EF and the OF we’ve always esteemed the Sacred Humanity of Christ (EF the Sacrifice of Calvary, OF the Wedding Banquet of the Lamb), so our liturgical art really should be realistic. The Orient emphasizes Christ’s divinity, so transcendence is naturalistic for them. When the West tries it it looks “transliterated” for lack of a better term, an overly literal translation of transcendence. Too often the West since VII wants to make sacred art as mundane as possible. That’s why if we do see statues of the Blessed Mother or St. Joseph it’s those completely unremarkable woodcut statues that dominate the amphitheater churches.

  45. avatar DW says:

    Friends and fellow Catholic’s–

    It is very clear to me that the parishoners of the former St Thomas the Apostle church are an very angry group who feel singled out by the diocese, and believe that the Bishop is personally out to get them b/c of their ways at STA.

    I would say to these individuals that you are no different from any other parish in the diocese, and you need to accept the reality of what has happened. Bishop Clark has closed a dozen or so churches in the past 5 years, and each of those parishes had something unique- the building, the ministry, the people, etc etc. The diocese of Rochester makes some very strange decisions, and follows no known logic. They close rich parishes and poor parishes, nice buildings and ugly buildings. They close thriving parishes, and leave the empty poor buildings open.

    Its not unique to STA– what has happened to this former parish has happened all over the diocese. Its getting old listening to a few very angry and disgruntled people beat a dead hose over and over. You are not alone in your pain, as we are all suffering b/c the diocese has done the same thing to every parish thats closed.

  46. avatar Bernie says:

    Bill: Good observations. We would not be having these discussions -I don’t think- in an Eastern Church. They have liturgical art canons whereas we don’t. They don’t think of icons as art as much as sacred images. Being that the architecture of STA is in the Byzantine style the windows follow suit employing Byzantine stylized elongated figures that seem to float (notice the feet “hanging” down). The facet technique also imitates mosaic which is the preferred medium in the Byzantine/Eastern tradition.

    The lack of a canon in the West has created a very difficult situation especially today when individual interpretation and creative expression trumps the needs of the liturgy. We’ve lost our way to a great extent although we seem to be recovering, now.

    Realism certainly reigns for much of Western litugical art since the Renaissance and yet that realism is usually tempered by a careful orchestration of the priciples of design. I’m thinking here of the Baroque style in which realism combined with strong raking light -normally considered a visual clue to sinfullness- is balanced by spotlighting or emphasizing through contrast in such a way as to suggest the breakthrough of the transcendent into a fallen world. I’m thinking also of the settings -canopies, rich color/gold, elaborate patterns, even frames- that can locate a figure in a heavenly environment.

    Anyway, good comment.

  47. avatar JLo says:

    StillCatholic at 11:18 PM 7/12, regarding Bishop Clark… “… I do know that no matter what he did or didn’t do, he would be denounced for it.”

    Dear sir or madam, our problem is that he did not do his job, HIS JOB! HE DID NOT DO HIS JOB!!

    Rather, he has for over 30 years sought to fundamentally transform (familiar words?) the Church in this diocese and toss out any and all who would not accept HIS vision of Church, HIS vision of mission, HIS vision of worship, and on and on and on and on.

    Hate him?! Hardly. The man makes me cry for his very life, here and eternal, and for the souls lost here these years he has “labored” in our vineyard. I take great solace in understanding that those souls lost to the Church will have God’s mercy to the extent their assigned shepherd abandoned his sheep; misled them at the very least… DID NOT DO HIS JOB!

    Sometimes when one shouts out as do I, it is not anger behind the passion and I assure you I am not depressed either; nor anger addicted, Mr. Rice. I fully embrace (thank you, Lord Jesus) that no Catholic EVER can be unhappy: sometimes sad for the loss all around, but never, ever unhappy, sir. I’m passionate in my beliefs and express them in accord with my genetics (full-blooded Italian). My beliefs are dead center with the Holy Father, neither right nor left of him, and I am saddened when I read of the acceptance by so many of the subpar leadership we have in this diocese. I choose not to just accept it and move on; rather, I chose to pray AND voice my concerns, as is my right, and more importantly, my duty.

    And thank you, Mike at 10:42 PM 7/12, for your bringing truth back into the lame arguments of many who still actually put forward the untruths about what Vatican II did and did not do. Such foolishness. I actually had to sit through such a talk this past Sunday with a visiting priest giving the “homily”. Pap; pure pap.

    Re DW 7/13 at 11:25 AM, and your finding STA parishioners an “angry group” “feeling singled out” “beating a dead horse” “disgruntled” and for you it’s “getting old listening to us”. Sorry you see it that way. Have you ever noticed how the classics never go out of style, DW; how they can be read over and over and over through the years? Truth is like that, which is why it’s worth fighting for… until the last breath.

