Thursday, December 30, 2010

Window treatment

window of the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven. Blessed Sacrament, Cleve., O. 2009.
electrical 'cans' containing fluorescent tubes, St. Leo Cleve., O.
final presentation of back lit glass. St. Leo, Cleve., O. now.

Lennon has suppressed parishes and sold off their patrimony. Some were ransomed to nearby parishes, some remain available on the internet for purchase. It is very hard for parishioners to find out the location of many items. Though the chancery and Lennon, himself, have made claims of transparency, open clarity and accountability is little in evidence. Perhaps we will find out one day in the future after Lennon is gone.

Some pieces that were part of an unified set have been treated as jigsaw puzzles. See photographs above of one window from Blessed Sacrament, when it was there it was flanked by sidelight windows. They did not accompany the move to St. Leo's. The central window is missing the lower sixth portion. All together seven windows are expected to arrive from Fulton to Broadview Road in Old Brooklyn. Windows were originally set in outside walls to let sunlight through. The current installation is on the wall, in front of switched light fixtures. What would a long time parishioner of Blessed Sacrament think and feel when he comes to St. Leo's, and see something so once familiar.

A side note: Blessed Sacrament had money in the bank, Saint Leo's owed assessments (tax) to the bishop. Similarly, St. Thomas More bought statues from closed parishes, and owes assessments to the bishop.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feast of the Slaughtered Innocents

No picture with this one. Sometimes, i have found a photo of a masterpiece to illustrate or begin an essay; sometimes i have found something nearby to photograph and present here; not to-day. The paintings by Rubens and the rest, do not do justice.

Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying:
A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. — Matthew ii. 16-18.

To-day is Herod's big day. Shakespeare refers to Herod, some eight times. Now, people remember Hamlet's acting advice, and his summation of the bad overacting: It out-Herods Herod. Shakespeare grew up in an England where catholicism was not extinguished. He had seen the Coventry and other mystery plays. This was a scene that played to people in town squares, where there was no stage. Men would mount wagons and carts. The role of Herod was as extravagant as could be mustered. Chaucer two centuries before mentions such an Herod. The Coventry Carol as a lullabye refers to it.

Herod, the king,
In his raging,
Chargéd he hath this day
His men of might
In his own sight
All young children to slay
Herod was a child killer. Everyone knew his wickedness, and children would be scared of him, and fully knew the dread of the tale.

Shakespeare, in Henry V, brings up a more accurate reference to Herod:

...If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Desire the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters,
Your fathers taken by the silver beards
And their most reverend heads dashed to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod’s bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? Will you yield and this avoid
Or, guilty in defense, be thus destroyed? — Henry V, III. iii.
Henry V advises the town of Harfleur to surrender without a fight, without a siege. I can control my soldiers now, but not when they have been deployed, and when they are, only murder and rape will follow.

Now, for years Jonah House in Washington, D.C. has held retreats and demonstrations about the death wars and militarism bring about. Peaceniks that stand against violence, not far from the Pentagon will meet at St. Stephen and the Incarnation in D.C. Catholic Workers in Cleveland, to-day at 4 p.m., will have a small demonstration at Public Square, and then will march to the Cathedral of John the Evangelist.

Yes Rachel weeps for her children. This is an image that is used by some ministries to the unborn and the aborted. Taking of life is killing and murder, and great sadness follows. But in the scriptural text, it is the government that is killing the children. Whether it is the male children of Bethlehem, in order to include Jesus, or the mediæval knights of Herod in the plays, or the military and police of to-day, it is governmental action that causes the deaths.

Those children, two millenia ago in Palestine, were the first anonymous christian martyrs. Martyring of children has not stopped. Rachel still cries, and if she is in Iraq or Afghanistan or some other foreign land, which American hears her?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Window in Massachusetts

Jan Cieplak displaying a crucifix to the troika of bolševiki
In the church of Saint Stanislaus Kostka, in Adams Massachusetts, there is a window with Lenin (no not our boy [Lennon from Boston], every time i type Vladimir Ilič's surname it looks odd), Trotsky and Stalin, and a Polish priest (archbishop) sentenced to death. The well versed reader, certainly, knows of Lenin and his boys, and what they did in the Russian lands, and to the peoples of Holy Mother Russia, but few know Jan Cieplak (*1857, †1926). There were few Catholics of the western rite in Russia. With the coming of atheistic socialism (communism) religion was suppressed. Catholicism, especially in its roman form, was a competing international, and transnational, ideology. It was a competitor for allegiance.

After the deportation of Edward von der Ropp, Jan Cieplak was the highest ranking Latin churchman in Soviet Russia. Petrograd (formerly and once again St. Petersburg, after becoming Leningrad) was under Grigorij Zinoviev (once second to Lenin). Zinoviev wanted an eradication of catholicism. During Lenin's final illness (stroke), Zinoviev, as an ally with Kamenev and Stalin, controlled the Politburo.

In 1923 a show trial of 18 Catholics took place in Moscow. Nikolaj Vasiljevič Krjlenko was the prosecutor. Now, Krjlenko did not care if someone was innocent or guilty, but only the political value of prosecution. The execution of the innocent was a politically useful demonstration. Konstanty Romuald Budkiewicz was executed at Lubjanka Prison early Easter morning. Cieplak was also sentenced to death. After international appeal, Cieplak was released the next year. He went to Poland, Rome, and the US. He visited St. Stanislaus Kostka church in Adams Massachusetts, hence the window. He died, soon thereafter, in Passaic New Jersey. Since 1952 Cieplak has been recognised a Servant of God (an early step towards canonisation).

Stanislaus Kostka was the first church in the New World to have a representation of the Divine Mercy. Two years ago, Timothy McDonnell, the Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts closed them. They have maintained a successful sit-in since.

Why is the church to be closed? The same reason they are closed in other American dioceses: elimination of ethnic parishes, with cash on hand, and rich patrimonies in order to pay off sex scandal lawsuits, and increase episcopal power; a further clerical abuse in American clericalism. A parish and its people who should be lauded are condemned to extinction and exile.

If Servant of God Jan Cieplak is one day recognised as a saint, will he be the patron of a persecuted church and its people against bureaucratic tyranny that cares not a whit about justice, but only the fear it can engender amongst the oppressed?
Postscriptum: 15 February 2011. Rome says re-open the church.

Postscriptum: 1 April 2012. Celebrated Homecoming Mass.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oplatki broken

On another cold day the Casimiri met, the second Christmas in the streets. A cameraman from a local station came by. They all know we will be there, we have been since Lennon evicted the parish last year. There is not much local news to cover on Sundays, there is professional football, and then there is what local news does most frequently—violent deaths, car wrecks and fires. We are always available at 11.30 a.m. Sunday, until we get our church and parish back. If there is no assignment on the desk Sunday, they can get footage for story. The cameraman stayed long enough to hear a carol, or two, and then had to rush to a fire.
The Casimiri sang carols and kolędy. They sang enthusiastically, but were very unenthusiastic about the breezy cold. Afterwards they shared oplatki (wafers) which they broke in pieces and ate. They hugged each other and wished each other a good, and merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Art from Broadway Methodist

detail from Last Supper reproduction at Broadway Methodist, Cleveland
This is a copy of Da Vinci. It is still impressive, and instructive. It is instructive in the religious narrative and its pondering of reaction. Jesus is sharing supper with his disciples, the Twelve, and He announces to them that one is the traitor. So that now, Judas is synonymous with traitor, the last sentence could end, "and He announces to them that one is the Judas". As art, students with sketch pads have a lot to draw. There are many individual objects. There are groups of people. There is Jesus, Himself. Each is a study in itself. All of the years that people sat in front of this work, they could have considered much; especially if a speaker was deadeningly dull. The painting has life. Art students have drawn many inferior studies. Dostojevskij taught us we could be saved by beauty.
Samson by R. Toland Wright (1887-1934) . Cleveland.
On one side of the nave there are four windows of the evangelists, on the other -- the four major prophets. The last window is of Daniel, but one of the scenes is that of the Judge, Samson. Scenes of the Old Testament are paired with the New, this is paired with the Resurrection.

He said: Let me die with the Philistines. And when he had strongly shook the pillars, the house fell upon all the princes, and the rest of the multitude that was there: and he killed many more at his death, than he had killed before in his life. -- Judges xvi. 30.
Some vignettes work better than others. A couple of his prophets seem familiar from drawings. Samson, eyeless and chained to pillars, is a well known story. It is dramatic, and if sketched, instantly recognised; but can we think of a famous painting of the scene. One would think Rubens would have done one. From the nave windows, and this rests underneath the choir loft, this might be the most effective scene. Samson appears as a wrestler or a circus strong man, and the masonry flies and falls.

Wright's œuvre overlaps chronologically with Prohibition, the time after the Great War and before the New Deal. Preliminary research suggests either he was the only Cleveland stained glass artist of the time, or at least the most significant. His work was done in several Protestant churches of note. Many people see stained glass as a primarily Catholic art. I have not found note of his work in a Catholic or Orthodox church.

A series of Wright's windows were destroyed this year, when Euclid Avenue Congregational burned to the ground. Different denominations have differing views and styles of iconography. Sometimes pastors may make a decisive commission. The earliest Congregationalists were extreme iconoclasts. This particular church had a complement of seven portrait windows, and three of them were Catholic figures (St. Monica, St. Francis of Assisi and Christopher Columbus). To some this had to be surprising. Perhaps someone has color photographs of them, they cannot be snapped now.

Broadway Methodist windows were his. On a very overcast day the windows are almost black. When the sun comes through they become very light, some light passes through as if no pigment colored it. To appreciate, and to critique the panes and their subjects one needs to have several viewings under divers light. This is the nature of the art, but these more than the average. On the dark day, the windows appear sooty and grimy. There are storm windows over them. The choir loft window does not share this nature, and does not have the non-figurative sections. The Resurrection aftermath is bright in all weather.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Of church windows and goods

Censer (thurible), incense boat and spoon. Our Lady of Good Counsel, Cleveland, O.

