Boston Globe article on the closing of Southie’s Holy Trinity Church

A reader sent me this article from The Boston Globe, sad city of parish closings.  My emphases and comments.

Losing a Space to Soar

By Yvonne Abraham  |  June 11, 2008

It’s not what you expect to see when you step into a Catholic church these days.

Demurely dressed women in lace mantillas. A priest with his back to the congregation [Well... not really.. but okay.]: In nomini Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.

Bells ringing. Gregorian chant floating down from the choir loft.  [Sounds good to me.]

But here it all is at Holy Trinity German Church, on Shawmut Avenue in the South End, at the start of a sweltering Sunday.

About 100 people from Bourne and West Roxbury and all over come for the 9 a.m. Latin Mass. They are men and women of all ages, Catholics convinced that their church made a big mistake when it did away with the Latin Mass.  [WDTPRSers do not favor the term "the Latin Mass", but let's move along.]

"I don’t get anything out of the [English] Mass," says Kathleen Stone, 59, of Hull. "There is a lack of reverence. This is my time alone with God."  [I should hope she could at least get the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ out of "English Mass".  Still, the way some Masses are celebrated, we can forgive the momentary lack of perspective.  Also, the issue isn't language.  We don't like "the English Mass" any more than "the Latin Mass" as a useful term.]

This grand church is the perfect setting for a Latin Mass. [As so many of them were.  Immigrants scrimped and saved, sacrificed deeply to build these beautiful churches, later treated with so little respect for the people who built them.]
 
Incongruous in one of the few unprettified parts of the South End, its puddingstone and granite exterior is impressive enough.

But walking through Holy Trinity’s doors will take your breath away.  ["But Father! But Father!", someone might be wondering, "Don't you prefer one of these nice new modern churches?  You know... the one's that look like a bowling alley or a parking ramp?"]

Light filters through huge, deeply hued, stained, etched, and painted glass windows. Enormous, hand-carved statues of the Twelve Apostles look down from the walls. Immense pillars hold up impossibly high, sky-blue gothic arches.

Parishioners say it was mostly working people who scraped together the money to turn the church, which opened in 1877 to serve thousands of German immigrants, into a place resembling the ornate cathedrals they left behind, by cramming it with paintings and statues.

But Stone and the others have just three Sundays left at Holy Trinity.

The Archdiocese of Boston is closing the church June 30, partly because its congregation is too small to sustain it, officials say.

Parishioners at Holy Trinity, like those in many of the churches that have been closed, are mighty angry. They are probably going to appeal the archdiocese’s decision. But the church closing isn’t the end of the Latin Mass in these parts. In fact, the Latin Mass is having a resurgence.

The parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton offers Latin Masses now, and that is where some of Holy Trinity’s worshipers have already gone, reluctantly.

Last year, Pope Benedict XV loosened the rules, allowing any church with enough support to offer Masses in Latin. [Actually, the provisions of Summorum Pontificum go far beyond that.]  Four other local churches now have them, too, so the Latin Mass will survive this closing.

Less certain is the future of that lovely church itself, designed and built to outlast all of the transformations within it.

The Archdiocese has closed about 60 parishes since it began its consolidation four years ago. A few churches have been sold to other denominations. Some have been turned into housing, including condominiums. In the happiest cases, their windows have been pulled out and sent to other parishes, their statues and pulpits and stations of the cross scattered across the country. It’s too soon to know what will happen here.

Susan Long saw her old church, the parish of Saints Peter and Paul on Broadway in South Boston, turned into condos, and she can’t bear the thought of the same thing happening at Holy Trinity, where she says the Latin Mass gave her a spiritual reawakening.

"I was baptized there," she says. "Now there are people sitting at a holy place smoking cigarettes."  [Does this not say it all?]

We have paid a lot of attention to the communities like this one, broken apart by church closings, and rightly so.

But sitting in Holy Trinity for an hour, imagining this beautiful place sectioned off for granite countertops and walk-in closets, you realize there are other casualties in this whole painful process.

