Far and wide in the USA we hear about dioceses that are – allegedly – “forced” to close parishes.
Perhaps another approach to those moribund parishes could be tried before closing them.
Here is an interesting “brick by brick” story from Ottawa.
With Latin mass, a parish secures its future by drawing from the past
By Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Ste-Anne’s in Lowertown was built in 1873, in the classic form: stone walls, stained glass, a central spire, beautiful lines — what a kid would draw with a crayon if you said, “Hey kid, draw a church.” [Isn't the case that these are the sort of churches that get closed? They are in older areas of cities or were built by loving immigrants in the countryside.]
Much happened in the next 135 or so years. But nothing like the events of April 2, 2009, when a wall very nearly fell in.
Only an hour before the church was to be occupied, a portion of the upper west wall collapsed, sending a beam hurtling onto the church floor, crashing through eight rows of pews. On the way, an antique chandelier, later replaced for $50,000 in insurance funds, was destroyed.
Repairs would take months, cost close to $1 million; the congregation would have to vacate, eventually disperse.
Could anything save Ste-Anne’s, the francophone parish on Old St. Patrick Street that had always lived in the shadow of nearby Notre-Dame Basilica?
Well, two years later, we have the answer. Latin. Yes, Latin. Carpe diem.
Early in June, the parish of St. Clement’s, on nearby Mann Avenue in Sandy Hill, will move in.
It is the only church of its kind in the archdiocese: masses are still said in traditional Latin, with the priest facing the front of the church, back to the worshippers, [sigh... we just can't shake that error, that cliché...] the so-called “Extraordinary Form” of the Catholic rite that was largely abandoned in 1965. To make it even more distinct, homilies are done in English and in French; one after the other, possibly Ottawa’s only trilingual mass.
In the short term, the parish needs to deal with how to make Ste-Anne’s “old again”, in the sense of restoring the sanctuary to something approximating its original look. Two smaller side altars will also be brought from St. Clement’s.
Perhaps the most remarkable part of the whole story is that a church, in a real sense going back in time to use a so-called dead language has managed to draw 400 on a typical Sunday, grow its congregation, attract three priests and young families and put its future on stable footing.
“It’s not unusual to have people drive two hours to come to our mass,” says Barry McMahon, 63, a parishioner for about 14 years.
Read the rest there.
BTW… the priest there is Fr. Philip Creurer, FSSP. Yes, Fraternity of St. Peter.