I appreciate stained glass windows. They are art and craftsmanship. They illustrate a story, and pictorially represent ideas and images. Some are accompanied with text.

There are people, who loudly profess their supposed christianity, that delight in assaulting catholicism as paganism, or something similar. Their brassy ignorance is sharply grating. One of their many vexations concerns the 'smells and bells' presentation of the faith. If the use of incense is pagan when catholics use it in churches, it would hold that it was paganistic when the jews of the Old Testament did so too, and such language in the Bible would also be. But rarely do these sort of protestant bigots make those necessarily related, and prior charges.

Psalm 140 DRC
1 I have cried to the, O Lord, hear me: hearken to my voice, when I cry to thee.

2 Let my prayer be directed as incense in thy sight; the lifting up of my hands, as evening sacrifice.
3 Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: and a door round about my lips.
4 Incline not my heart to evil words; to make excuses in sins. With men that work iniquity: and I will not communicate with the choicest of them.

5 The just shall correct me in mercy, and shall reprove me: but let not the oil of the sinner fatten my head. For my prayer also shall still be against the things with which they are well pleased:

6 their judges falling upon the rock have been swallowed up. They shall hear my words, for they have prevailed:

7 as when the thickness of the earth is broken up upon the ground: Our bones are scattered by the side of hell.

8 But o to thee, O Lord, Lord, are my eyes: in thee have I put my trust, take not away my soul.

9 Keep me from the snare, which they have laid for me, and from the stumbling blocks of them that work iniquity.
10 The wicked shall fall in his net: I am alone until I pass.
I was told long ago that a saloon/restaurant on the near West Side used to have items from St. Agnes'. Agnes', before merging with Our Lady of Fatima, was a prestige parish on the East Side. I was told a confessional became a phone booth (also a vanished thing), pews were seating, and stained glass was on the ceiling.

I went there Tuesday. The present ownership has been there four years, some remember the glass on the ceiling, the other stuff may have been gone before the second previous owner had the place. All that remains is a mezzaluna window embedded in brick. It is still lovely.

Some of you may be aware, that, the Cleveland Diocese has contracted with Henniger's to market church objects from closed parishes. Some of this is being advertised on the internet. I am told, one needs to go through the chancery to schedule an appointment with Henniger's to view items. Of course, not everyone is scheduled; nor are all items accounted for in inquiry. People have asked about items and have been given non-answer answers. One such inquiry concerns the multi-statue shrine of Our Lady of Fatima from Saint Lawrence, Cleveland.
Former shrine, now in bleak winter. Statues' whereabouts not public.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter solstice

view from the Broadway parking lot of Broadway United Methodist Church of Our Lady of Lourdes' steeple before noon on the winter solstice of 2010

The high point of the sun is the lowest of the year to-day. Behind and above early morning clouds there was a total lunar eclipse, that some people in North America were able to see.

The catholic church is a czech parish with spanish language masses. The protestant church had a czech congregation (at one time), its final services will be on the Feast of Stephen, the day that the carol has King Wenceslas look out on the snow in the moonlight.

This methodist church has a lone weekend service with less than two dozen participants. The congregation's endowment has been spent, a time ago; and by the rules of the polity of the Methodist Church, the threshold of congregants had not been made.
It is one of three methodist churches in the county closing. The community programmes will continue from Broadway Methodist. Methodist ministries will operate in the North Broadway neighborhood from the offices attached to the sanctuary. Comparatively, the Catholic Church's threshold is one, and many closed parishes were flush with money. The leadership methods of the two churches' in town is different.

Their sanctuary has a life size painted reproduction of Da Vinci's 'Last Supper', and nine large stained glass windows by the Cleveland artist, R. Toland Wright. The windows were commissioned in 1918, and the painting in 1924. The present building's construction began in 1918 and services were held in late December 1919.

The congregation's founding was in 1872, and was part of the home missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Some czechs had left the church, and were anti-clerical and broadly agnostic, and called themselves 'freethinkers', some of these joined protestant congregations. The neighborhood was heavily czech (bohemian) with the catholic parishes of Old St. Wenceslaus (1867) and Our Lady of Lourdes

For more than two generations, both english and czech services were held. In 1968 the congregation joined the United Methodists. For a time beginning in the 1980s a korean presence was there under the name of Korean American United Methodist Church, and as St. Andrew Cooperative Parish.
essay updated and expanded 22 December 2010.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

St. Casimir 4th Sunday of Advent

Christmas is coming soon, and we are in a continuously cold December. The vigils continue. The old stalwarts came.
To-day the Casimiri were joined by a documentary film crew. They were enthused by the crowd, and since they were uncomfortable with the low 20s°F, they must have been favorably awed by the tenacity of faith displayed.
A returning guest, Joseph Dwyer, from St. James announced that there will be a Christmas Eve vigil at St. James at 10 o'clock p.m. St. James also continues to stay together against Bishop Lennon's dictates.
The film crew stayed to have some one-on-one interviews.
Not everyone made it to the right street. It is on East 82nd between Pulaski and Sowinski.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More survey results

The vox populi concerning Richard Lennon's episcopacy is odium populi. Earlier to-day, The Endangered Catholics released results from an internet survey 'Voices of Cleveland Catholics' to the press. It gathered a relatively small response, but it has been the only attempt at collecting anything near a census of responses. The diocese only gives its own opinion on the matter, and that is to sway and not to describe. The press tries to get an equal number of pro and con views, that is to create a false "balance" of equivalency. Clearly, even as limited as the survey may be, it is overwhelming indicative of episcopal failure. The written comments (on questions six and nine) are a strong vein of accusation against Lennon. This is understandable, Lennon is the author of the troubles. There is no honest way not to point fingers at Lennon. Some will complain that he is not the onus. They are wrong, and may purposely be dictating a deception. Either way, they are not willing to admit the obvious.

Here follows additional questions and their results as of the initial press release concerning the presentation on "Google Survey", also included in the press release [but not below] were the first responses from a "SurveyMonkey" presentation:

1. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being "poor" and 5 being "excellent", how would you rank your satisfaction with the leadership of Bishop Lennon?

votes % ordinal
269~75% 1 "poor"
043~12% 2
020~06% 3 [average]ed.
004~01% 4
022~06% 5 "excellent"

358 responses
2. Which of the following expresses your assessment of the Reconfiguration Plan (the closing and merging of parishes)?

votes %
014~04% Necessary
088~25% Not necessary
238~66% Necessary, but the process was flawed
018~05% I am satisfied with how the Reconfiguration was organized and executed

358 responses

5. What action have you taken since the closing of your church?

votes %
026~08% I am attending a church created by the merger
139~44% I am attending another Roman Catholic church
025~08% I am attending a non-Roman Catholic church
080~25% I am not attending any church on any regular basis
046~15% I am not attending any church at all

316 responses
Postscriptum: The new version is -- here. It is to end 31 January 2011??Postscriptum II: It ended ~ March 31.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Question Nine

Of the initial survey/poll, Voices of Cleveland Catholics, here follows the responses for those of the first 342 respondees from 11/17/2010 to 12/02/2010 to the sixth question. It is to be noted that this question was not a multiple choice, but an opportunity to express the respondent's own answer to the question, if he so deemed it applicable.

9. Please add any comments or concerns you may have regarding the Reconfiguration Process and its outcome.

I think the Reconfiguration Process was flawed in that it closed churches that were healthy. If a parish was paying its bills and had a committed community--even a small community--that parish should have been allowed to remain open.

It is, I believe, a spiritual indictment for Bishop Lennon to unilaterally and arbitrarily conclude that the 725,000 nominal Catholics in our diocese are unable or unwilling to support, or unworthy of, 225 parishes and that 50 had to close. Those who say some consolidation was needed but the process was badly done are, to me, pleading guilty to his indictment. The vibrancy of the diocese and the parishes will not have been augmented or improved by this process.

The entire process was flawed, and decisions about the communities and neighborhoods were not considered. We we bullied and supressed by a hierarchy that no longer care for the people it was supposed to serve and lead. Christian compassion did not exist in the process.

It was a charade and a deception. The pre-cluster meetings were a complete fraud. The stated criteria for parish reductions were inconsistent with the decisions, and beyond that, they were counter to the Gospel and tradition. Richard Lennon and his enablers have done more damage to the faith and the community in his still unfinished 5 year plan than all negative events in the entire history of the diocese.

The Reconfiguration caused unnecessary upheaval and sadness in my life. I will never feel the same about the Roman Catholic Church. I am cautiously optimistic that some good may come of this after all. The Community of St. Peter stayed strong and will continue despite the stupidity of the bishop. I am grateful for that.

I had a hard time answering question #5 as a member of the Community of St. Peter. It is a newly created community of Roman Catholics formed by the original community and others who share the same commitments. It was not "intended" to be formed as part of the mergers; nor was it expected to survive its being suppressed.

I am concerned about the number of Catholics who are not receiving the Sacraments. I met a woman only yesterday who told me she talked to a priest at an Orthodox Church and the priest told her 40% of his parish are now former members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Only a greedy arrogant fool would have attempted this project. He has scattered the flock for no good reason.

The Reconfiguration process was flawed and did not adequately take into consideration the role and responsibility of the Catholic Church in the City, especially as related to efforts to restore and rebuild the inner city and extend the Church''s outreach programs.

It was based on money. The poorest parishes are located in the place where the Church is needed the most, but instead the Church turned their backs on them. The wealthiest parishes, with the wealthiest parishioners who can afford to travel to a more distant church, remained intact through a rigged clustering process. If the Church was interested in anything more than fiscal solvency (rather than its holy mission), then there is no way that two parishes about 2 miles apart would continue to exist in Strongsville while several Cleveland parishes were shut down.

Bishop Lennon was wrong in closing all of the church. I belive he does not relize that alot of people has left our faith.

The Church in the City has been gutted and abandoned by the Diocese. It has catered to suburbanites (most of whom ironically moved away so that they could send their children to public schools and avoid the costs of Catholic schools!)

My llife has been spent in the Catholic Church. I believe that evil and the Devil exists, and now we have seen him in our midst.

