Catholic church consolidations remain...

Catholic church consolidations remain controversial

There are 467 comments on the The Morning Call story from Jan 2, 2009, titled Catholic church consolidations remain controversial. In it, The Morning Call reports that:

Felicia Pilla still attends Mass weekly in her hometown of Nesquehoning, as she has since moving there nearly 50 years ago.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

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Lisa B - from Bethlehem

Blue Bell, PA

#1 Jan 2, 2009
This is the issue in many of the towns that have had to see their parishes close. The smallest church in size, no handicap accessibility, no available parking, etc, seemed to be the preferred choice Churches of the Diocese. Makes me wonder if the Bishop wants ALL people to attend Church. My question in all of this has been, When is the Bishop going to go around and visit these towns and these parishes and these people to whom he brought such dramatic changes in their lives? Many of these people have their Church as their life. Perhaps had he gone out and visited, he would have had more of an educated decision being made. It's not impossible for him to enter Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. Bishop Welsh did it plenty of times. In fact there are many paved roads that lead to all of these towns. Get a GPS or Google Maps - trust me, he can find them. As for Bethlehem, it's just next to Allentown - drive east and you will eventually enter it.
New Bishop

East Stroudsburg, PA

#2 Jan 2, 2009
The bishop is retiring, or at least he has turned in his resignation. Does anyone know how that (retirement) all works? I don't think he is willing to subject himself to visiting all the parishes now that he is retiring. It would be very painful in any town. I always felt that we should all walk in the footsteps of Christ, no matter what the issue is at hand. Keep this in mind - WWJD - what would Jesus do? Bishop Cullen should ask himself, WWJD and get out of Allentown for a few days and go around and visit. It would help both sides, I know it would. He can do it but I don't think Bishop Cullen has the personality to engage in this type of rescue mission. He can take Matt Kerr with him in case he does not know what to say. Ok, so if anyone can help us all understand what the next steps will be to find the new Bishop, that would be helpful.
Don Schenk

Allentown, PA

#3 Jan 2, 2009
1.) It wasn't the bishop, but committees that were at least two-to-one lay, that decided which churches had to be shut down.
2.) These committees considered things like size and location, which had as much to do with "accessibility" as wheelchair ramps. Besides, I have yet to see someone rolling their wheelchair to church; and since the handicaped can either be driven to church or receive a personal visit from an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, central location (for the people who walk) is more important.
3.) This church wants to build a handicap ramp, but the local zoning board is blocking that effort. So I guess you're left with...
WE ARE THE STREET PEOPLE!
STOP PAYING TAXES!

That, and since the AD Times mentioned the at-least-two-to-one makeup of the committtees, and this article mentioned the criterea used to judge which parishes to close, maybe instead of the bishop getting around you should atart reading befotre you post.
bob

Shenandoah, PA

#4 Jan 2, 2009
The church has ignored the will of the people and moved to get the most return on investment instead of serving the flock. Rome has decided to take the money and run. I've stopped going to church because they are just like the money grubbers on wall street. Just like the politicians in washington, the church only has whats in it for them in mind and not service to us.
morality inspector

Stroudsburg, PA

#5 Jan 2, 2009
I know just what you people are saying. To me, Bishop Cullen is no better than that wall street crook Bernard Madoff.
Rose member from NJ

Palmyra, PA

#6 Jan 2, 2009
People who do not know the full situation shouldn't comment until they see both churches in person. I guarantee you will pick OLMC. First, OLMC has a handicap ramp and people from OLMC will not foot the bill for a new ramp at ICC. Bids have come in at over 100K for this ramp. People in wheelchairs did attend mass at OLMC, every Sunday, and I witnessed their attendance. Two, regarding size, choir seats were not taken into consideration, but ICC were considered. The choir loft at OLMC is double the size of the ICC church loft. Three, as for parking, ICC lot only holds 22 cars, while OLMC was given permission for parking across the street from the church (New Columbus park) and also has amble parking all around the church. With regard to ICC, there is a cemetery and auto body shop on the opposite side of a narrow street, and only one car can drive up or down the street, a convent to one side and the American Legion to the other side (with little parking, about 3 cars), a small public road runs along the side of the church between the church and the American Legion and continues around the back of the church, a very large ditch on the other side of that road and then railroad tracks. The church is asking to have this street closed for their ramp. If they were to build a ramp to the single entrance door, a person in a wheelchair or elderly person walking up this ramp would be exhausted before they reached the top. And then there would be the danger of the person going back on this ramp. Also Turkey Hill is a half a block to the front of the church which occupies street parking too and this church sits on a narrow street with limited parking. Are you able to visualize the location of this church that remains open? Not a pretty site. So the excuse that they have more parking and seating is bogus. As for closing of churches, I have always believed that the Diocese closed the churches that were in better condition as they would offer a larger profit when sold. And if you compare the both churches in person, you will see why this is true. As for centralization, centralization for who? Not the people living on either side of the mountain. With the snow over the Christmas holidays, what a mess as this church (ICC) located in the valley which had no sun to melt the ice and snow. This made it more difficult to park with the snow piles between cars and on the sidewalk. The sun rises and sets on OLMC. OLMC has over 250 families while ICC has only 60. They only had one baptizm in 2008 and OLMC had 14. YES...it was the bishop who made this decision which churches should close as the Diocese needs to fill their pockets, and now it's not being filled by OLMC members. The Diocese didn't take into consideration that the Italians "from up on the hill" would put up a fight!/QUOTE]
jersey sis