Like so many other churches representing the highest aspirations of long-gone Catholics, this grand, transcendent place may ultimately not transcend at all.

Yvonne Abraham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at abraham@globe.com
 

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30 Responses to Boston Globe article on the closing of Southie’s Holy Trinity Church

  1. Phil says:

    That there are closures is, however regrettable, probably unavoidable. But that more often than not, the old, well designed and beautiful churches are the ones to go is a disgrace. Yes, they cost a lot more in upkeep than your average refurbished gymnastics hall, but in some cases looking just at the dollars (or euros) saved is a very poor choice – spiritually, and in the long term even financially.

    My advice for a stable and financially sound parish:

    - reverent Masses

    - an old, impressing or beautiful church (gothic or neo gothic is just about the best you can have in my book)

    - a functioning choir

    Yes, I know it shouldnt matter in principle, but at the end of the day it does matter: if we’re awe-struck by our experience or if we had rolling eyes and sighs of desperation will affect donations. We’re human in that too.

  2. Matt Q says:

    Tragic and offensive loss! Egan acts like he’s just getting rid of an old couch. NO regard for the Faithful, the neighborhood or the treasures within. Just liquidated by pushing paper sight unseen.

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    I think the parishoners should get together and buy off the contents of the church to try and save as much of it as they can before it gets to the wrong people or in the trash.

  3. Matt Q says:

    Sorry. O’MALLY, not Egan. What a dummy.

  4. EJ says:

    If the parish isn’t sustainable as is now, wouldn’t it have been a grand idea for the Cardinal to invite the FSSP or the ICKSP in and simply “give” them the parish? I know that the Cardinal is respectful, but unenthusiastic, of the EF – but one would hope that he and the archdiocese would do all in their power to save this spiritual and architectural jewel in their midst, and the hundred plus souls who worshiped regularly there.

  5. Chironomo says:

    I played as a substitute at Holy Trinity a few times during my tenure in Boston. It is truly a jewel. Why not close the nearby 1970′s “meeting hall” and move their entire operation to this church instead of closing this church and moving everybody to the “meeting hall”…?? I have a suspicion that many of the “parish closings” were done with an intent to eradicate some of the more elaborate and ornate structures that were too much of a “connection to our past” for some people.

  6. Padre Steve says:

    How sad. This is a beautiful Church! Unless we see a renewal of many of our Dioceses and a new growth in vocations this trend toward closing will sadly continue. Pray for vocations!

  7. Gladiatrix says:

    I live in SE London, and there are several churches here which lost their congregations over the decades. Many of them have been converted into places to live, or, in one case, a residential home for the elderly. The dearth of attendance proved so great in the 19th century that an Act was passed permitting the closure of churches, many of which disappeared completely. It seems to me, even as an Anglican, that change of use is better than demolition. There is also in the City of London the surviving tower of a church destroyed in both the Great Fire and later the Blitz; it has been converted into what was apparently one of the most expensive apartments ever sold in the City. Viewers of “Spooks” [Called MI-5 in the USA. And I remember that episode. - Fr. Z] will have seen it in the episode involving ‘dead drops’. By contrast, another church destroyed in the Blitz, part of which survived is both partly in use (not for services) and partly a garden of remembrance.

    For those who are interested the Bank of England is built on the site of the St Martin’s church mentioned in the nursery rhyme. So much for the parable of the money changers in the Temple.

  8. Matt Q says:

    EJ wrote: If the parish isn’t sustainable as it is now, wouldn’t it have been a grand idea for the Cardinal to invite the FSSP or the ICKSP in and simply “give” them the parish? I know that the Cardinal is respectful, but unenthusiastic, of the EF – but one would hope that he and the archdiocese would do all in their power to save this spiritual and architectural jewel in their midst, and the hundred plus souls who worshiped regularly there.”

    )(

    EJ, I don’t think he cares. I think he just wants to unload them and be done with it. Also, I think the timing of the article is sad. This news was released on the 12th.