Bishop Lennon's plan was severely flawed. He refused mediation with those parishes that strongly objected to the closing of the parishes.

The Reconfiguration Process has destroyed a great city, Cleveland and those that made this happen should feel ashamed.

I hate it! I want my church back!!!!!

In our case Bishop Lennon ignored our merger plan


The bishop's plan was referred to as "discernment," which it most definitely was not. Had the plan involved discernment, we would have had a plan similar to Youngstown that actually invited people to devise a plan for their parishes that showed understanding of their situations. This plan has been short-sighted and will involve more closings within a few years. Suburban parishes will become unwieldy. There will be no sense of community and people will leave. Parishes in the city have disappeared. I fail to see how the Gospel mandate to preach to everyone is served by the Catholic church abandoning the city.

It seems that the clustering process was a big waste of people's time. In the Lorain cluster, the Bishop did not follow the recommendation of the committee. He did what he wanted. After the report was submitted, certain parishes went "behind the clustering committee" with their own agenda. It caused alot of hard feelings and left people angry and bitter. No one cared enough to help the parishoners, especially the elderly, choose another parish, or deal with their feelings. The Bishop is not a pastoral leader. He does not lead his flock with love. He just dictates. I don't know if the Cleveland Diocese will ever recover from the damage he inflicted.

I attend community of St. Perer's

Question 2 needed another answer, it was partially necessary. I can understand a few small parishes in financial trouble needed to be closed, but I don't think the diocese looked at the parishes on a case by case basis, and I certainly do not think that they gave any credence to some of the brilliant suggestions that were brought up to help more parshes than to close them. Cleveland's reconfiguration could have been a shining example, but the Diocese blew it.

A shameful process.

The Bishop's process was hostile, disrespectful, ungracious, and insensitive. I think he set a very bad example not only for Catholics but for the entire community. As we know this issue has reached out across the country and into Europe. The upside of this is perhaps people will finally wake up and realize that the institution needs some surgery.

I have attended St. Colman's a few times. It is good to hear Fr. Bob Begin. He is the ONLY Cleveland Diocesan priest BRAVE enough to come forward and voice his opposition and concerns of the plan. The reconfiguration process was a sham. We were put through the wringer to come up with options, did all that we could and then, were not listened to. Our parish was suppressed, all monies taken away, doors closed and NOTHING was done to help the parishioners of the parish. No merger, no help to continue together, nothing.

The bishop doesn't love us. He is not a pastor.

Still waiting for Rome to honor our appeals and open our Churches

Some large areas were left abandoned and stripped of the presence of the Eucharist, areas where the grace of that presence is especially critical due to the violence and human suffering experienced daily by the population. Jesus died among criminals and would choose to live in such settings now. The broken bodies of those who are most victimized in our city have been denied theconsolation of the Body and Blood of Jesus. Where would Jesus most want to be in our world today, given the message of the Gospel?

What a disaster. Yes, some parishes needed to close. As a matter of fact many were effectively waiting for permission to close. But to close vibrant parishes, where the parishioners were willing to appeal to Rome, makes no sense. Had he just reversed the ones that appealed and were viable, the diocese would have been in a much better place.

I believe downsizing was necessary and probably inevitable, but the heartless process by which Richard Lennon accomplished it was unbelievably flawed. Closing growing, financially sound parishes makes no sense whatsoever.

My wife and I have registered with a Parish that is not the nearest to our home. I am comfortable with the physical appearance of the Church and we,both, love the Pastor. He has a warm heart and is inspirational. However, I remain deeply disappointed and I do not participate anywhere near the extent I did at my former Parish. I feel lost and I still travel and search other Parishes. I am angry at the Bishop and the "Process". A few parishes, who were no longer able to maintain their physical property probably needed closing, but most of us could have continued on for some time. Perhaps there would have been a need for Priest sharing and greater lay participation in the management of the Parish - but, it does not appear that the "official church" trusts the laity. Interesting because we find the church administration to be secretive and untrustworthy. While I do support our new Parish regularly, I do not see us supporting capital improvements anywhere in the Diocese ever again!!!!!!!

I grew up in the West Park area, and attended ST.Patrick's school, and moved in 6th grade. This was a parish I grew up in , and became closer to God, family, and friends. I feel that closing the school, and or church, brought the community closer together to establish a new profound way to celebrate God. I don't feel the church should of been closed...since in fact, I would of married in the church later in life. I still think the church is able to stand with the sense of a strong community who cherish everything it had to offer, along with its members! Thank you and I wish it could still remain was a church to commemorate God and all the beauty that surrounds it...the community, that helped it stand this long!

The reconfiguration was unfortunate but necessary as many churches were indeed struggling to keep their parishes alive. Although, the method of performing this process was ill conceived. An example I would like to reference is a parish closed on the West Side of Cleveland but their school continues to remain opened. I believe those are package deals; if you are keeping a large school in place then keep the parish in place as well. Otherwise it would seem extremely odd to have a parochial school in working order, but its parish is closed in front of it.

I am forced to go to the merged parish so that my son can make his First Communion, but as I pay tuition at a Catholic school where my son receives religious education AND have to pay to attend these mandatory First Communion classes, I am not happy. Also, the First Communion classes, to date, have not even addressed the sacrament, but rather, attempts to force my family to be part of a community we want no part of. There must not be a curriculum that the Religious Director has to follow; it seems she made up her own. The religious ed. director flat out told me that they are doing things differently from other churches. As I understand from my experience of teaching at a Catholic school, the Pope wants Churches to be the same.

i think instead of closing churches, maybe the diocese needs to take another approach: look at the conversion process. start a media campaign. alot of people are interested in converting or being baptized etc, but aren't sure how to go about it, so they end up going to a protestant church where they have no process....revamp the RCIA/PSR programs! get the new generation INVOLVED! they are the future of our Church! instead of finding a solution to low attendance/collections, they just solved one problem with another problem.

I feel that the whole process was greatly flawed and disenfranchised many catholics. The only reason I even attend church is because I want my kids to get a good education in a Catholic School. I personally have lost most of my faith in the Catholic Church.

No pastoral care o concern for the future of those he left behind by closing their churches.

Not sure about the faith of the Hierarchy. I know my faith in our Lord and I am wondering if the Catholic Hierarchy is really faithful to God or to the almighty dollar.

I thought it was stupid to close the church that had the newly merged school and keeping the other church open that had their school closed. Doesn't make sense. Keep both church and school on same property. What is the school suppose to do for mass now? Have it in the gym? It's not the same and services should be held in a church esp for sacraments. It's also not safe to have an abandoned building where there are school children. Did I mention the church that was closed is an actual church building that has a cemetary connected to it and the other church that was kept open is a multi-purpose building that would have been easy to sell because it could be used for other things? What are we suppose to do with the church now? Can't sell it for other purposes because it's an actual CHURCH and you cant get rid of the cemetary because that's just WRONG. The way this entire merger was set up was not very organized and just plain screwed up. Educated people should have been in charge of all this people stupid mistakes like that would have be thought through carefully and not made.

Bishop went against many cluster votes. By closing parishioners felt like the Bishop didn't care where they went as long as he got the money. Feel that the Bishop had already chosen the churches that he was going to close and the cluster process was for show. Almost completely elimintated all nationality parishes--which ALL had large sums of cash. Never gave the membersany reason as to why they were closed. Would not meet with members and negotiate a better alternative. No other options were discussed.

Bishop Lennon is like an ax murderer. He has done his evil job well and will probably get promoted and most likely recently voted to install Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson as the new president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Shame on them both for providing a safe haven for pedophiles. The meetings held prior to the closings were a sham. We were supposed to be made to feel as if we had input and that it was for our own good. I am not joining another "Catholic church. I am a "roaming Catholic" and intend to stay that way. I pledged at my closed church and we had permission to remodel and then after spending all that money and loving our parish, we were closed and now every church I attend, all I hear is money, money, money. I am sick and tired of it all. I'd rather give it to the poor who appreciate the sacrifice more.

NOTE: Numbers 6 and 8 do not apply to me since I'm a resident of the Archdiocese of Chicago. HOWEVER, I do want to clearly state as a matter of record that in SOME INSTANCES, some parishes needed to either close or merge...that's a reality of life, and some parishes even closed after VPL-2 was implemented under Bishop Pilla's tenure. What I am VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to, is the BLATANT DISREGARD AND DISRESPECT of canon law and the particular law evidenced by VPL-2 by which Bishop Lennon unilaterally closed viable entities, such as Saint Patrick's, Saint James, Saint Emeric's, Saint Casimir's and Saint Wendelin's. I'm likewise extremely opposed to his brand of arrogant leadership which has been the cause of grave scandal and rupture of ecclesial communion within the Diocese of Cleveland.

I am completely shocked and heartbroken over the closure of my childhood church.

The Reconfiguration Process truly "messed up" Clevelanders, particularly, when reading Obituaries and then finding places for the Funeral Masses. Ridiculous!!! The cruelty of Bp. Lennon's method was diabolical.

So far my experience with Vibrant Parrish life has been a major disappointment . Why you ask ? people who's church stayed open say "have you found a new church" ? and some say "get over it you cant change it". But this should be an easy process (right) 1. Register at new Parrish. 2. Blend in. 3. Give of your time, talents and money. 4. Life goes on. What goes through you mind going into a new church for the first time. 1. Wheres the welcoming committee (They said there would be one) 2. I hate the pews / kneelers 3. Its to hot / cold 4. The sound is horrible 5. It's to dark 6. The missal is / isn't like our old one. 7. Doesn't feel like home. 8, Don't like the people or priest. 9. I don't feel like I attended a mass. 10. They kept this place open and closed ours. Yes I know this isn't very positive but the last 5 months haven't been very uplifting. The church revolved around my life consuming a majority of my free time (in a positive way) Now I spend my time depressed, wondering if I could have done more and seeing my pain in others faces. I feel the worst for the children and those whose families spanned generations as they stand outside closed doors and wonder now what. So here we are. Wondering in an open field waiting for the moment when I feel the love of Christ in my brothers and sisters. Leaving the mass to emulate Christ and celebrating the Eucharist in a positive light. Now I pick torment flowers and ponder if walking away isn't the answer.

