On my Facebook feed I get:
which offers a goodly number of beautiful and ugly churches.
But this post caught my attention. Why would any bishop aggravate and alienate not only the Catholics in his diocese but the entire city in which this beautiful church was located. It could have been repurposed or simply given to a lay board of Catholic trustees to make into a shrine which they would maintain, not the diocese. Oh well...
This was my church growing up. Mater Dolorosa in Holyoke, MA. Despite three building inspectors saying the building was fine and the Polish Consulate General of the United States calling it the best example of Polish Liturgical Art outside of Poland, and the City of Holyoke attempting to buy it, the Bishop of Springfield, MA had it demolished 2 years ago.
The bishop is a barbarian?
I agree with the person who wrote it is a shame such bishops can't be demolished. Also, I find it so hard to imagine or guess at the motives, the agenda, the true intentions and true mindset of such a bishop! If only such bishops had never even become priests; if only they had have become secular teachers, lawyers or journalists etc ....then the harm they could have done to true traditional Catholicism would have been miniscule compared to the harm they eventually caused by choosing a career as clerics in the Catholic Church.
As I have written before, the Bishop of Savannah in the early 70's, Bishop Fry closed a very beautiful downtown church. It was slated to be torn down, but there was an uprising from the entire city, not just Catholics, not to do so as it was a major downtown landmark.
Fortunately, Bishop Lessard later decided not to tear it down. He did allow an option for Catholics in Augusta to save it and make it into a shrine of some kind, but no one took the ball and ran with it. It would have been quite costly.
Around 1986 or so, the Diocese sold the entire complex to the Knox family, an extremely wealthy family in Augusta and they were and are very philanthropic and concerned about downtown Augusta's revival. They completely restored the interior and exterior of the church, although maintaining the Catholic character of it and all the windows, altars, stations and statuary that remained. They renamed it Sacred Heart Cultural Center. It is rented out now mostly for weddings but other events, some not appropriate in that setting, but most fine.
Unfortunately the diocese does not allow Catholics to have weddings there or funerals. I think a concession should have been made as many have their wedding receptions there.
If a Catholic "Knox" family bought it and did the same thing, the bishop should have been happy to do so with stipulations.
In the northeast, this is a common approach as demographics shift, ordinations decline and the number of active priests decreases. If nothing else, the diocesan offices and cathedral will survive and all else will close. It's been a painful process that's been going on for many years, 30+ perhaps, and is in many inner city cases, seemingly unavoidable. How not to have your church closed/torn down, support it consistently! The circumstances here, leading to the tearing down of a magnificent monument, could have been vastly different than what I described, or the bishop was progressive and wanted one less traditional and ornate structure on his roster.
It is unfortunate the end (or beginning) of the Calhoun Expressway is in front of Sacred Heart, thought I guess the road was needed to navigate above Augusta's railroad tracks which snake thru downtown. Perhaps Sacred Heart should have been saved and Holy Trinity (St. Patricks) closed, but I think by objective standards, there simply were not enough Catholics living in downtown Augusta (below 15th Street) to sustain two large churches. The opening of St. Marys on the Hill during World War 1 probably helped seal the fate of Sacred Heart. And now St. Teresa of Avila in adjoining Columbia County is giving St. Marys a run for its money in terms of membership, as certainly Columbia (County) is growing faster than Richmond these days...in fact in a few months, we will have census data for both counties to confirm that.
To Anonymous at 8:58AM:
You are being KIND.
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