Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Submission IV: St. Barbara

The feast day of St. Barbara was celebrated this past Sunday, December 4th on the steps and sidewalk of the locked St. Barbara's Church. Closed on Mother's Day (May 9th) 2010, by Bishop Richard Lennon, the church has stood silent awaiting the return of its parishioners. The parishioners of St. Barbara's had filed an appeal with the Vatican to override the bishop's actions, thus stopping the diocese from selling off the church and the rest of the patrimony.

In the interim, the exiled parishioners have anxiously awaited a decision from Rome; only to hear that their appeal has been given still another extension (March of 2012). Scattered from their Polish founded parish (1905), they have kept in touch with each other, and prayed for a miracle.

As the attendees arrived on this second Sunday in Advent for this St Barbara's Day celebration, they were greeted with a slight rain, which they jokingly said, as the umbrellas popped open, was a blessing from above for refusing to abandon their parish. As they decorated the fence adjacent to the church with a banner stating "We Trust In Jesus", and hung advent wreaths on the church, they noticed that certain thieves had paid a visit to their beloved church. The air conditioning units were stolen, and the aluminium flag pole was hacked off at its base! "How sad", one woman remarked, "even the scrappers were benefiting from all these church closings."

The assembled were all welcomed, and thanked for coming. They prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for their dear St. Barbara's community, and the numerous Catholic Parishes that were wrongfully closed under the guise of the "Vibrant Parish Plan." Michael Minich, the grandson of founders of the parish and one of the organizers of the vigil stated, "Bishop Pilla started Vibrant Parish with the promise not to close any churches and Bishop Lennon ended it with betrayal and closings."

A straw poll counted in attendance representatives from ten parishes. A 'rep' came from Congressman Kucinich's office. Cars driving across the Harvard-Denison Bridge, and those exiting the I-76 freeway ramp slowed down, rolled down their windows, and expressed support for the gathering. As they sang, a TV cameraman showed up and captured the event to present on the late news. Bolstered by the fact that the outside world was interested in their plight, as displaced Catholics, they kept on singing until the rain stopped for a short period of time. At the conclusion, they left the steps of St Barbara hoping to return to open doors as it was meant to be.

The words on the back of a St. Barbara holy card given to all to commemorate the celebration expressed the sentiments and meaning of the day. It read as follows:
Always in our hearts and minds
The church, our home and mother

The keys to Peter chosen to build
This sacred place like no other

Built in faith and firm in hope
Our Rock, our Lord, our Brother
This was the renewal, the feast day of St. Barbara, celebrated on the steps of this, their closed, but not forgotten church.

—Joseph Feckanin

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. This posting captured the true feelings shared by all in attendance. How true about what Vibrant Parish was supposed to be and the lie it is now. Keep the Faith St. Casimir and St. Barbara Faithful.