    Cleansing Fire introduces me to Catholics who love Holy Mother Church and are willing to speak out, pray, and argue back those who have been led astray… but obviously still have some interest in such as we! May the Holy Spirit guide all of us. And in that regard, I apologize most humbly and profusely to any who are offended by the thoughts I share with you. That is not my intent. I would like to think (and act) as one who is not intent on winning the battle, but wants to win the war, and so I hope I always am guided by the HS to give and cease when harm goes forth instead of help. God bless all.

    +JMJ

  48. avatar Diane Harris says:

    It’s time for me to log on with a comment for DW and encouragement for JLo and all who feel similarly. DW, you wrote:

    “It is very clear to me that the parishoners of the former St Thomas the Apostle church are an very angry group who feel singled out by the diocese, and believe that the Bishop is personally out to get them b/c of their ways at STA.” While their faithful ways may have made them a target, I hope you see it is not so much the “personal” as “financial” aspect that is overriding. How can so many people ignore the $ greed? I come from OLOL (Our Lady of the Lakes in the Finger Lakes. So far two churches have been closed and another is on the way. We know well that your observation is correct that “They close rich parishes and poor parishes.” There is a financial reason for each. Some, like St. Bridget in Rochester didn’t have the money to survive (and the diocese is unable to realize and commit to supporting its very real mission work?) St. Mary in Rushville was the opposite. We started pastoral planning with over $100,000. The Church was closed 2 years ago by a “schedule change” (same as STA.) A schedule change is not a licit way to close a church. (Says who? Cardinal Burke for one.) That is why the bishop insists it is still open. At least STA has an open door. We have locked doors, no Blessed Sacrament, deteriorating property and a weed patch. But our $100,000 is gone. STA is open too, orchestrated by a pastor selling out his people with a “schedule change.” But the Bishop says it is still open. That means at least in part, their half million dollars are being drained, probably into churches which can’t make it on their own, and after the firewood is burned, they’ll still be cold. Then guess which churches are set up for closure?

    DW, you greatly misunderstand what is going on in these parishes. A wrong done to any parish is not mitigated by the same or similar wrong being done to 10 other parishes. If the people are not stewards of their own parish, it is pretty clear no one else will be. Don’t hold St. Mary Rushville or STA Parishioners at fault for continuing to complain, and complain, and complain. Just because other lambs went silently to the slaughter doesn’t mean we shouldn’t bleat. And about that recent encouraging news coming out of Rome — WHY do you think they are finally looking at matters and (probably) laying down guidelines? It isn’t because of the people who averted their eyes and let the destruction occur of their church and community (yes, community, so often ignored by the “it’s just a building” crowd.) NO! It is the effort and expense undertaken by some parishioners of some closed churches, large (STA) and small (St. Mary Rushville) to continue to mandate, appeal, write, publicize and blog. THAT is why Rome is finally paying attention. Did you think the onerous bishops asked for such a review?

    You continued: “I would say to these individuals that you are no different from any other parish in the diocese,” and I would beg to differ. Those who have turned their suffering into action are quite a bit different. Where I really disagee are your words: “…and you need to accept the reality of what has happened.” NO! we do not, and your using the argument that others are being closed only is a reminder of the unfairness and injustice afoot in DoR and some other dioceses. Are you also going to say: “NYS Legislature voted in the abomination of gay “marriage” and we need to accept the reality of what has happened?” I hope not. Canon 212 gives the laity the right and sometimes the DUTY (as we believe in the present situations) to voice our opinions and try to work for justice. Once one has seen a “DUTY” from God, there is no going back if we expect to be able to continue to live with our consciences.

    You say: “Its not unique to STA– what has happened to this former parish has happened all over the diocese.” So what? Just because others are being oppressed we shouldn’t care? Remember Martin Niemuller’s words about the Nazis coming for the Jews, and the unionists, and the Catholics etc. and he didn’t speak up. And when they came for him, there was no one left to speak up for him. If indeed times of presecution lie ahead as many believe, this network of solidarity among the laity may be vital. Who knows how God will work this to further the ultimate good of His Church?

    You say: “Its getting old listening to a few very angry and disgruntled people beat a dead hose [sic?]over and over.” Then don’t listen. And it is more than a few. Thousands of mandaters have expressed their concerns. You seem not to be concerned or listening anyway. But don’t try to silence those with a voice. Remember that Christ did not say “Voice your opinion once and then give up.” In both the Gospel story of the man with a guest knocking on his friend’s door repeatedly for bread, and in the story of the woman constantly demanding justice from the unjust judge, we are urged to continue whatever work He has given us. I am delighted to be among people who can recognize wrong, and have the courage and stamina to pursue what is right.