    “Catholic World News Brief
    Vatican Rejects Appeal on Boston Parish Closings

    Boston, Jun. 11, 2008 (CWNews.com) – Disaffected Catholics in the Boston archdiocese have been informed that the **Vatican** **has** **rejected** their latest plea to forestall the closing of their parishes.

    Representatives of eight different parishes slated for closing in a massive archdiocesan “restructuring” campaign filed a canonical appeal with the Vatican to halt the process. That appeal was rejected by the Congregation for Clergy. On further appeal the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court of appeal, found that the parishioners’ canonical argument was “clearly lacking any basis.”

    So much for relying on Rome for anything.

  9. Sam says:

    As much as I respect Cardinal O’Malley, this particular church closing stinks. He could have and should have invited the FSSP or the ICK to take over Holy Trinity, but he did not do so for reasons unknown to me. The fix has been in for Holy Trinity since about 2001 when there was a visitation from the auxiliary bishop administrator of the Central Region of the Archdiocese. We showed him a vibrant parish community consisting of both the indult (Extraordinary Form) Mass community and the German-English Novus Ordo Mass community. This was an integrated parish where both the Latins and the Germans (as we colloquially referred to ourselves) got along in true Christian charity for the good of the whole parish. Yet three years later when O’Malley did the configuration process which decided to close HT, he said that the parish was dying demographically because he only counted the statistics for the ethnic German community instead of also counting the statistics for the indult community.

  10. RBrown says:

    The sad truth is that a lot of the old urban Catholic neighborhoods now don’t have many Catholics. Not only is it sad that churches in those areas are being razed, but just as sad that they are often being replaced by suburban airplane hanger/mausoleum hybrids.

  11. Maynardus says:

    Unfortunately there are numerous threads of this tangled web… and they seem to intersect at 140 Shawmut Ave:

    1.) The Archdiocese of Boston is indeed experiencing a financial crisis due to fiscal as and spiritual mismanagement. Coupled with this is a continually worsening shortage of priests, these factors seem to necessitate a reorganization of some sort.

    2.) The “fix” was in fact put in, many years ago, to favor the retention of St. James the Greater (nearby) at the expense (literally) of Holy Trinity. The fruits of this “deal” ultimately included:

    - No permanent pastor of Holy Trinity – no chaplain designated for either the TLM or German communities – no regular celebrant of the TLM.

    - Numerous accounting irregularities including the illicit transfer of a large sum of money from Holy Trinity to St. James. Eventually the repayment of this sum required St. James to borrow that amount from the Archdiocese, vividly illustrating the true financial condition and viability of the respective parishes.

    3.) The Archdiocese needs money and Holy Trinity represents a very valuable piece of real estate. More valuable than St. James.

    4.) Cardinal O’Malley has not the slightest concern about liturgical matters, quite frankly he does not seem to understand even slightly the motivation of the Faithful who are attracted to the traditional Mass. One may also infer from his statements and actions that he sees no abiding value in the “cultural” patrimony of the Church in Boston.

    So with the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over this parish for many years, a lack of pastoral leadership, and enormous obstacles to anything resembling parish life; Mass attendance and parish membership have been unnaturally supppressed by elements beyond the control of the parish. After thus decimating the congregation – and the ledgers – the Archdiocese is able to cite these dire metrics as evidence of a moribund parish which fully justifies the decision to close it.

    I’ve tried to summarize this as succinctly and fairly as possible and I don’t want to give the impression that ten or fifteen or twenty years ago Holy Trinity was a thriving, bustling parish. But the TLM “saved” Holy Trinity and made it economically viable, with the slightest bit of goodwill from the incumbent archbishop or his predecessor it would in fact thrive and indeed shine as one of the jewels of the Archdiocese.

    This may sound like a bit of editorializing but everything stated above is factual. And hence scandalous.

