Thursday, June 25, 2009

Channel 13: Two Greece churches may be closing

Last Thursday (June 18) a Channel 13 reporter and cameraman were at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Greece talking with people about the possible closing of the parish.  An OLM parishioner who happened to be present tells me he was told the station was pursuing a "larger story" that involved the situation at OLM.

Last night Channel 13's Patrice Walsh aired the following.  If there is indeed more to come she did not mention it.

Two Roman Catholic churches in the town of Greece could be closing.

Although it’s still a recommendation, with dwindling attendance, mounting bills and a priest shortage, church members fear it will happen.

Jack and Pat Howell's son was married last weekend at Holy Name Church in Greece. The Howells now attend Our Lady of Mercy Church.

Both churches were created at a time when the church was growing and Kodak was hiring.

The future of both parishes is uncertain, at best.

“Yes, we are very attached, we will miss that sense of community” Jack Howell said. “It's a big part of people's lives, it's a big part of our lives.

A committee of the Rochester Catholic Diocese is studying the future of six churches in Greece. It has recommended the closing of the Holy Name of Jesus and Our Lady of Mercy churches.

This is not a mandate; nevertheless parishioners fear it could happen. Some people are sad, others are angry. Attendance at both churches is down, and they must share one priest. Closing both buildings would save an estimated $500,000, which, the committee say,s (sic) could be used to make the four remaining parishes stronger.

Deacon Dick Lombard has worked at both churches. “I'm sad at the possibility. I'm sad for the people…the pain they feel,” he said.

Both churches have been open with parishioners about the recommended closings, but according to the diocese, no final decisions affecting the future of any of the parishes have been adopted by the full committee.

There are several churches within miles of each other in Greece that could absorb people if these churches close.

The diocese cautions that there is no final decision yet, and Bishop Matthew Clark will have the final say.

A decision is expected in six months to a year.

Three weeks ago I reported on this situation here, with a follow-up here.


Anonymous said...

Shame on Fr. Gagnier and Bishop Clark. Come out and admit what you are planning to do, you two cowards!

Anonymous said...

Bishop Clark is going to fleece the parishioners at Our Lady of Mercy for the one million dollars that they paid, for the renovation of their church.

Shame on Bishop Clark.

The parishioners need a good lawyer to sue Bishop Clark and the diocese for ownership of the parish. They need to prove that the existing New York State Religious Corporation Law is unconstitutional. The law basically gives Bishop Clark total ownership of the buildings and property that he did not pay for.

Mike said...

Anon. 9:16,

Hasn't that that law already been upheld by higher NY State courts?

I'm thinking of the recent, local case where a break-away Episcopalian congregation tried to keep its church building, but the courts ruled that the building belonged to the Episcopalian diocese, not the parishioners.

Anonymous said...

Will Clark summon the courage to preside over the closing Masses?

No, he won't.

Anonymous said...

Allowing the parishioners to sue for ownership of the parish would create an incredibly, incredibly ugly legal precedent and potentially allow for dissidents to take over Church property.

The solution to this tragedy is not of this world.

Anonymous said...

Do the parishioners want to sit back and watch Bishop Clark walk off with their one million dollars or do they want to sue him and change the New York State Religious Corporation Law, so that thousands of Parishioners won't have to be devastated by one out of control bishop?

Bishop Clark is allowing a few dissidents to push his personal agenda for women priests and to allow lay preaching. The dissidents are now being exposed at

Larry said...

I reead all 6 comments regarding the Catholic church closures and not one person suggested praying to our Lord for His help. So sad...