Bishop Lennon ignored the advise of his own councils. He never took time to get to know the communities he closed or ask for their input or options. He just dictated. I don't think that sits well with US Catholics. He neber met with the people for discussion. His words were empty. He said that he was concerned about serving Cleveland Catholics but the only voice he listened to were in suburbia where people have much and income is gauranteed. It could have been a gospel moment but it wasn't.

None of the churches are in my neighborhood. This si a faith community which has been ripped to shreads.

I am a member of St Bernadette Church in Westlake. I attended St Patrick West Park for grade school and was a member of the parish there for many years and was very disappointed to see such a vibrant parish disbanded and closed. The fact that the school remained open but the church closed made no sense to me whatsoever. The closing of the hunger center there also in such a time of need in the Cleveland area was simply disgraceful. My father grew up in St James Parish in Lakewood, another closed parish. Both St Patrick and St James are landmarks in Cleveland and should be saved for future generations. I think both churches along with some of the other vibrant parishes that were closed is should be allowed to reopen. Bishop Lennon has no idea of the ethnic importance of some of these parishes to the Cleveland area and shouldn't have been the decision maker in this process. A true Clevelander should have been involved to preserve the city's best interests.

Closing of some of the smaller parishes was necessary, but the method of choosing larger parishes for suppression (St. Peter's, for example) was purely political. The suppressions were intended to thwart any expressions that went beyond the bishop's meager ideas of what the church should be.

the bishop violated his own process and cheated us and himself out of a healthy church community.

The whole process was poorly handled. The church preaches compassion, understanding, and love...yet the whole process was done coldly and seemingly without remorse.

It was handled badly. The cluster committees worked tirelessly to come to an agreement that would be accepted by the Bishop. None of it mattered. I personally think the Bishop had his mind made up long before the cluster committees were even finished with their meetings. It was wrong!

To have our beloved St. Patrick's church ripped out from under us is like a death that we can NOT over come. It is not only a death in our family, but the death of our entire neighborhood.

The history and heritage of a community of any form is of the utmost importantance. The Bishop failed to look at which churces had historical significance to the people he was supposed to represent.

The fact that cluster team recommendations were not followed in several outcomes is a problem. Vibrant neighborhoods are on the verge of collapse because of this. The disregard to school children and their needs baffle me, since they are the Church's future. (I have nothing personal against Blessed Trinity as a parish except that it is just Ascension with a new name) It is a fine parish for liberal baby boomers and empty nesters. They have no stake in the school. Few if any previous active Ascension members have children in wpca. Taking away the parish and scattering the families where the sight of this shcool lies has been crippling to this end of the neighborhood. It breaks my heart.

The process was not honest. St. Peter's was closed for unfounded reasons and we were told from the beginning that regardless of the process we would be closed. That is what happened and it made a sham of the entire process.

I am very disapointed at the way the closing was handled. We wrote letters in March of 2009 and received form letters from the bishop. He ignored the wonderful things our parish did for the poor in our neighborhood. Now our church is empty. The cluster committee recommended that 2 churches merge and the other 2 remain open, but the bishop ignored their recommendations. He would not reconsider his decision. He really did not care about the good and faithful of our parish. We are all scattered now, it is so sad. I miss the people I spent 41 years in community with, we worked very hard for our community to make it a corner stone of our neighborhood. We did make a difference, but it is all gone now. We have a wonderful group of Catholic people fighting to have our church reopened. We pray for the bishop each day. e pray each

The process turned out to be a sham, because Bishop Lennon disregarded the cluster proposal put before him in my church's cluster: Annunciation, Ascension, Our Lady of Angels and St. Patrick West Park. Our cluster team was directed by Bishop Lennon to reduce our cluster from four churches down to three churches. The cluster team proposed that Annunciation and Ascension should merge, while Our Lady of Angels and St. Patrick W.P. should remain stand-alone parishes -- thus reducing our cluster from four to three parishes. Bishop Lennon disregarded this proposal and instead decreed that Annunciation, Ascension and St. Patrick W.P. should all merge, while only OLA remains stand-alone. Two and a half months after decreeing the merger of the three parishes, Bishop Lennon decreed that Ascension would be the worship site of the merged church -- meaning that Annunciation and St. Patrick W.P. would close. This was a WRONG decision -- St. Patrick W.P. should have remained stand-alone, since it was the largest and oldest parish (by far) of the three. I attribute the unjust closure of St. Patrick W.P. to a conspiracy amongst the "leadership" of Annunciation (Fr. Tim Daw) and Ascension (Fr. Joseph Fortuna), in which Fr.'s Daw and Fortuna both went behind the back of the other two cluster churches and argued that St. Patrick W.P. should close. Bishop Lennon never gave a valid reason for closing St. Patrick W.P. -- the oldest functioning parish in Cuyahoga County -- established in 1848, one year after the Cleveland Catholic Diocese was established. That's why my wife and I are two of the seven "Save St. Pat's Committee" members, and why I am STILL fighting to help Save St. Pat's. I would go back there in a HEARTBEAT to help re-establish St. Pat's, should our appeal to Rome be successful, which we pray it will. St. Patrick -- PRAY FOR US!! WHO ARE WE? ST. PAT'S!!!

The worst thing that could happen to the Catholic people in Cleveland

I believe that the process in which the closed churches were closed was definitely flawed. Many of the churches had a full and active congregation. The house of God should not be taken away from anyone, especially those churches that were ethnic and in lower income areas. As long as the parishioners can support their church, it should have remained open.

I think most fair minded people would agree some churches had to close due to declining attendance and/or poor finances. However, in those cases where there was a vibrant parish the bishop abused his authority, disregarded the rights of parishoners to practice their faith, and otherwise treated us as not important to the mission of the church in Cleveland. Apparently Bishop Lennon thinks parishes are profit centers and it is his job as CEO to weed out those that do not meet his corporate objectives - whatever they are. He missed his calling which is more suited to Wall Street. I believe the Reconfiguration will be remembered as a disaster for Cleveland catholics long after Bishop Lennon is gone which cannot happen soon enough.

The Catholic church that is closest to me has been closed but I stopped attending that church before it was closed and started attending another Catholic church that is a bit further away from where I live but offered Sunday evening mass which was a better time for me and my husband to attend Sunday mass. I am concerned about church closings because so many of them seem to be in the inner city areas. It seems as if the Catholic Church has abandoned the people that were members of this church and abandoned the neighborhood in which the church stood. I don't understand how these churches survived for so many years, some over 100 years, though severe economic distressed times, but now they have to be closed. It just seems wrong to close these historic manifestations of the Catholic faith.

This was an out and out "Land Grab" by this Bishop, and I use the term loosly. He is an accountant and NOT a shepherd of the Catholic 'faithful'! Our parish was is the 'black' financially, NOT in the red! He closed it so as to sell it and the property. Christ would have thrown him out along with the other "money changers". WE, the parishoners paid for this church and the bishop stole it!

It's a real shame that the bishop came to Ohio and closed the churches the way he did. Both my husband & I were very involved in our parish and did so much to generate much revenue. We were both on committee's and even met with our committee with the bishop to discuss the closing. He promised to meet us again & never kept his promise. I won't lose my faith, however, I will NEVER GIVE ANOTHER DOLLAR to any more "so called" necessary funds needed by any parish. What on earth have they done with all of the "monies"? Why do we parishoners have to pay for others mistakes? Just not fair. Shame on the bishop and anyone else involved in the closings. He flat out lied to all of us!

I don't have a comment because I was so distraught about the closing of Holy Trinity in Lorain, I have not participated in the reconfiguration.

I feel the the Bishop is not taking the Cluster's recommendation into consideration and making his own decisions. He is destroying the Catholic Churches in the City of Cleveland and driving people from the Catholic Church and their faith

I wish the save St. Pats Committee of St. Pats Westpark never existed. That group caused great consternation and untruths to our parishioners and to the Diocese. St. Pats needed to be closed a small percentage of families only went to Mass. If that committee did not exist than the process would have been fine and the truth could have been told. Blessed Trinity is a great new parish with fine leadership

Wrong in the case of St. Emeric. St. Emeric met none of the criteria for closing - therefore, the lies and deceit by the diocese and Rose are are enough for me to realize I do not care to be any part of a lying and deceitful faith.

I am concerned about the significant number of former parishioners who are not attending any church or have gone to a nonCatholic church. Im also concerned about the number of former parishioners who would take a bus to church (it stopped right in front) now there is no church in Lakewood on the Detroit Ave bus route.How are these carless people getting to church.

I miss my church. I am angry I was not able to baptize my son in my church.

I feel that the clustering process was a waste of time. I feel the diocese had a plan all along and had no intention of listening to the parishes. Good people took alot of time to help come up with a plan to do what was best for their church and their neighboring churches just to be told they were wrong,that the diocese knew better than the people who live in the area and love and support their church. The diocese acts as if we will go along with whatever they want,well guess what they are wrong!! I for one can't wait for that guy to get the heck out cleve.It's gonna take years to clean up his mess.

Again, I feel abandoned.

The closing of our St. James has left my small children confused, sad and unwilling to participate in weekly Mass like they did in the past. This will affect their future in the Church and as Catholics. Bishop Lennon's decision is having a negative affect now and will continue to do so in the future.

If the Church in Europe can afford to "save" historic chruches, why is the Church not able to do the same here in the United States? Have we so little feeling for the arts and architecture of significant churches that we can merely make them go away as if they meant nothing at all to the people who built them. Does this Diocese have no "feeling" for the Catholic Church's historic presence in the communities they served? Does this Bishop understand the bigotry that existed against the Catholic Church and is people in the early part of the 20th Century; and, the effect such buildings as St. James, Lakewood and and Msgr. Lelahy had on erasing that bigotry? Shame on him who forgets history for he is doomed to repeat it! I am a great nephew of the late Msgr. Michael D. Leahy and a practicing Catholic living in Chardon, Ohio.