    (OK, my comment about Cdl. O’Malley’s opinion about our patrimony represents my opinion but it is hardly unfounded…)

  12. TJM says:

    It’s heart breaking that this Church is slated to close. I am unfamiliar with this area in Boston. Is the essential problem that the population
    base of Catholics near the Church are gone? Tom

  13. Heck… I’ll come an be pastor there!

    Still, it is really too bad about all this.

  14. Flambeaux says:

    But Father,

    Would you really want to incardinate in Boston?

  15. dcs says:

    A few churches have been sold to other denominations.

    There are few things more disheartening than driving past a suppressed inner-city parish church and seeing a big Protestant marquee sign outside.

  16. Matt Q says:

    Maynardus wrote:

    “1.) The Archdiocese of Boston is indeed experiencing a financial crisis due to fiscal and spiritual mismanagement. Coupled with this is a continually worsening shortage of priests, these factors seem to necessitate a reorganization of some sort.

    [[ Yes, they still have a debt to pay from the molestation scandal. ]]

    2.) The “fix” was in fact put in, many years ago, to favor the retention of St. James the Greater (nearby) at the expense (literally) of Holy Trinity. The fruits of this “deal” ultimately included:

    – No permanent pastor of Holy Trinity – no chaplain designated for either the TLM or German communities – no regular celebrant of the TLM.

    – Numerous accounting irregularities including the illicit transfer of a large sum of money from Holy Trinity to St. James. Eventually the repayment of this sum required St. James to borrow that amount from the Archdiocese, vividly illustrating the true financial condition and viability of the respective parishes.

    [[ It's obvious this is a manipulated closure, not merely an unfortunately bankrupt parish. ]]

    3.) The Archdiocese needs money and Holy Trinity represents a very valuable piece of real estate. More valuable than St. James.

    [[ Again, it's molestation money, plain and simple for the most part. This isn't even half-way over. Right here in Los Angeles, not one check has even been issued yet to any of the victims. The archdiocese is desperately scraping up money to cover their share of the costs. It's to the point it's "asking" parishes to make "contributions" to help make up difference. For any of you not in Los Angeles, let me tell you, there isn't any **asking**, it's "Make arrangements and fork it over!"

    Yeah, I can see why parishes are closing in Boston, and the statistics used were disingenuious as stated above and do not reflect the reality of the parish. ]]

    4.) Cardinal O’Malley has not the slightest concern about liturgical matters, quite frankly he does not seem to understand even slightly the motivation of the Faithful who are attracted to the traditional Mass. One may also infer from his statements and actions that he sees no abiding value in the “cultural” patrimony of the Church in Boston.

    [[ Shudder to think what would happen if he ever got to be in charge of the any of the Franciscan shrines or other holy places in Italy or Israel. ]]

    So with the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over this parish for many years, a lack of pastoral leadership, and enormous obstacles to anything resembling parish life; Mass attendance and parish membership have been unnaturally supppressed by elements beyond the control of the parish. After thus decimating the congregation–and the ledgers–the Archdiocese is able to cite these dire metrics as evidence of a moribund parish which fully justifies the decision to close it.

    I’ve tried to summarize this as succinctly and fairly as possible and I don’t want to give the impression that ten or fifteen or twenty years ago Holy Trinity was a thriving, bustling parish, but the TLM “saved” Holy Trinity and made it economically viable, with the slightest bit of goodwill from the incumbent archbishop or his predecessor it would in fact thrive and indeed shine as one of the jewels of the Archdiocese.

    This may sound like a bit of editorializing but everything stated above is factual. And hence scandalous.

    (OK, my comment about Cdl. O’Malley’s opinion about our patrimony represents my opinion but it is hardly unfounded…)”

    [[ Yes, the facts presented are factual and scandalous, and your patrimonial opinion is shared by many, Maynardus, so don't lose your lunch over it. :) ]]

  17. Lynne says:

    “It’s heart breaking that this Church is slated to close. I am unfamiliar with this area in Boston. Is the essential problem that the population
    base of Catholics near the Church are gone? Tom”

    The church is on the border of Chinatown and there are several Asians who attend Mass there. Because it is urban, there may also be some pious street-people (homeless?) types who may attend. They are peaceful and seem to appreciate the Mass. As to a base of Catholics near the church, I live in a suburb about 8 miles away as the crows flies, north of Boston. It takes me merely 20 minutes door-to-door to get there. It’s a convenient TLM to attend if you live in the city and prefer/depend on public transportation.

