Report: Fr.Leonard Villa assigned there! We are trying to confirm.
We told you it was a little premature to break out the champagne. We have now have a report that St Thomas More parish on the Upper East Side will be closed and its parishioners “invited” to join St Ignatius Loyola and its Jesuits:
“Gasps were heard and tears were seen when Pastor Kevin Madigan informed parishioners this past Sunday at each Mass that their church was likely to close next August. It was a stunning blow for the vibrant church community that had received numerous assurances that St. Thomas More Catholic Church was safe.
St. Thomas More serves a highly affluent family community on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with regular Masses, as well as with many informative and noteworthy events. The church is free of debt and its operations are financially sound.”
From the Huffington Post.
In a way it is poetic justice, for St. Thomas More was established to offer an alternative to Jesuit dominance of the wealthiest neighborhood of New York City. I doubt anyone could have imagined that such a parish would be closed. but it continues a emerging pattern of the liquidation of smaller parishes (Our Lady of Peace, St. Elizabeth of Hungary have been announced; others have been rumored) in some quite well-to-do areas of the city. Areas with correspondingly high real estate values….
The Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan held a Forty Hour Devotion from Friday Nov. 7 to Sunday Nov. 9. Arrys Ortanez has sent us these beautiful photos of the 3-day event.
Organizer Eddy Toribo has written:
“This was the second year we have had it at Holy Innocents and, now that the parish has been left open, we expect to have many more.
We thank all those who helped and made sacrifices in order to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament (in addition to attending the Masses) most particularly during the night hours. These days, it is difficult (compared to the past) to find people to commit to be part of the Forty Hours Prayer (Devotion), especially in the traditional context given that many people who attend the traditional Mass at Holy Innocents come from all over. Thank God, we were able to get a few faithful souls who made sacrifices and arrangements to spend the night in prayer, particularly on Saturday. We can be assured God will know how to reward that time spend in church as part of Forty Hours.”
Thanks to Eddy and Arrys for providing this report.
Yesterday evening, in the church of St. Agnes a beautiful solemn Requiem mass was celebrated. The music included chant, and the Missa pro defunctis (Requiem a 8) of Duarte Lobo.
Acknowledgments and special thanks are owed to many:
The Reverend Myles P. Murphy, S.T.L., Pastor of the Church of Saint Agnes
The Reverend Richard Cipolla, Celebrant and Homilist
The Reverend Daniel Champoli, Deacon
The Reverend Matthew MacDonald, Subdeacon
Mr. Steven Pack, Master of Ceremonies
The Schola Cantorum of Saint Agnes
Mr. James D. Wetzel, Choirmaster
Mr. Donald Cherry – vestments and poster
Mr. James Morlino – sound recording
And, last but not least, the funding for the music was made possible by the generosity of the Catholic Artists Society, the New York Purgatorial Society, The Roman Forum – and our own Society of Saint Hugh of Cluny.
So we have finally heard the Archdiocese’s announcement of church closings and consolidations – the culmination of Cardinal Dolan’s “Making all Things New.” At the end that program, like its predecessor, only comes down to a list of parishes closing or merging – tragedies and losses small and great. Traditionalists will breathe a sigh of relief – Holy Innocents (like St. Agnes and Our Lady of Mount Carmel) is not scheduled to close. We are informed that after the announcement there at mass yesterday: “people were very happy – some clapped, cried, and shouted with joy.” In general, the impact on Manhattan was less severe than that earlier (semi-official) estimates and “targets” had indicated – by my count, 9 parishes will be closed and 6 others merged (but the celebration of masses and sacraments will continue). A couple of the mergers are merely declarative of the existing situation. Moreover, in addition to Holy Innocents, several other widely discussed candidates for closure have nevertheless emerged unscathed.
Despite this good news, If I were one of the survivors I would restrain my rejoicing. For this announcement is not by any means the end of the story. In “Making all things New,” just as in its 2007 predecessor, parishes have been or will be merged or closed entirely outside any announced official list. The Archdiocese expressly reserves this possibility:
“There are a small number of new proposals for parish mergers that have arisen as a result of the cardinal’s own reflection on those proposals presented to him, as well as from his discussions with key advisors. In keeping with the spirit of the Making All Things New process, Cardinal Dolan has asked that these new proposals be shared with the appropriate clusters and the archdiocesan advisory group so as to solicit their input. These will eventually also be reviewed by the priest council of the archdiocese before a final decision is reached. It is hoped that these new proposals will be acted upon soon so that final decisions are reached over the next several months.”