Monroe, NY

#7 Jan 2, 2009
You tell 'em Rose
lamb46

Bethlehem, PA

#8 Jan 2, 2009
Great post, Rose!
St. Francis, the inferior church building chosen by a very flawed system now wants to pull out all the stops to bring its facility up to code.
How much has it cost so far? Some estimate costs incurred so far for the engineer, architect, and lawyer fees may be about 30,000 dollars.- OLMC church already has TWO side entrances for handicap access.
A possible estimate of the cost of building the ramp to replace the 15 steps at St. Francis would be 90,000 to 130,000 dollars. OLMC has no need for that expense since it already has handicap access.
St. Francis had the fewest parishioners before the infamous decision, and now that at least one of the two suppressed parishes is not cooperationg in the charade, they are falling deeper into debt. The may be 50,000 dollars in arrears for their Catholic school assessment.
No one has yet brought up the fact that the St. Francis church hall has water damage and can never be made handicap accessible because the building will not support an elevator. The OLMC hall has handicap access.
One disabled gentleman from a nearby town spoke in favor of the ramp at the zoning hearing. When it was pointed out to him that a church in his own town had handicap access as well as OLMC, he is alleged to have said that neither church would do.
This selection by the synod delegation was a no-brainer - except for those who have a deep-seated prejudice against Italian-Americans. All the churches in Nesquehoning are "centrally located." Perhaps it is time to demand the same equal rights as are guaranteed to all ethnicities in American society.
Ethnic Italian parishes in the Allentown Diocese have almost disappeared.
Way to Go