    I won’t say what I think of the Cardinal.

  18. magdalen says:

    As heartbreaking as it is to sell of these irreplaceable treasures, and as awful as it is when a protestant denom takes it over or it becomes condos, having the sacred place become a brewery or a mosque is even worse.

    At my parent’s megachurch in San Antonio, it is a large brick ediface but it has some little beauty in it and it is in the windows rescued from some beautiful church somewhere.

  19. Rob says:

    For some background, please read the Cardinal’s Letter of
    Intent and the Parish Council’s reponse in the Parish’s June 2008 Newsletter.

    http://www.holytrinitygerman.org/monatsbote/2008/Monatsbote-June-2008.htm

    1. With regard to money taken from the collections of Holy Trinity and used by the now retired Pastor of St. James the Greater (and Administrator of Holy Trinity) to a mounting deficit in his own parish. He believed the money collected from Holy Trinity (“Special Maintenance and “Good Will” Funds) could be be used as he saw fit, unbeknownst to many generous TLM and German folks. We were all caught by surprise when the Archdiocese began its overtures to suppress Holy Trinity in May 2004, stating that we were running a large deficit ourselves. Based on our collections this was impossible…to the tune of $177,000. In fact, Cardinal Law already forgave St. James debt once during the Jubilee Year 2000. Holy Trinity had never at any time in its 160 year history been fiscally in arrears. For most of its history Holy Trinity has been a commuter parish for generous German Americans. Even as many integrated into their suburban parishes most continued to financially support HT until very recently. It continued to be a spiritual and cultural home.

    2. Cardinal O’Malley to the best of my knowledge ever visited Holy Trinity Church, despite the fact it is a seven minute walk from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. A couple of years ago he visited “The Bridge Over Troubled Waters” social service for troubled youth, which occupied the Rectory. He was asked if he would like to see the Church, surprisingly Cardinal O’Malley simply stated he was not interested.

    3. When the original Letter of Intent was issued in May 2004, there was no mention of parishioners who attended the Indult. parishioners (at least 250-300 strong) who had over 90% Mass attendance with frequent Confession, many, many Baptisms weddings, requiems. Instead, the official line was “declining German demographics (after all, it continues to be a German personal parish)”, “a fiscal deficit” and “an extremely weak Sacramental Index” This statistical metric interestingly did not account for the Sacrament of Penance. Bishop Lennon, incidentally is its proud author. The contribution both spiritual and fiscal of Indult. parishioners (1990-2007) was ignored and continues under the current Motu Proprio.

    4. Nevertheless, the Archdiocese of Boston maintains Holy Trinity must close. Since April 2007 it has been facilitated by deliberate downgrades. First, take away its Indult and move it elsewhere, effectively eliminating 2/3 of active parishioners. Evict its tenant social service agencies Kit Clark Senior Services for elderly homeless men and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” home for at risk youth. The fact these tenant organizations had extreme difficulty relocating within the area was the primary reason Holy Trinity has remained open since 2004. Only recently, have these organizations have begun an expensive relocation process. It is ironic that it seems the spiritual welfare of Holy Trinity’s parishioners is of secondary concern to the Archdiocese.

  20. js says:

    a few corrections and points to consider

    1) many inner-city Parishes cannot pay their bills. Holy Trinity is surrounded by such Parishes. Holy Trinity is NOT one of them.

    2) many inner-city Parishes have consistently dwindling congregations. Holy Trinity is surrounded by many such Parishes. Holy Trinity is NOT one of them.