So, for example, regarding one parish initially recommended for closure, there will be ongoing consideration of:
“A potential move of Saint Michael’s Parish in Manhattan to accommodate the pastoral needs of those who will move to the new Hudson Yards development.”
(Above and below) St. Elisabeth of Hungary
(above) St. Elisabeth of Hungary
(Above and below) Our Lady of Peace.
Yes, the catalogue of churches scheduled for closure – or “termination of the celebration of masses and sacrament on a regular basis” is a tragic tale. Among the victims is the lovely church of St. Elisabeth of Hungary, which anchors a quiet streetscape on East 83rd Street – first Slovak, then “mainstream” Archdiocesan and in recent decades also the home of the Archdiocesan deaf ministry. There is the equally charming Our Lady of Peace on East 62nd Street – its parishioners are invited to transfer to the extraordinary ugly modern “church” of St. John the Evangelist. The parishioners of the Hungarian church of St. Stephen of Hungary, who just in the last few years had made heroic (and apparently successful) efforts to preserve their parochial school from closure, now will find themselves deprived of their parish as well.
(Above) St. James (with its street named after the parish!)
(Above) St. Joseph; (below) the ceiling of St. James.
Some losses have greater cultural, historical and artistic significance. St. James, a neoclassical temple of the 1830’s and the boyhood parish of Gov. Al Smith, will apparently close along with its current “parent”, St. Joseph’s. St. Stephen’s – next to St Patrick’s cathedral, the grandest and best-preserved high Victorian Catholic church interior in New York, will also shut its doors. The product of the combined efforts of Renwick, Brumidi and the German stained glass studios of the last years of the 19th century, the landmarked St Stephen’s was led by a series of legendary pastors prior to 1918. I would anticipate that the disposition of these two churches will attract the interest of the broader New York community. Such well-preserved interiors would of course also offer an ideal New York home to several growing Traditional – or at least “conservative” – orders. It is a solution that, although implemented in Chicago for decades now (e.g., St. John Cantius), has been expressly rejected, I understand, by the New York Archdiocese on at least one previous occasion.
(Above and below) St. Stephen’s.
(Above) At. Stephen’s
What will be the end result of all this? The New York Times has nicely summarized the factors behind “Making all things New”:
“The number of priests has fallen each year, as retirements outpace ordinations. And attendance has been declining; as of 2013, only about 12 percent of the New York archdiocese’s 2.8 million Catholics regularly attended Sunday Mass, according to the archdiocese.”
No downsizing or organizational changes can address these underlying issues. They are of the spiritual, not the material order. So I would expect that within a few years we and the Archdiocese will be confronting yet another “reconfiguration” plan.
The St. Cecilia Society of St. Mary Church, Norwalk
is pleased to present its annual benefit concert in honor of St. Cecilia
& in celebration of the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
The St. Mary’s Schola Cantorum
David J. Hughes, Director
Sunday, 9 November 2014, 4:00 P.M.
$25 general admission | $15 students & seniors
All proceeds go to support the work of the St. Cecilia Society throughout the year.
A festive wine & cheese reception will follow the concert.
Mass Mobs: From the New York Times
“Elizabeth Davis, 47, of Harmony, Pa., decided to start a Mass mob in Pittsburgh after hearing about the group in Buffalo. Her first effort, organized via Meetup.com, drew 25 people and the second about 50. Now, by reaching out through a Catholic women’s organization and youth programs, as well as to members of a historic preservation group, she hopes to hit 150 later this month.
“These beautiful old churches were built by our grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and to see them close is really sad,” said Ms. Davis, who is also raising six children and finishing a college degree. “We have 2,000 years of tradition, and it’s time we get excited about it.”
(As the article notes, there is a “Mass mob” movement in Fairfield County!)
Paulson, Michael, “At Forlorn Urban Churches, Mass gets crowded in a Flash” (The New York Times, 10/11/14)