I feel our church was remodeled and in good working order and so was the church down the street. Neither of the churches stayed but the one in a bad neighbor hood which is in need of repairs stayed open. Why was this done? No one cared. Couldn't merge us?

Nothing just go and find your own place. Catholic not really don't care about us. Other religions care about their flock. Not ours. I am bitter in what was done and how no one cared.I am a lost sheep......

The process was fine the people were the problem.

the process was totally flawed-the end results were decided before the first cluster meeting. Historic St. Peter Church was a viable, lively parish-we did not deserve being suppressed.

totally invalid process was followed by bishop He listed criteria which he did not follow A church should be able to "die" on its own as long as parish is self sustaining and has "own" paster

We were devoted to our church (spiritually and financially) St. Patrick WP. We have fought the closing of our church for many reasons but primarily because it was a vibrant parish with many outreach and community related functions. There is also a grade school attached to our historic landmark structure. The closing made no sense. Our site needed to be the location for the merged parish. We have attended several other churches but have not found a parish home. We miss out church and pray for a miracle that it reopen.

I think that the Reconfiguration Process has splintered many people. When thier hoe parish was closed, some people have REALLY lost their identity.

It was clearly motivated by political forces. Maybe it's naive to think the church shouldn't be run by arch-conservative gluttons, but we can hold out hope. Why would you close a thriving parish? It's as simple as that.

It does sadden me to see St Patrick's closed. It is beautiful church with alot of history and love.

The Reconfigutation process closed my viable and much needed parish because of its ethnicity. The elderly of the parish are devastated and have been stripped of their spiritual needs in the sunset of their lives, when there is much sufferig anyway due to illness and infirmity. Their ( our) Hungarian speaking priest was not given any other position in the Diocese when the St. Emeric parish was closed and was also stripped of his priestly functions in the Diocese after 25 years of faithful service at this parish! And the premise for closings was a shortage of priests! This leadership lied. As a result, the elderly Hungarians whose spiritual lives are strictly Hungarian speaking, are left without their priest and are suffering from being abandoned by their Church to whom they have been most faithful throughout their lives.

My parish (Community of St. Malachi) was not closed, but two other parishes that form the cluster of which my parish is a part were closed. There was no rhyme or reason to many of the parish closings. Active, dynamic and necessary parishes that were thriving in their ministries and parish life have been closed, e.g., St. James in Lakewood and St. Patrick's, West Park. The closing of St. Patrick's, West Park, was particularly mystifying to me, as the school remained open, while the parish closed. The parish served many, and ought not have been closed. St. Patrick's, West Park, was the parish I grew up in. I attended mass there just before it was closed for old time's sake, because I'd moved back into the geographic parish of St. Patrick's, West Park, and because I knew its closing was imminent.

I can pray at home. I am not prove the Leninon doctrine. I do not contribute to something I do not trust.

It is a crime what Lennon has done to the hungarian's.

I attend the local church, but have attended my ethnic RC church for social and spiritual events, such as weddings (my own included), funerals (my son's and others), holidays and other main events, especially ethnic.

The process was inconsistent: Cluster teams recommendations were ignored; parishes with vibrant communities and adequate funding were closed; parishes with little community and funding remained opened; the presence of the Church in the inner city has been dissemated some mergers were allowed to keep their names, others were not; pastors that should have been moved stayed in place, well functioning pastors were sent into exile as associates, many of the new pastors have little or no pastoral expereince and no mentoring process. In some mergers one or both of the former parishes were simply wiped out in the "re-modeling"--both in terms of the interior of the Church as well as in terms of staff. In some mergers there was no opportunity to grieve and no attempt to assist parishioners with this process. The closing Mass I attended was cold, unfeeling and "protected" by armed body guards. While cluster teams were led to believe they were significant to the process, once plans were submitted, it was business as usual in terms of the "good old boy network". The people in the pews have been thrown to the wind--what does community mean anymore?

St. Emeric's was suppressed and our Pastor, Father Siklodi, was forced to leave Ohio to be able to work until his retirement a few years from now. Bishop Lennon made it impossible for our Pastor to stay close to our "supressed" church, St. Emeric's. Father Siklodi came all the way from Hungary to be our Pastor, served us for 25 years, and then was fired by Bishop Lennon. This is very disgusting.

My only concern is how viciously the more outspoken members of various parishes that were closed reacted. I can be specific about the St. Patrick West Park parish. In this specific instance, there was a merger team that recommended two parishes (Ascension of Our Lord and Annunciation) merge, while St. Patrick WP be allowed to remain as a stand-alone parish. It was announced that the merger team recommendation would not be followed (the right and authority of Bishop Lennon) and that the three parishes would be merged. There was surprise, but no expression of parishioner outrage nor any effort to "save" any particular parish. The expectation apparently was that St. Patrick WP would be chosen as the site for the new parish center of worship. Several months later, Bishop Lennon announced that the new parish, Blessed Trinity, would be located on the grounds of the former Ascension of Our Lord church. Suddenly there is outrage amongst the St. Patrick WP parishioners. Initially it was veiled under some garbage about keeping with the recommendations of the Merger committee. Clearly it had nothing to do specifically with that. If St. Pats WP had been chosen as the site of the new parish, would all these people be clamoring against Lennon to keep open the former Ascension? I doubt it very much. I personally attended several of the initial "Save St. Pats" meetings, and was completely appalled by the behavior and comments that I witnessed. I dont need to repeat them here. Suffice to say that these meetings were in the church, and comments ranged from threatening to obscene to everything in between. Again, in the House of God. Obscenities! Leveled against priests, sisters and bishops! I feel that the more vocal of the St. Pats parishioners feel they are in some way 'elite', that they are not welcoming to new potential parishioners. By 'new' I use my family as an example. My family has lived in the parish for more than 30 years. My brother graduated from St. Pats. My children go to the new WPCA. I am as involved or more so than most of the parents in the school, and most of the parishioners in the area. Yet, most people dont know who I am. I am excluded from activities and communication within the parish, seemingly because I am not one of the preferred families. Concern over the outcome? My concerns revolve around the fact that the older and more established families of parishioners actively discriminate against families from the merged parishes. "W. 130th isnt even West Park" is a common, ignorant quote I often hear. Another good one, "There are just too many black people there now". A sign posted in the cemetary after St. Pats closed this past summer read "Without a true shepherd". Most people I saw thought that sign was very good at capturing the general feeling of the parishioners now "Suppressed". Without delving into preaching, I believe the phrase is "The Lord is my shepherd..." The Lord, not some building. Catholics are supposed to live an ideal. There is a large volume of published works, many libelous, by the Save St. Pats WP group. I encourage all those interested to view these carefully, with as much objectivity as possible. Most are full of assumptions and innuendo that are packaged as fact. Statements such as "...but we all know this to be true..." in spite of any evidence at all, are fairly representative. The author of these documents is largely lauded amongst the vocal parishioners. Now he is the head of WPCA's Athletic Department. This seems odd to me. His writings (publicly available) are in no way representative of what anybody could consider appropriate christian ideals. Now he leads the organization in charge of administering CYO for the parish? What sort of message does that send? I fear for the future of the children in this area. Their parents' prejudices are clearly projected onto their children, which will perpetuate the animosity generated over the past two years for God knows how long. Spite is now the rule, rather than love and understanding.

It was hasty, poor and ill planned decision without taking into consideration the people or the communities surrounding the churches.

This process was was hampered by flawed leadership exhibited by Bishop Lennon who would not listen to his own staff, or the presbyteral council but closed dozens of viable urban parishes that were providing important outreach services to poor people. Unfortunately the bishop appears to believe that he is the only one who knows anything. His handling of this situation is a shameful abuse of authority that has wounded faithful catholics in the diocese of Cleveland.

It was all about the money! Lennon should be jailed for the way he robbed the people of this Diocese. He will never get another dime from me.

It was a violation of the people of this diocese. Bishop Lennon is cynical corporate leader. He is not a shepheds of the faithful. I look for the day that he has gone.

Recommendations were ignored, or discarded. It was completely politics of the Bishop and his cronies.

Rome and Bishop Lennon have not been responsive to the concerns of the laity and they have not been accountable for their actions.

Blessed Trinity is awesome. Ignorant people against the process was the problem.

The poor families of the West Park neighborhood were left in a vaccume due to our parish closings & the newly merged parish had to scramble to handle the hundreds of families that before were handled by 2 parishes.Poor planning,lack of co-operation between the merged parishes,worship site parish thought of merger as "we won,you adapt to us!",not welcoming at all.

It was flawed and the premise was all about money and not about God. If it was about God, the churches would be recycled by the parish communities as a location to distribute and collect food, clothing, medicine and provide consultation for drug or alcohol abuse, and provide shelter for the homeless and from abuse or abandandment or the harsh winters. That is what God would want, use the facilities to "reduce the suffering of the world" not to cash out and close up shop and walk away.

The reconfiguration process was done without any consideration for nieghborhoods or impact on areas. I feel choices were made with regard to assets in the closed churches and the means to sieze them. The reconfiguration was done in a very harsh and thoughtless manner. Because of the manner in which things were handles many lost their Faith or left it because of the betrayal of the heirarchy.

The bishop examplifies all that is wrong. Encouraged folks to work for years to develope options...then either ignoring them or making other choices without feedback. Lacks people skills...only bishop I've ever seen with armed guards. Says it all. The Catholic Church could take a page from their non-catholic brethen as far as openess and welcoming is concerned. Does not exist !

Bishop Lennon was sent here from some other far away locationand as if he were a foreign emissary and he has NO KNOWLEDGE of the history and background of Cleveland and NE Ohio, especially of the importance of ethnic communities. It is so obvious that the parishes that were merged or closed were in less affluent communities, too. It was evil to impose closings and mergings of parishes that were economically viable, just "smaller" than some arbitrary number that was rammed down our throats. When confronted with inconsistencies, half truths, lies, and the like, the Bishop and Mr Tayak acted in an arrogant and sometimes threatening manner, threatening not only with regard to the afterlife of parishioners, but with the future lives and careers of of the few priests who dared speak up against or even just question directives. I am shocked and appalled that a Bishop, one of the highest reps of the Catholic religion, has behaved this way and all the way up the ladder of authority in the Catholic Church almost no one dares protest. My faith in the Catholic religion has been shaken to the core, my parents are rolling in their graves. If I did not understand the Protestant Reformation before, I do now.