    3) BOTH German (OF) and Tridentine (EF) communities have petitioned to bring in one of the Institutes (ICK, FSSP, etc) to Holy Trinity, a rare unity among Rite groups, and have been rebuffed by the Archdiocese. For the last 13 years. The attempted dissolution of the unified communities was announced JUST before the people learned that the Holy Father wanted Tridentine Personal Parishes established.

    4) the Cardinal’s decision to FORCE the Tridentine community to worship at Mary Immaculate (in the West Suburbs, inaccessible to the elderly, students and inner-city Parishioners), until the MP would allow them to re-establish it, came 2 weeks after the Bishops received their advance copies. It took 6 months after the MP (9 months of petitions) for the Cardinal to (accidentally) allow the TLM back, and the move to close Holy Trinity was then immediately rushed to the Presbyteral Council (and considered 3 weeks after the TLM returned).

  21. Boots says:

    With the growth of the TLM, and with nascent burb-flight phenomena (the decline in suburban populations and the resurgence of the urban), the selling off of this church is not only sad but it’s practically criminal. The Church has for ages been a rock, not only a rock spiritually but in the temporal world, selling off of property in the center of our most populous cities because of a momentary population shift is one of the worst ideas to come out of the past forty years.

    When gas keeps creeping up, and the suburbs empty out, doubtless anyone will want to save the churches built there, but when we all move back to cities, we’ll find our old churches gone.

  22. Don’t forget that the good people of Holy Trinity were forbidden by first Cardinal Law and then Cardinal O’Malley from advertising the Traditional Latin Mass.

    They’re cashing in their chips. Forget about long range vision and the salvation of souls. Show me the money! And yet we’re constantly remonstrated with about “the poor”.

    The homeless people who are served by the many social service programs there and the career counselling services are being displaced as well. But hey there’s money to be made!

  23. Two things come to mind from reading the comments:
    1 – Just about all national parishes in the archdiocese of Boston have been supressed, even those with greater “viability.” From looking at the archdiocesan website it seems that the national parishes were a target for closing. In many ways they became redundant as their founding populations assimilated and immigration slowed or stopped. Immigrant communities are now served from territorial parishes rather than national parishes being established as was the past practice.
    2 – There are no “1970’s meeting hall” churches nearby. The three closest churches (Cathedral of the Holy Cross, St. James, and Our Lady of Victories) are all 19th century buildings.

    These observations are not meant to excuse the way this has been handled by the archdiocese. Treasures such as Holy Trinity should be preserved but it need not be a parish church. The Shrine of St. Joseph in St. Louis, MO comes to mind. Holy Trinity could still be the focal point New England’s German community with some creativity.

  24. Rob says:

    Letter to Boston’s South End News:

    http://www.mysouthend.com/index.php?ch=opinion&sc=letters&sc2=news&sc3=&id=75468

    Thursday Jun 5, 2008

    Don’t close Holy Trinity

    Dear Cardinal O’Malley:
    This letter is sent to express my dismay and objection to your intention to close Holy Trinity German Catholic Church, slated for June 30, 2008 as stated in your recent letter to the church. This church, founded in 1844, has had an unbroken line of German families and visitors from abroad who have found a spiritual home there. Prior to their forced relocation to Newton, over 250 parishioners attending the Latin Mass at Holy Trinity also considered it to be their parish. Since that time, over 100 new attendees of the Latin Mass have been present each Sunday for the Latin Mass. The church also housed the Medeiros Center and programs for disadvantaged youth. In short, it was and is a very viable church.

    Holy Trinity German Catholic Church was built with the sweat, toil and monetary contributions of the German people who built it over 160 years ago. Nicknamed “The Christmas Tree Church,” a church of this magnificence could never be built again in today’s dollars and with today’s craftsmen – neither the dollars nor the skills exist. To destroy a spiritual community and a building of this stature is almost beyond comprehension. In a part of the city undergoing runaway gentrification, what is the message you are sending if you hand it over to a developer as a knock-down for quick cash? We have seen this thoughtless pattern throughout Boston’s history, where viable neighborhoods and institutions are bulldozed – and not for any higher spiritual good. If someone were to suggest that the Old North Church be torn down to make way for luxury condos there would be an outcry. Holy Trinity German Catholic Church is a large piece of Boston’s history – a monument to the wave of immigrants who built it. Today it continues to stand strong and shelter people of all ages and ethnicities and also the disadvantaged who find help there.