    Perhaps it would help to imagine that the friend and the unjust judge also wanted to complain that the supplicat was beating a dead hose/horse, and to consider whether anything other than righteous persistence would have moved them?

  49. avatar DW says:

    Diane, Thanks for the comments in your post.

    I am very well versed in the postings, topics and history behind the issues of concern to you and CF. The diocese of Rochester has been closing parishes by the techniques you outlined above since 1976 when they closed St Patricks Church on Plymouth avenue. It continued 10 years later in 1986 with Holy Redeemer, and then took off with St Lucy’s in 1992, St Theresa’s in 1997, Sts Peter and Paul , St Francis of Assisi, St Phillip Neri etc etc. The financal motivation and allocation of funds of many of these transactions is a secret to this day.

    As has been discussed in great depth on CF- the reasons for the closings are multifactoral including lack of priests, lack of parishoners, and lack of $$. The closings also represent a national trend for the catholic church. Over these 30 years, the concerns of Gods people have fallen of deaf ears in Rome as have many other problems in the church ( sex abuse, catholic schools, liturgical abuses,social justice issues)

    STA is one more parish added to the list of closed parishes. Please dont act like the closing of STA is unique or targeted as it clearly is not. Such a belief portrays an attitude of arrogance and separation from the reality of the DOR. While i agree that the only way to achieve change in the catholic church is persistence; it must represent a realistic and attainable pathway. Complaining day in and day out about the conspiracy against the folks at STA b/c they still kneel for communion is not going to get anyone anywhere. I suggest that the disgruntled parishoners of STA gather their energy, lick their wounds and continue the will of God at whatever church building is still open. Thats what those of us in the other 15 closed parishes have done, and i suggest the STA people do the same.

  50. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here. Diane, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to explain the truth to DW. This person obviously doesn’t care, given all of the facts presented to him. The best thing to do is to pray for DW, and for all of those who choose to blind themselves to the reality of what is going on around them.

  51. avatar Monk says:

    DW, WOW! Quite an impressive display of utter weakness! If you want to lick your own wounds, go ahead. In the mean time I suggest you read some of the lives of the Saints. You may want to start with John Fisher, Thomas More, Joan of Arc, John Vianney to name a few. The Church would never have survived the first century with your attitude.

  52. avatar DW says:

    Thanks for your positive Catholic comments friends-

    I will continue to happily build the Kingdom of God by being involved at my newly found catholic parish. I will pray for the despondent souls of STA and others here at CF, that they may find peace, and happiness in their grumbling about times gone by.

    And– we can all wait for Romes response to the letters, emails and calls……….

  53. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I will take Jim’s advice and not reiterate what is already said. We have witnessed to the truth; that is what we are called to do. However, two points of interest come from DW’s post at 4:07PM. One is the statement: “While i agree that the only way to achieve change in the catholic church is persistence; it must represent a realistic and attainable pathway.” I disagree. We do not persist only when we can win. As Mother Theresa said “We are called to be faithful; not to be successful.”

    Second, I think I now understand some of the cognitive dissonance faced by DW and others who have not fought for their churches. It must be hard to see others doing what they should have done. It prods the conscience; and, as Christ said to Paul: “It is hard to kick against the goad.”

  54. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. Hey! If we got DW to pray…we’ve accomplished something here!

  55. avatar Wood says:

    DW, you sound like a child of bishop Mathew Clark.

  56. avatar JLo says:

    Yes, a Bishop Clark Catholic perhaps, since it’s no trouble for DW to throw Rome under the bus… grumblings about the Vatican from DW a couple of times in this thread… but all things nearby, here in the DOR, are just fine with DW, or at best, just not worth worrying about. Talk about situational ethics!

    Two reasons come to mind for DW kicking Rome but not faulting the DOR: a bit of cowardice perhaps and a less than fervent pursuit of Truth. That Kingdom you think you’re building, DW, wherever you find a comfy spot, is not built on rock. Think about that and about how that story ends.

    But enough; UNCLE! As Jim says and Diane concurs, this person is not getting it, and doesn’t appear to want to. Cultural Catholicism personified. A prayer going out right now for DW as I sign off (of this thread and for this night). +JMJ

  57. avatar Nerina says:

    This was not a benign article about church architecture. This was a cheap attempt to try and portray St Thomas the Apostle into some sort of artistic and religious marvel that only the hard-hearted and spiritually bankrupt would close.

    Hi StillCatholic,

    I would suggest you read Bernie’s other posts to know how far off-base is your original assertion. Raymond Rice was exactly right when he posted:

    We begin with a beautifully written article by Bernie, who is evidently very knowledgeable and urbane on church architecture. It is followed by a few complementary comments which are very appropriate.

    Exactly, Raymond.

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