Bishop Lennon did what he was sent here to do. How terrible he followed those totally unnecessary orders and the atrocious way he enforced them. It is time for Bishop Lennon to leave. It is time for a Christ-like Bishop to help us maintain our Christianity and our faith in Jesus Christ and his apostles.

I am concerned about the number of catholics not attending Mass on sunday.

the leadership in this diocese has led to a shambles of this Cleveland diocese and for what? Instead of leading people to the Catholic faith, many more are being driven away by the poor decisions brought on by this reconfiguration. It was also a slap in the face to the laity who labored hard for 2 years to come up with the best plans they felt were appropriate for their clusters, only to be tossed aside by this bishop, who knew nothing about the community and its faithful. The so-called shepherd led his sheep to slaughter.

Some churches, like mine, were closed even though they were quite vibrant. Without my parish being open we will certainly lose many "marginal" members, who would have otherwise been encouraged to become very active and engaged Catholics.

It was not done fairly with Christian/Catholic principles

I am TOTALLY DISGUSTED with the way this closing process was handled. There were groups formed at churches to offer recommendations only to have these recommendations absolutely ignored. This once again came down to MONEY and POLITICS. There was NO real chance for working out what may have been mistakenly perceived as a parish in trouble. The bishop was brought in to basically do a hatchet job as he did in BOSTON and from what I understand will be leaving here to go to Chicago and continue this farce Known as "A Reconfiguration Process." The bishop acts without heart or compassion and seems to have no care at all for any congregation. The bishop should have thought about the Phrase "What would Jesus Do?" before starting this process. If he had, the outcome would have been much different and would not have driven even more people away from attending a Catholic church. This is just another example of the Catholic church in general including all the leaders in Rome of being so out of touch with THEIR Congregation. Being Christian or acting like Christ seems to have been thrown out of their Vocabulary.

my friends and i are driving to detroit to attend a catholic mass where we can pray and sing in our native language.

I feel that SOME parishes did need to close but the process that was carried out was neither collaborative nor pastoral.

When you look at the collections of 3 merged churches (the newly created Blessed Trinity is a good example), the weekly collection equals the collection of the previously closed St. Patrick Parish. Three combined three churches don't have the weekly collection of one closed church. If finances were an issue in the closing, this disputes the reasoning.

I believe Lennon aided people to leaving the catholic church

It's been done in a cold, uncaring and without an understanding of comminities and how they would mesh. It's almost as if an outsider did it. This is not Lennon fault. He did what he was asked to do. This is Pillas faullt for being a coward!

This has been a terrible decision and Lennon will, ultimately, not succeed.

They should have not closed our church.

I stopped all donations to the Cleveland diocese. I can not stand a high ranking priest spreading false facts in connection with some church closings. A very sad state of affairs in Cleveland.

I think the decision to keep St. Coleman and St. Ignatius was incongruent with not keeping other active, vital, ethnic based churches open after they appealed.

Bishop Lennon's decision to close St. Emeric Hungarian Church was plain wrong! Our church was not in the red financially, and we did not have a priest shortage. To put it plainly, Bishop Lennon lied about the reason for closing our church. The Bishop does not have a plausible reason for having closed St. Emeric. St. Emeric was more than just another church, it was the social center of the Hungarian community on the west side of Cleveland. We now have nowhere to go to worship and to socialize. Our church was formed over 100 years ago by our Hungarian ancestors, whose life's work is now boarded up for no apparent reason. The Bishop left open one single Hungarian church that is located in a black ghetto name the Buckeye region of Cleveland. That area is too far from my house, as we live on the west side. It is also crime ridden and therefore unsafe. It is an absurd and unfair proposition that the Bishop expects us to attend Hungarian mass at the church located in the black ghetto.

There was absolutely no reason to close so many churches. Our former church was like a community,now everyone is scattered.Some have further to drive with parking not as available as our former church. There is no Catholic Church between Oberlin Ave. & Grove serve the catholics of the center or south of Lorain.That's a shame!!!!!

WE WERE LEFT TO THE WOLVES, WITH NO CONCERN FOR OUR WELFARE, Handled very badly for all concerned. I gave my heart to my parish (closed) for 70 years and now feel no connection anwhere - or even the necessity to have a connection. I feel I have been sold a bill of goods all these years and now do not trust anyone in the church. My philosphy now is going direct to God and forgetting the middle man. I can love my neighbor and be charitable without the Diocese of Cleveland.

Drove me away.


I understand that the reconfiguration process was initially started out of necessity for parishes that were dwindling, but there were also parishes that were targeted that were absolutely thriving and there was no need to close them. Steps were taken by these parishes to show Bishop Lennon that they were indeed thriving, had operating expenses running in the black, and were also doing wonderful works for the needy in the area - and he still arbitrarily chose to close them.

The new parish was never given a chance by the ugly Save St. Pats Group. Blessed Trinity is a great new bad people were swayed negatively


I am a Hungarian who lost my Hungarian Church

Some churches may have needed to close but the process was not right, in that it pitted parish against parish. It was a pre-determined process that made it look like the people had a say. What should have taken place is that the Bishop or his representative should have met with individual parishes and let them assess their condition and viability no matter how long it took. Then let the people decide what actions to take. This Bishop acts very uncaring and Pharasaical in his approach to the people. It has not put the Catholic church in a positive light.

I have attended my new merged church but just don't feel it is a good fit for my family. So, lately we have been attending different churches in the area to determine which church fits my family's needs the best and which ones make us feel "at home" the best. Once we make our decision, we will register, attend weekly masses and make regular contributions. It just won't be a church that was force-fed by the bishop. I disagree with Bishop Lennon's comments on the recorded tape featured on Fox news that not going to my newly merged (aka 'assigned') church is anti-Catholic. As long as I practice my Catholic faith and attend mass, then I don't think it matters to God where I pray and therefore I have the right and free will to determine where that new place ought to be... It just won't be Blessed Trinity as it doesn't have the right atmosphere, leadership and services my family desires (e.g., the school is lacking compared to some of the other nearby parishes). Additionally, it's further away than some of the other vibrant parishes (e.g., St. Angela's is a mile closer) and it's also not in a neighborhood as safe as the others.

I believe my parish was closed under false pretenses. The church was viable and just begining to grow at the location we had moved to in suburban Orange Village from the inner city area of Cleveland. During the clustering process it has been alledged that the Village of Orange had made a large monetary offer for our property and had stopped looking for any oher locations for their proposed new Service center which is now in the process of being built on our former church grounds. The closing of our parish will lead to the eventual demise of all Hungarian, Roman Catholic parishes in greater Cleveland. The church that was chosen of the 3 Hungarian parishes in Cleveland, St.Elizabeth of Hungary, was and is the most unstable and unsustainable of all 3 Hungarian churches clustered. St. Margart of Hungary, my former parish was in the process of absorbing Catholics from 2 churches in the eastern suburbs that closed amid scandal, one being St.Jude parish a mere 2 miles away. I believe any Cathlics from those parishes who moved into ours are now likely to be fallen away having lost all faith in the church hierarchy.

I think the process was necessary, but there has to be thought behind it. I think certain parishes that are in ethnic neighborhoods have more of a devout following and embrace the mass, not just attend it because the school attached to it requires it. I attend Holy Rosary and Fr. Phil makes parishoners not only feel welcome, but proud to be catholic.

Very badly organized and led. Lack of transparancy and oversight. Poor judgement by those in authority. Flawed criteria for choosing parishes to be suppressed/closed. nauseum.

Heavy handed. I am okay with the process, but am concerned about the delay in resolving differences, resulting in a lot of hurt feelings and uncertainty about the future of any parish. It is taking entirely too much time to resolve appeals. Everyone involved suffers by no decision.

No church should be closed without the consent of its parishioners

It was a flawed process with no accountability to the cluster planers who gave three years of their lives. I understand many churches needed to be closed, but a small group were thriving and vibrant. Now the bishop admits he doesn't know what vibrant means!

This process was not done fairly. New positions in the church were not put up for bid for the "newcomers". No kneelers in new church. Not enough room in new church that was the new merger church. Bishop never considered what the merger committee suggested.

it sucks still not the ame comunity I was in, my faith is in god not lennon

our bishop, the leader of our flock, demonstrated a complete lack of regard for the unique needs of the faithful who belonged to the ethnic parishes in the cleveland diocese and a complete lack of understanding for how these parishes served their communities and preserved the rich traditions of these ethnic populations. the process was entirely void of compassion, dialogue, and consistentcy in how the decisios were reached to close ethnic parishes that were financially solvent.

It was not necessary. My closed church was paying the bills. We were closed with no direction from the church administrator. It's like we were tossed to the curb.

The closing of St. Patrick West Park is a detriment to the neighborhood. I have lived in the parish for 25 years and my children attended the former St. Patrick School. All of their sacraments were made at St. Patrick Church. The neighborhood is vibrant and the unnecessary closing of this church leaves a huge void at the intersection of Puritas Avenue and Rocky River Drive. The church was the oldest in the region. I am a faithful Catholic, but am currently embarassed to admit it with all the scandal and abuse in the church.


I feel the Reconfiguration for St Patrick's W.P. was wrong because the school is on the property for one and the children do not have the option now of attending Mass in the church but in a gymnasium. :( St Pat's is the center and cornerstone of our community NOT the newly named church Blessed Trinity. The bishop went against the cluster committee after they stated St Pat's should be kept open and that really bothers me since Bishop Lennon was the one that wanted these cluster committees. Those people worked for over 2 years acessing everything and came up with their decision and he reversed it. I would have loved to have gone to Mass daily as I am retired now and St Pat's is only 2 streets away from me but, that is not an option now since I don't drive. I truly feel the bishop listened to Father Fortuna and Father Daw instead of the parishoners, who are the Body of Christ. We all know Father Hagedorn was passive, the way he has always been for the 30 years I have known him. Hopefully with prayer, the Vatican will realize the injustice that has been done to my wonderful parish and reopen it.