    There is an old saying: “He who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it.” Before you send in the wrecking ball, I hope you will think about what you are destroying and what you are destroying it for. Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple. What would he have done is they had tried to turn it into condos? Surely he would not have handed them the keys. It is my sincere prayer that you will reconsider the closing of our church.
    Sincerely,
    Angelo Messina
    Medford

  25. Confused Convert says:

    Did these Cardinals, Bishops & Archbishops show THIS much lack of judgment in matters like these and the liturgy disasters when they were appointed? If so, why were they appointed?
    It’s very confusing and disheartening to see this kind of decision being made for this parish and others like it. It’s even more confusing and disheartening that the faithful this decision is affecting, that built and kept this parish for generations with their hardwork and sacrifice, are not being listened to by the people they SHOULD trust the most. Their own Bisops!
    Whoa to the money changers in the Temple of the Lord!
    We have no choice but to offer up more prayers and more sacrifices for these Bishops and Cradinals.
    Either way the pain these situations are causing the faithful are not going unnoticed, I’m sure.

  26. Father, I mourn the impending closing of Holy Trinity as someone who attends there frequently. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass that I first experienced there played an enormous role in my personal process of conversion.

    I pray for some last-minute reprieve, but Cardinal O’Malley is determined to close it, to not have any personal parishes under Summorum Pontificum, and to not invite the FSSP in to take it over. He wants it closed, and he wants the money from the sale of the real estate. He is essentially a green eyeshade guy who fixes financial problems in dioceses, and that is what he does. He has left a trail of tragic closings everywhere he has been.

    But one thing. It is located in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Not in South Boston (Southie) the Irish working class neighborhood. They are two different Boston neighborhoods. The South End used to be a black ghetto, but is now an upscale gay neighborhood. The South End is south of downtown Boston, Chinatown, and the Theater District. Southie, or South Boston, is across the Fort Point Channel east of downtown. Of course, in Boston, East Boston is north of the North End, and South Boston is east of the downtown. And if you think that is confusing, try driving our streets!

  27. js says:

    with regard to the money being determinate;

    IT IS EVEN WORSE

    There is LOTS of money pressing for Holy Trinity’s demise, just none of it will go to the benefit of Parishioners or the Church.

    The article referred to the area around Holy Trinity as ungentrified. It is largely commercial and business, ideal for a Church – social services operate during the week without annoying neighbours, and in the evening and weekend, parking is plentiful and traffic light.

    Problem is, the area is ungentrified BECAUSE of Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity is a historic landmark. Rules for development for the area 2 blocks around Holy Trinity are impacted by the presence of Holy Trinity. All the developers who own land around it have an interest in Holy Trinity being turned to rubble, even if they don’t buy it. People with commercial and political links with those developers sat on the Archdiocesan committees discussing the possible closure of Holy Trinity (a move which never made any sense Pastorally). I’m sure lots of money will be made by closing Holy Trinity, not by the Parishioners nor the Church. The empty, debt-ridden Church in Chinatown would have actually sold for more money, but all the exchanges would have been above board .

  28. Confused Convert says:

    “One of the friends of the Von Trapp Family (made famous in the Sound of Music) from before the war was Rev. Francis X. Weiser, S.J. Fr. Weiser became pastor of Holy Trinity at around the same time that the von Trapps settled in Stowe, Vermont. The Von Trapps sang at Holy Trinity on more than one occasion as a personal favor to Fr. Weiser, including a concert for Holy Trinity’s 100th Anniversary Mass in 1944.” ~ From Holy Trinity parish website.

