I remember several years ago I used to go church infrequently. When I did go to mass, it was either the Jesuit Church downtown or my neighborhood church, Our Lady of Good Counsel. It was a beautiful little church. Now the archidiocese of New Orleans is threatening to shutter it. The current parishioners would be asked to move to St. Stephens on Napoleon, a mere 12 blocks away. I know there has been lots of local press and a grassroots effort to keep the church open.
I don't know how it works in the rest of the country, but in New Orleans a church is a definable characteristic of a neighborhood - the university section of town has Holy Name, but there is also Mater Dolorosa, St. Stephen, St. Francis, St. Rita's. There's St. Pius, St. Anthony of Padua, and too many churches to name, all of which exist to serve the neighborhoods and some go beyond parish boundaries.
Our Lady of Good Counsel did not flood. I don't have financial info (though I bet I could ask my mom since she works at the associated Catholic Charities of New Orleans...), but I think this is one of the churches that should stay open for the simple reason that it's base is growing. Give this church a chance. It doesn't have the size of a St. Stephen or the grandeur of Holy Name, but it has members who care and are willing to mobilize for its stability.
I hope the voices of those sparking the protest are heard. According to the article in USA Today, if the appeal reaches the Vatican, it will have to be written in Latin. I know someone willing to offer his services for free.
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