Many of the decisions were based on Priestly politics. No true and honest reasons were given. Those directly affected by these decisions opinions were not heard. Other options were not even considered such as sharing resources between 2 or more parishes(priests) The Parishioners were the ones who financially supported their parishes but were ignored and the assists of many of the parishes went to the diocese which is wrong. Vatican II empowered the laity but our Bishop ignore are concerns

The reconfiguration process closed a self supporting, viable catholic church that was the center of Hungarian culture in Cleveland. Without that center there is a definite hollowing. There was no reason for the closure, the bishop acted against his own rules in closing the church when it was recommended to stay open, and before an appeal was finalized. This church which has served generations, which had such historical and present day meaning and value, is now an empty shell. And for what?

Due to decreasing attendance and decreasing participation/support of the registered parishioners/community, it had to be done. It's a shame, but someone had to close their doors. Other than those highly ethnic churches that are being moved to the other side of town, people need to accept the opportunities and options open to them, and move on. In the clusters with decreasing attendance and support, no church was immune to the possibility of closing and no church was more rightly or wrongly closed or kept open. People need to stop being so selfish and get over themselves and stop trying to dictate their will as God's.

I believe the Reconfiguration has been a disaster, doing irreparable harm to the church and to our city.

Extremely unhappy on all fronts during this process. Lost the Parish I was currently attending and the one I was raised in within a 3 month period. The Bishops handling of this entire experience and process was a farce. I have never seen so many decisions that would alienate the supposed Flock he is supposed to be guiding spiritually.

I think the clustering program was just to say there was a process in place when the reality is that the recommendations of the actual parishioners were not taken into account. I think there were alive, fiscally sound, vibrant parishes that were closed or merged and to me that is a grave sin.

I am very angry about the method used to determine which churches were closed or suppressed, and the rapidity with which these churches were closed. I also found it appalling to see religious items available on-line, even before some of the churches whose items these came from were closed. If there was a true need to close churches, why did the bishop ignore the recommendations of the study group which had been organized with the express goal of identifying and reporting on the appropriate churches to close? Why were churches which were either located on especially valuable land or which had very valuable church structures chosen for closings against the recommendations of the study group? Why were several of the church communities that were most involved in social services in their communities closed despite recommendations to the contrary? Shouldn't the bishop have to answer for this?

I don't understand why my church was closed in opposition to the cluster suggestion. Why wouldn't the bishop give us a concrete reason?

If the churches were self-supporting, why was it necessary to close them? Where are the priests who lost their churches? Our parish has only one priest and it would be nice to have an "extra" if only for our priests R&R.

Im not convinced the Catholic Diocese needed to close all of the parishes it did. I also think the root cause of the lack of funds was not divulged by the diocese because it was due in part to the Cleveland Catholic Dioceses financial accoutability problems and the large sums of money paid to hush victims who were sexually abused by their parish priests. I found it strange that the once religious Icons of the church were considered no longer sacred and sold on a website. I also found it odd that Saint John's Cathedral purchased new glass doors for the front of the church while other parishes were being closed. I used to sing in the Cathedral Choir about 10 years ago so I am familiar with the newly renovated rectory, the renovation and installation of shutters on the Bishops bedroom windows and the wide variety of food available to the priests that work at the Cathedral. Its all excessive.I also found it odd that the Cleveland Diocese layed claim to all of the contents of the churches they closed, even some of the religious figurines the parishioners purchased to help build their parish.

Total mistakes, injustice, expression of arrogance in most of the cases!!!

I was a member of the clustering committe. As a group our cluster had decided on a one site scenario since part of our instructions was to make the new church vibrant and financially sound. The priest at one of the churches still open lied about what his congregation said without providing any proof, and the decision was made to submit both a one church scenario and a two church scenario. The bishop decided the two church scenario was better. This scenario does not address how the two open churches will be able to finacially become and remain stable. I don't understand the Bishop's rationale for choosing the two church scenario when finances along with a shortage of priests are the main reasons for clustering. In addition it appears that if a church has enough money it can remain open regardless of the recommendation by the parishoners. It just does not seem fair an equitable. Once again the church is not really looking at what is important in the eyes of God or of concern with the inner city and poor.

My Parish closed on June 2010 but is still pending a final evaluation in Rome. I joined another Parish to please my Parish Priest, he said I had to join a church only if temporary. If it is deemed that my old Parish will reopen, I will immediately go back there.

I was once a large contributor to my parish and to Catholic Charities. I am no longer donating to ANY Church, charity or fund raising effort which will in any way support the diocese. All of my time and money goes to justice issues and service to the poor. The cluster process pitted parish against parish for nearly two years. This caused hurt, resentment and anger. The hurt and resentment may never heal. In many cases, after mandating that the parishes engage in this destructive process, the recommendations of the clusters were not followed. Bishop Lennon was never willing to explain his reasons for his decisons. There is a deep disrespect for the laity in this Diocese and, i think, possibly, for the Priests.

Several of the churches affected by the "reconfiguration" are ones that I still attended on occasion. Albeit only for holidays, weddings, and funerals. Even as one who is no longer a practicing catholic, the peace and history I felt within those walls was always a source of comfort that can never be replaced. It deeply saddens me that I will no longer be able to enter those doors again. Long live the spirit of St Wendelin's, St. Patrick WP, St. James. And St Colman's - still alive, and only strengthened after all this!

No one from the Diocese has ever asked my opinion and I have not sought to request a personal meeting with the Bishop. I have supported the actions of the St. Adalbert membership throughout this whole process and I attended the closing Mass. It cut me emotionally to see police reacting so bitter and angry because of a guest we invited to take pictures of "our last supper" as a family. I don't know the "true" reason so many churches were closed and not merged and I would love to have remained at St. Adalbert. I can only hope the reasons for closing 50 churches was legitimate. If in Bishop Lennon's heart and soul he believes he did the right thing then so be it. If not, if there is something that haunts him, then God have Mercy. I don't know how he feels in that place no one knows, how he picked the churches, or who ordered him to take this action. He looks sad, lonely, and troubled. For me, life is too short to be without a place to call my spiritual home or to climb Bishop Lennon's mountain. I have my own mountain to climb.

The man dosn't know the community or the neighborhoods. He was so ignorent he never even took the cluster recomendation into account. Who in their right mind would want to go to church on Buckeye Ave. There is no church on the Western end of Lakewood, The churches he did keep open are all in a striaght line from Clifton Ave. to the Cleveland Churches.

When I sit in Mass and see 60% of our new parish is made up of former members of our "old" parish, I wonder on what was the Bishop measuring "viability?" We came from a viabrant, large parish to a small parish with a 1/4 of the church filled on a good day. This parish is made up of "older" members and though important, he closed a church with the largest membership of "young" families in the area?? Many, as we are, are only going to this Church to get the "discount" for the local Catholic school,LCA. This is not our "church" family, we sporatically attend Mass at best.... we are just checking boxes to enable our children to get a Catholic education. (and am starting to question whether this is even worth it) The Catholic church is struggling as a whole to maintain "young" members this did not help. sf

we have given money over the last 15 years, ranging from $1000 to $2500. i really take issue that this process has not financially stabilized any of the parishes in my cluster. i would never financially contribute to a business or non profit that was so unstable. we were forced to sign a committment that we will give 'x' amount to maintain parishioner status. it's not like i didnt give 3 times that amount the previous year - have a little faith in us! i cannot believe that Catholic Charities made a goal of contribution list in that campaign last year and had larger amounts as goal for parishes that were to close and others that are financially in the red - this vs. parishes that have a much larger parish and $. that is just bad PR to present material like that, i found it offensive. they need to rethink their literature.

The decision to close churches is very short sighted and turns our backs on the city. Attendence may be low right now but in 10-20 years it may be much higher as a different group of people move into a particular neighborhood. A example of this the growing number of hispanic imigrants that have moved into many areas of northeast Ohio. They will need a place to worship. What better place than a beautiful old classic church. It is really sad that the churches being closed (physically) are so much nicer than the churches in the subburbs. Also it is very upsetting that parishoners cannot purchase items from the churches being closed but yet some outsider that is not even Catholic can.

Process was necessary, painful and flawed. Bishop Lennon should have worked with parishes that have appealed and sought resolution of their issues. If nothing else he should have given them all time to prove they were viable.

The process of Reconfiguration seemed to favor the endurance of generic, conventional parishes with utilitarian churches, and the destruction of the more ethnic parishes with "classical" ornate churches. The attempt seems to be not just saving money, but forcing all of us into a single bland mold. The traditions of generations of Cleveland Catholics are sacrificed for the sake of convention and the bottom line. Not right.

The only reason I am attending another Church is becaus I moved to another city befor my parish closed

St James is the most beautiful church in Cleveland... it should of been the one that stayed open... In ten years people are going to think the Catholic Church was nuts..

It was never explained to us why our parish (St James) was closed. It would have made more sense to merge with another parish. At least we would have still had a community instead of just being diaspora.

I feel the process was greatly flawed, and the thoughts of the parishes and their councils were not taken into consideration at all. When you ask people to be on a committee that takes a year or more to come up with solutions to the closing of a certain number of churches in a cluster, you really should follow their recommendations.

The clustering process was neccessary but the recommendations of the committee was not followed. It was extremely disappointing that the hours and hours of volunteer time and energy was ignored.

I think it was done in a poor fashion, they did not consider how many parishioners would be disenchanted with the proposition of loosing their parish home. Go out to Westlake, Avon ect and see the number of nondenominational churches that have been started with massive congregations.This process has been an oxymoron, lets get rid of our faithful.