  29. Kathleen says:

    And one block behind Holy Trinity there is this from todays Boston Herald.
    Rome can you hear us??? Save us from these poor Shepherds who sell our Churches out from under us. When did the church get out of the business of salvation of souls and move on to real estate?

    Builder plans hotel for S. End industrial area
    By Scott Van Voorhis | Wednesday, June 18, 2008 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Business & Markets

    One of the first mid-priced hotels to be built in the Hub in years would take shape across the street from the Boston Herald under a proposal by a local developer.

    Newton-based BH Normandy is proposing a 265,000-square-foot hotel that would include 110 parking spaces, according to an initial proposal filed with City Hall. The hotel would be built on a surface parking lot at 275 Albany St., bounded by Traveler and East Berkeley streets.

    The hotel plan is one of a number of proposals for a longtime industrial pocket of the South End now seen by some as one of the city’s last big development opportunities.

    Herald Publisher Patrick Purcell last year entered into a joint venture with a local real estate firm to redevelop the paper’s longtime headquarters and printing plant.

    Across Harrison Avenue, Nordic Properties is renovating the former Teradyne headquarters with plans to rent it out to office and even lab tenants. A number of new, upscale residential projects have also taken shape along Harrison and nearby East Berkeley, not far from the Pine Street Inn.

    “It’s the last frontier,” said Ogden Hunnewell, president of Nordic Properties.

    A spokeswoman for the hotel developer declined comment.

    But in a letter to city officials, the developer, Paul Ferreira of BH Normandy, cited the proposed hotel’s proximity to the new Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in South Boston.

    James Rooney, chief executive of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, said moderately priced hotels are needed to serve the convention industry after a surge in luxury hotel construction over the past few years.

    “It sounds like it would be a mid-priced hotel,” Rooney said. “The total inventory is dominated by high-end (hotels), and not all conventioneers and convention-goers want that price range.”
    http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1101500

  30. Boston_Trad says:

    Are development pressures the reason that Cardinal O’Malley has “decided Holy Trinity German National Parish must close”?

    In addition to the Herald article today (18 June), a hint of developer interest in developing Holy Trinity as property also appeared in The South End News:

    Parishioners prepare appeal of Holy Trinity closure
    by Linda Rodriguez
    managing editor
    Thursday Jun 12, 2008

    . . . “Many questions remain about how exactly this historic church and
    parish community will close. The church building itself, which was
    constructed in 1877 to accommodate the area’s burgeoning German
    Catholic community, was designed and built by the 19th century’s
    preeminent church architect, Patrick Keely. Community members want to
    know exactly what’s going to happen to the building, and shudder to
    think that it may be turned into condos. At the moment, says the Rev.
    John Connolly, administrator to Holy Trinity and rector at the nearby
    Cathedral of the Holy Cross, it’s premature to discuss what will
    happen to the property. While developers have approached the
    Archdiocese about the property over the last four years, the
    organization cannot put the property on the market until it is
    officially closed. And, said Connolly, that means it won’t be put on
    the market until after all appeals to the Archdiocese’s decision have
    been heard.”

    The plans for the hotel may not have been formed four years ago, but developers have been interested in Holy Trinity for a long time – maybe even before it closed. Perhaps they have long wanted to redevelop the northeast portion – what the Globe’s Michael Paulson called “the last ungentrified corner” – of the South End, and the absence of a historic structure in the area would make that redevelopment easier.

    Holy Trinity has already lost a lot of property to redevelopment. In the 1960’s, the parish lost its hall and adjacent school to “urban renewal.” Now it seems that the church itself will be lost in a new round of redevelopment that could encompass several square blocks. Meanwhile, we risk losing an important part of the nineteenth-century patrimony of the Church that could still function as a viable place of worship, drawing people into Boston for something other than shopping and business. (Foreign tourists, by the way, are interested in attending Mass at Holy Trinity when they come to Boston on buisiness. I was in touch with someone from London just this past winter.)