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Some Parishes Win, Others Reorganize

Massachusetts. Parishioners at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Springfield, MA won the fight to keep their beloved 100 year-old church open. They took out billboards, went on Facebook and persuaded the City Council to declare the church a historic landmark. They also developed a plan for the future, raised money and added 60 families to the roles.

Oregon. The Portland Archdiocese has pulled the sale listing for Dayton’s San Martin de Porres Mission following a protest of 100 members of San Martin de Porres worshipping community. Maria Sandoval-Cisneros helped organize the Save San Martin Committee that campaigned to preserve the Spanish-speaking mission, which was founded 30 years ago by Latino farmworkers.

St. Peter’s Community Creates Non-Profit Organization.  About 350 former members of closed St. Peter parish in Cleveland have set up a nonprofit organization and rented new worship space.  “As the bishop went around the diocese closing parishes,” said community leader Bob Zack, “he kept saying a parish is not a piece of real estate. It’s a community of people. We understood that, we got it. If he wants the building, fine, take it. But we refuse to be suppressed as a community.”

Former pastor Fr. Bob Marrone has agreed to serve as chaplain and the new legally incorporated Community of St. Peter celebrated its first Mass Aug. 15.  Bishop Richard Lennon admitted on a local radio station that the Mass is valid, but believes it to be inappropriate. He has yet to meet with Marrone and community leadership.  St. Peter’s appeal in Rome has been extended until November. (National Catholic Reporter)

Cleveland Churchmen Ask Vatican to Intervene. The Rev. Robert Begin, a Catholic priest, and the Rev. Kenneth Chalker, a Methodist minister, recently sent letters to Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi in Washington, D.C. seeking to stop Bishop Richard Lennon from closing churches.   “It is becoming more and more difficult for many parishioners and leaders alike to remain ‘Catholic’ in our diocese,” wrote Begin. “I believe the situation merits an apostolic visitor to conduct an objective inquiry into what is occurring.” Chalker wrote, “ The marvelous legacy and respect in which the diocese has been held in this community by ALL persons in this city is under assault, not from ‘outside forces,’ but as a result of its current episcopal leadership.” Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek strongly challenged the accusations: “I have worked directly with Bishop Lennon for the last four years and nothing, nothing in either letter contains a semblance of truth.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)


Focus on FutureChurch

Fall 2010

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