If Christ were on earth today, I'm certain his behavior would be totally UNLIKE Bishop Lennon

Bishop Lennon destroyed a vibrant parish needlessly-what else is there to say? He closed an historically significant church,ignored the communities concerns and drove Catholics away from their faith over isn't money the root of all evil?Where was his faith that things would turn around if money was such a big deal? I will pray for him because some day GOD will ask him why he did this.

St. James was a vibrant, beautiful parish. The church building itself, the congregation, the music, and celebration of faith were a welcome to me and my family when we moved to the area. After nearly 7 years of weekly attendance, five family sacrements, and many cherished memories, our church is no longer open. While the need to cut costs is understood, a better business case evaluation should have been used to distinguish how/where to cut costs, or perhaps raise the needed revenue/services through other avenues.

As an active parishoner from St James in Lakewood, I accpeted the process as inevitable and logical. But after hearing how it really took place rather than how it should have I am more than disappointed but quite outraged. Whats even more amszing is how some simple mis-information and an obvious priority to improve 'thier bottom line' set the Diocese, narrow-mindedly, on thier mission to close one of the most active, positive, and stunningly beautiful and religiously and architecurally significant churhes in the western hemisphere. This is an utter tragedy. The more you learn about it, the more it stinks! I DARE you to learn more about it, start here:

When I attend another church,I don't feel connected- to any parish, not that the congregation is unfriendly, I just don't feel like I belong. It is hard for me to look at the altar of any of the many cuhrches I have attended and feel the connection I had at St. James. I know God is present, It's like a father wrapping his arm around a hurt child. I don't know what or where God is leading me even though I pray about it daily.

Believe it was a flawed process. Felt that there should have been more meetings where the bishop was present not a representative.

Reconfiguration Process: woe to those that lead the little ones astray.... Outcome: The flock has been scattered and my children are confused. However they are also enlightened about how and why everyone should learn the lesson of the Tower of Babel: Genesis 11:1-9 It is time for us to scatter and speak in different tongues.

It was truly a shame to see the most beautiful church in Lakewood (and quite frankly Cleveland) be shut down due to low attendance and upkeep costs of the wonderful place of worship it was. It would have been nice to see the smaller parishes like St. Clement, St. Cyril or event St. Luke's merge as a church to keep the largest and most beautiful gathering place open. I do hope that there will remain some way to keep the building as historical landmark and that it may be preserved for years to come. It's such a shame to go down Detroit Avenue and see it's doors closed.

The bishop has decided that parishes can be sacrificed for the "good" of the diocese. He's got it wrong. The diocese is the servant of the parishes.

It seems as though the older ,more traditional parishes were closed or rather cast aside and I don't understand why.When a person goes into these newer buildings you see plain walls and it is almost like you are in a cookie cutter church and you get a very real sense of people at mass just going through the motions. I think the Catholic church in general is in real trouble and Bishop Lennon was the first of many wolves to scatter the flock.Let us hope and pray that other types of faiths don't realize this and start capitalizing on our present situation. .

if the reconfiguration plan was as fair as bishop lennon thought it was, why does he wear a bullet proof vest and have a dozen or more bodygaurds around him especially being a leader of the Catholic church in Cleveland when he closed the churches? If he considers himself so holy and all knowing, why didn't he listen to what the parishoners of the closed churches with appeals in Rome wanted and give them an opportunity to a timely process to work out their plan for continuing their mission in the churches and neighborhoods in which they were an anchor and a refuge of their faith? The process was flawed and he won't admit it! The apathy of the other churches in the diocese to allow Historic, vibrant , valuable ,congregations and faithful parish families to be destroyed by the same shameful representative and supposed leader of our Cleveland diocese is truly alarming! Churches built by our forefathers with blood ,sweat, and sacrifice closed by an outsider with no regard for the history of OUR past.Closed by the same representative of our catholic faith that was allowed to destroy the history, heritage ,congregations, and faithful parish families in Boston and sent here by our own catholic church to do the same thing! And the church wonders why people are leaving the church and have stopped goig 1
it will be along time untill I will contribute to any thing involving the the catholic church in cleveland at least as long as Bishop Lennon is here! H e is a disgusting excuse for a man and a bishop and if those in charge don't realize that they are deeply ignorant of what this arrogant example of a bishop was allowed to do, especially to the churches that are still working to stay open with their appeals.

Why wouldnt they keep the same priests in the neighborhoods, rather than moving new ones in and old ones out to further areas?

I am disappointed that St. James was closed and am convinced that Bishop Lennon was only concerned about the monetary cost of repairs and made a decision based on saving money.

I am not "attending" any church on any regular basis, but I do attend another Roman Catholic church on a non-regular basis (not weekly). I have not registered, because the closing of our church is under appeal to the Vatican. I feel welcomed at the church which is only temporary for me and probably for my fellow parishioners, who were invited there.

St James should not have been closed. It is the only church on the west end of the city. Many other reasons

Our church, St. James Parish, should have merged with St. Clement Parish in Lakewood.

It really sucks! My parish was vibrant and completely self-supporting. I fail to see the point of disrupting our parish family other than an attempt by the Bishop at ethnic cleansing. The last I knew, this was hardly a Christian value!

I am attending a church that was not involved in the Lakewood cluster. I will have nothing to do with the Lakewood churches at this time.

What was the point in having panels/committees/councils to determine which churches would be closed if the results were going to be ignored by someone not even familiar with the communities/parishes? St. James (located in Lakewood) is a large church that would have been able to accommodate incoming parishioners from closed churches because of the footage available, plus it has more parking accommodations that the other churches. But we were closed. It just doesn't make sense.

I do not see as, Bishop Lennon stated " the course he laid out in both his March and May letter that provides a better prospect for a Vibrant Church presence for the future in the area encompassing the former parishes of Annuciation, Ascension and St. Patrick Wp" in a letter he sent to me dated July 20, 2009.

Don't know what to do.

I believe this was planned WAY before the congregations heard of it by the diocese.I believe certain city's (esp.Cleveland)are becoming government owned & that the church closings are just part of the process.I also believe Pastor's should be appointed by the congregation not assigned by the Diocese.Our Pastor was a terrible leader and isn't that what they're sent to do lead the flock?????

BAD BAD choices.The Catholic Diocese is RUINING the WEST PARK area.

totally un necessary.a way to cover up wrong doings.

It seem that our input was never a concern. We were not in debt or disrepair.

I am still hoping that our appeal to the Vatican will change the outcome. We bought our home and raised our family based on which parish we would belong to. Now, to drive by a closed church and be told to find a new home among strangers is heartbreaking. For the first time in my Catholic life, I find it hard to go to any church.I have tried to find another church where I will find comfort in my GOD, but I have been unable to do so. The rest of my family has stopped going to any church and some are considering changing religions. Is that what the bishop intended?

Parish closings were necessary. I think that in 10 to 15 years, when the priest shortage is an increasing problem, people will ask "why didn't we close more parishes to plan accordingly for the forecasted number of priests?" I do think the process was flawed; for example it was very unfair to cluster any parish with St. John's Cathedral and then allow only one parish in the cluster to remain open. In the approximately 20 years we were active at St. Andrew, the decline in parish vibrancy was very evident. And given the current trend of society demographics, the same transition will occur at inner-ring suburban churches.

The Reconfiguration process was deceptive, as we were told to do one thing, , we made the recommendations through conscientious discernemnt, only to be completely ignored by the Bishop Lennon. The outcome was not what the Cluster recommended, was not in keeping with the reasons cited by the Bishop for necessating the closings. One was the shortage of priests. Our priest, an extern priest, was dismissed from the Diocese when the Bishop closed our church. Our riest was treated in the most humiliating way by the Bishop. After 25 years of dedicated service in the Diocese, with impeccable history, he was dismissed from the Diocese with 3 weeks notice and not even a handshake or concern from the Bishop about his future. A bishop is also a priest and for a priest to treat another colleague priest in this manner is reprehensible. Our priest's only fault in the eyes of the Bishop is that he speaks Hungarian. Bishop Lennon has evidently lied about the priest shortage if he could dismiss one and has no sense of decency or care for another fellow priest, nor has any sense of what it means to deal with human beings. He has mercilessly stripped the elderly Hungarian speaking Catholics of their spiritual sustenance. He would be good at reorganizing the contents of his dresser drawers, ---things like socks and t-shirts , but he has no capacity for dealing with --- human beings!

While my old parish needed to be closed, vibrant parishes--St. Peter's and St. Emeric's-- should not have been closed. The money changers are back in the temple as far as these two churches are concerned.

Icannot believe what an unchristian man this bishop is.He cares not a whit about the people of the Cleveland Diocese.Even though some Churches had to be closed, he could have done it in a more caring manner. In a few years, when he has finished damaging things here, he will probably be shipped to another city to do tha same things. It can't be too soon, as far as I am concerned. [name deleted by me]

I feel very sorry for the older members of our community who have lost so much. Some, really have no way to get to their "new" church and that is sad. Maybe a way should have been found to redistribute the wealth and the priests amongst all of us. Some churches have several priests not because of church members, but because of the money generated by those who are more affluent. Not fair. The whole process was wrong on many levels and I am afraid that ultimately, many people will choose other denominations. We are, after all, believers of Jesus Christ.

We have few enough Catholics coming to Mass -- and sharing in the financial support of the parish -- as it is, and now parishes full of good people have been alienated. Also, I have discussed our lot with many Protestants & how they view our leadership is really embarassing, though I have experienced wonderful sympathy and interest in "the troops" from them.

The past work of the cluster groups seemed totally irrellevent.
I feel that the work of the cluster committees was totally disregarded and the results ignored.
In the cluster I am a part of we were told we needed to prepare for the reality of someday having only three (down from four) priests between the three parishes that make up our cluster. When all is said and done, we now have six priests living in the cluster - only one with the title "in residence." The others have been assigned to the parish. My heart aches for those who have lost their parish because of the declining number of priests while my cluster has an abundance of priests. We have four masses at our parish every weekend (none of which are near capacity), divided between three priests - that seems so unnecessary.

I understand the closing of some parishes, but not St. James in Lakewood. It seems like it was an uneducated decision.