Pocono Lake, PA

#9 Jan 2, 2009
You said it all Rose......
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#10 Jan 2, 2009
I would say that the specialty of the Diocese of Allentown is to
create hardships everywhere. These geniuses also made a mess in Mcadoo by leaving a ramshackled church to meet the needs of Catholics of six parishes. There are 3 excellent structures standing closed. Meanwhile, the diocese selected St. Patrick's, a rundown building, horrible handicapped facilities, inaccessible restroom, crumbling foundation and no parking. Now the diocese expects the good-natured (read: foolish and gullible) folks to pick up the bills for a new ramp, a new restroom, and a parking area. Disgrace!!!!!!!!!
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#11 Jan 2, 2009
Lisa B - from Bethlehem wrote:
This is the issue in many of the towns that have had to see their parishes close. The smallest church in size, no handicap accessibility, no available parking, etc, seemed to be the preferred choice Churches of the Diocese. Makes me wonder if the Bishop wants ALL people to attend Church. My question in all of this has been, When is the Bishop going to go around and visit these towns and these parishes and these people to whom he brought such dramatic changes in their lives? Many of these people have their Church as their life. Perhaps had he gone out and visited, he would have had more of an educated decision being made. It's not impossible for him to enter Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. Bishop Welsh did it plenty of times. In fact there are many paved roads that lead to all of these towns. Get a GPS or Google Maps - trust me, he can find them. As for Bethlehem, it's just next to Allentown - drive east and you will eventually enter it.
If Bishop Cullen is concerned about his own life and limb, he better think twice about entering the firetrap in Mcadoo.
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#12 Jan 2, 2009
Lisa B - from Bethlehem wrote:
This is the issue in many of the towns that have had to see their parishes close. The smallest church in size, no handicap accessibility, no available parking, etc, seemed to be the preferred choice Churches of the Diocese. Makes me wonder if the Bishop wants ALL people to attend Church. My question in all of this has been, When is the Bishop going to go around and visit these towns and these parishes and these people to whom he brought such dramatic changes in their lives? Many of these people have their Church as their life. Perhaps had he gone out and visited, he would have had more of an educated decision being made. It's not impossible for him to enter Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. Bishop Welsh did it plenty of times. In fact there are many paved roads that lead to all of these towns. Get a GPS or Google Maps - trust me, he can find them. As for Bethlehem, it's just next to Allentown - drive east and you will eventually enter it.
Hey, Lisa, Bishop Cullen's GPS only takes him to shore points and classy places--not to the coal region. Do you think he cares a whit about the poor people who cannot now attend Mass? The game is to sell off the best buildings and stick the people with the bills to upgrade the worst of the lot. Slick, slick, slick and soooooooo shameful!
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#13 Jan 2, 2009
New Bishop wrote:
The bishop is retiring, or at least he has turned in his resignation. Does anyone know how that (retirement) all works? I don't think he is willing to subject himself to visiting all the parishes now that he is retiring. It would be very painful in any town. I always felt that we should all walk in the footsteps of Christ, no matter what the issue is at hand. Keep this in mind - WWJD - what would Jesus do? Bishop Cullen should ask himself, WWJD and get out of Allentown for a few days and go around and visit. It would help both sides, I know it would. He can do it but I don't think Bishop Cullen has the personality to engage in this type of rescue mission. He can take Matt Kerr with him in case he does not know what to say. Ok, so if anyone can help us all understand what the next steps will be to find the new Bishop, that would be helpful.
We, the people who pick up the bills and feel the pain, have no say in selecting a new Bishop. That is up to the Vatican. Bishop Cullen has no interest in facing us. He has nothing to say to us. He is probably merely peeved that some filed appeals. He wanted this matter over and done; with $$$$$ in his purse and wherever else he owes it. Plain and simply the truth. HE DOES NOT CARE. We shouldn't even for a minute pretend he does.
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#14 Jan 2, 2009
Don Schenk wrote:
1.) It wasn't the bishop, but committees that were at least two-to-one lay, that decided which churches had to be shut down.
2.) These committees considered things like size and location, which had as much to do with "accessibility" as wheelchair ramps. Besides, I have yet to see someone rolling their wheelchair to church; and since the handicaped can either be driven to church or receive a personal visit from an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, central location (for the people who walk) is more important.
3.) This church wants to build a handicap ramp, but the local zoning board is blocking that effort. So I guess you're left with...
WE ARE THE STREET PEOPLE!
STOP PAYING TAXES!
That, and since the AD Times mentioned the at-least-two-to-one makeup of the committtees, and this article mentioned the criterea used to judge which parishes to close, maybe instead of the bishop getting around you should atart reading befotre you post.
1. the committees were duped. they were directed. these people haven't the cunning to pull of such a despicable caper. the script was written; these folks were the standins.
2. well, let them come to Mcadoo and reconsider. a child could tell you they picked the worst of the worst. come on, Don Schenk, be honest for once!
3. how dare you decide for a person with disabilities that they should not want to attend Mass. come to Mcadoo, sir, see the monstrosity chosen there. two excellent structures a block away on either side.

sheesh!!!!!!!!!!
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#15 Jan 2, 2009
lamb46 wrote:
Great post, Rose!
St. Francis, the inferior church building chosen by a very flawed system now wants to pull out all the stops to bring its facility up to code.
How much has it cost so far? Some estimate costs incurred so far for the engineer, architect, and lawyer fees may be about 30,000 dollars.- OLMC church already has TWO side entrances for handicap access.
A possible estimate of the cost of building the ramp to replace the 15 steps at St. Francis would be 90,000 to 130,000 dollars. OLMC has no need for that expense since it already has handicap access.
St. Francis had the fewest parishioners before the infamous decision, and now that at least one of the two suppressed parishes is not cooperationg in the charade, they are falling deeper into debt. The may be 50,000 dollars in arrears for their Catholic school assessment.
No one has yet brought up the fact that the St. Francis church hall has water damage and can never be made handicap accessible because the building will not support an elevator. The OLMC hall has handicap access.
One disabled gentleman from a nearby town spoke in favor of the ramp at the zoning hearing. When it was pointed out to him that a church in his own town had handicap access as well as OLMC, he is alleged to have said that neither church would do.
This selection by the synod delegation was a no-brainer - except for those who have a deep-seated prejudice against Italian-Americans. All the churches in Nesquehoning are "centrally located." Perhaps it is time to demand the same equal rights as are guaranteed to all ethnicities in American society.
Ethnic Italian parishes in the Allentown Diocese have almost disappeared.
Hey, Lamb, seems like Bishop Cullen and his monsignori want to wipe out all vestiges of Polish and Slovak parishes as well.
Hunkie

Washington, DC

#16 Jan 2, 2009
Rev. Drouncheck's integrity is a very open question indeed. See below:

The Rev. Anthony M. Drouncheck, aformer assistant pastor of St. Catharine of Siena Church in Reading,was sentenced in 2002 to two years of probation for tampering with thefinancial records of the church bingo game. He had also been accused ofrigging the church's bingo game and keeping $8,000 in earnings, buteight of the charges, including the alleged theft, were dropped.
Hunkie

Washington, DC

#17 Jan 2, 2009
Don Schenk wrote:
1.) It wasn't the bishop, but committees that were at least two-to-one lay, that decided which churches had to be shut down.
2.) These committees considered things like size and location, which had as much to do with "accessibility" as wheelchair ramps. Besides, I have yet to see someone rolling their wheelchair to church; and since the handicaped can either be driven to church or receive a personal visit from an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, central location (for the people who walk) is more important.
3.) This church wants to build a handicap ramp, but the local zoning board is blocking that effort. So I guess you're left with...
WE ARE THE STREET PEOPLE!
STOP PAYING TAXES!
That, and since the AD Times mentioned the at-least-two-to-one makeup of the committtees, and this article mentioned the criterea used to judge which parishes to close, maybe instead of the bishop getting around you should atart reading befotre you post.
Don, aren't you upset by all the souls lost by these closings? Did you see the NY Times series about how little Owensboro Kentucky is recruiting missionary priests to keep her beloved parishes open? If Owensboro can, why not the LV?
Fact Writer

Bethlehem, PA

#18 Jan 2, 2009
The following is an article written by Stephen Antalics in this newspaper some months back. This is the story for OLMC and other churches. The Implementation study was a set-up with the bishop telling the Synod which churches he wanted closed, i.e; the ones which would bring the best price on the real estate market. Smart move for all parishioners: No money to any diocesan appeal, they will get it from church sales. The article follows.

"The Diocese of Allentown has two churches, one of which is destined to be closed. The churches are separated by a few city blocks. For objective comparisons. call them Church 1 and Church 2.

Church 1 is fully accessible to the handicapped and has two parking lots to accommodate all parishioners. Ongoing maintenance has kept the building in excellent condition. It has a full basement and a well- equipped kitchen.

Church 2 is not equipped to handle the handicapped, other than a few curbside parking spots and has no parking lot. There are questions about the physical condition of the church.

Church 1 is St. Joseph's Church, which is to be closed, and Church 2, Ss. Cyril & Methodius, is to become the new parish church for both communities in South Bethlehem.

This decision has befuddled a number of objective minded individuals. St. Joseph's is the centerpiece of the Bethlehem-Murska Sobota Sister City relationship. Ambassadors have attended annual flag-raising ceremonies and foreign dignitaries have seen fit to come to Bethlehem because of St. Joseph's Church.

Might the parishioners of St. Joseph's feel that God has accidentally overlooked them when He bestowed upon the deciding council His Divine Guidance so its members would act with true, objective wisdom?

Stephen C. Antalics Jr. "
goofing up everywhere

Catawissa, PA

#19 Jan 2, 2009
Hunkie wrote:
Rev. Drouncheck's integrity is a very open question indeed. See below:
The Rev. Anthony M. Drouncheck, aformer assistant pastor of St. Catharine of Siena Church in Reading,was sentenced in 2002 to two years of probation for tampering with thefinancial records of the church bingo game. He had also been accused ofrigging the church's bingo game and keeping $8,000 in earnings, buteight of the charges, including the alleged theft, were dropped.
Drouncheck is only one of many. it seems the vicar forane in Schuylkill robbed the parishes blind. there are many bad characters in this production. some never get written about in news articles. so many of Cullen's boys are tainted.
goofing up everywhere

Moosic, PA

#20 Jan 2, 2009
Central location? All the Churches in Mcadoo are within a block or two of one another. Another BOGUS argument. Will it ever end?

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