St Mary's

Posted by MJ

Update 6/23/11

The LUSJ had two articles. One talking with St Mary's and one with All Saints with whom they are supposed to merge with  Starting in September. Shockingly they are going to accept and St Mary's parishioners with open arms (sarcasm added).

Noted in this article was that All Saints offers 3 masses and has three priests. Not noted is that St Mary's has three masses and only one priest. Each brought in about 6,400 dollars last week in offerings. I'd say that St. Mary's is the more efficient/profitable entity. (St John's by the way is the local force with 5 weekend masses).

From All Saint's Rev Vatter:

“I didn’t have a reaction,” said Vatter. “We’re just going along with process .... I felt bad we weren’t all working together. The Vicariate is doing things as a group and we wish that St. Mary’s be part of it.”
We are usurping your parish. Please play along nicely.
“Nobody came from the diocese to meet with us or Father Gary,” said Ulrich who noted that St. Mary’s got a positive score on 17 of 18 points as a parish. “Finances, percent at Mass and programs, we were good on all of them,” he said.

The bishop ruled that St. Mary’s will no longer have weekend Masses and will only be used as a oratory for special services.

Kmiec wrote, “I have been saddened by the effect St. Mary’s appeal has had on the unity of the Catholic Community of Lockport, and I hope the good will that is in each one’s heart will heal any wounds of division.”
How dare a parish scoring 95% question why it is being closed. Play along because your best interest is our best interest. Almost sounds like secular government. People will always be people.


The LUSJ reported that Bishop Kmiec has said that St. Mary's must close by Sept. 1st:
Some parishioners wept Saturday evening at the announcement that St. Mary’s must close by Sept. 1 by order of Most Rev. Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop of Buffalo.

Pastor Gary Kibler met with Kmiec on Thursday and read the bishop’s letter from the pulpit after the 4:30 p.m. Mass....
A growing parish on stable financial ground in an iconic Lockport structure is ordered to close while in Buffalo St. Bernard's was allowed another year to "determine if trends toward decline can be reversed." The Bernard's article also mentions: "The bishop cited Chmielewski's willingness to participate in the process as a key element behind his decision." while the St Marys has the broken quote: “"I have been saddened by the effect St. Mary’s..." What division? Parishioners asked."

It would seem to show that humans will play "politics" no matter what the calling or subject at hand is. Play nice and you can get a chance to turn around a shrinking parish. Challenge a questionable decision and continue the closure of a successful parish.


Anonymous said...

It's ridiculous for the Bishop to close a thriving and financially stable parish. Over 400 new families have joined St. Mary's during the last ten years. Masses are always full!

What a shame that the Bishop doesn't like the fact that this parish appealed to Rome - something that they are entitled to due according to the Catholic Church. Shame on you Bishop Kmeic. Let the Vatican decide - at least they are taking the time to really investigate the strength of the St. Mary's community!

Also, does Lockport really need another city block sitting empty? St. Mary's is the first thing people see when they drive into downtown Lockport. It's even on most of the city's marketing material and buttons!

Lockport is very lucky to have great Catholic parishes in All Saints and St. John's but they are already maxed out; I say the people of Lockport should help save St. Mary's. The more the merrier!

Patti said...

St. Pat's - or whatever they're calling it these days - can't accommodate the crowds and the "Flying Jesus" is the ugliest Church in Western New York.
With regard to Saint Joseph the Worker in Lowertown - I called the guy in the Diocesan Office whom I've known for almost 40 years.
Didn't do any good, but at least they do open it for special occasions.

Anonymous said...

We as a community had to try to rally together to try to save St. Mary's. It is inconceivable to think one man can uproot so many families without looking at the facts. He can't be bothered to visit the church or meet with its parishioners. It is a wonderful church filled with friendly people and an amazing priest. There are not any priests I know that can even hold a candle to Father Gary. He makes you feel welcome, mass is a joy, and you actually leave feeling like you learned something or think things differently. Its a terrible shame to lose someone like him. He is inspiring. People actually go to church because they want to, not because they feel obligated. I will keep fighting. Please...LOCKPORT, no matter what your faith, age, or race...HELP...lets all come together and show Kmiec what true community faith is!

MJ said...

I can understand the need to close parishes that can no longer support themselves. But even then they should be given some conditions and time to see if it could be turned around. But in the case of St. Mary's there is really no rational reason to close it to masses.

If Kmiec could put his pride aside and humble himself in accordance to his faith, there is no reason that the closure should continue.

And yes, Fr Gary is one of the nicest people I've ever met, secular or not. No doubt he is one of the biggest reasons for the draw to St. Mary's.

Anonymous said...

I agree, St Marys is a growing vibrant community and deserves to stay open. Here is a link to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo contact page where you can leave them a message regarding your feelings about closing the church. I'm sure if enough people respond, Bishop Kmiec will be made aware of the response.


Anonymous said...

that's what happens when you take your marching orders from one of the richest, most isolated, and most corrupt countries on the planet

jesus said to believe in him and god, not to believe in a social/political organization dedicated to hording wealth and living in secrecy

Anonymous said...

Patti, Re: "Flying Jesus", what does your opinion on the aesthetics of St. John's Church have to do with St. Mary's quest to keep their parish open? I am a lifelong parishoner of St. John's and I am offended.

Brother Love said...

who ever said the Catholic Church was fair?

Patti said...

I'm sorry you were offended, however, I can't think of an uglier church in all of Western New York. St. Mary's is lovely and encourages people to attend. In my opinion, St. John's does not measure up to St. Mary's.

MJ said...

Be sure to state architecturally. My grammar school had a modern concrete church like St John's. There's really no way to financially recreate the old churches. When one starts to fail, like the old St John's, we end up getting something simpler in its place. Architecturally speaking, I feel you just can't beat those old Gothic/Romanesque ones. Door's Open Niagara or 7 Churches One Night in Buffalo are always a great opportunity to explore them.

MJ said...

cleaned up - off topic

Moe said...

just curious..how do you decide what's off topic, and what's censorship?..or doesn't it matter?

MJ said...

I just do since it's my blog. I'm pretty lenient until people arrive with only the goal of pushing the boundaries. I'm able to go long periods of time without wasting my time removing things until a troll arrives and then others take the bait or join in. I shouldn't have to be a grade school teacher (referee).

I figure it should be pretty obvious in this case. This is about an iconic Lockport structure, St Mary's, scheduled closing, viability, double standards to other parishes etc. Religious scandals have nothing to do with it and are only placed to stir up replies or a missed attempt at worn out humor.

I can not censor anyone. I can only attempt to keep my blog on topic. Anyone is welcome to start a blog with whatever comments they want the world to see. They need not muddy up this one just so they can draw attention to their anonymous selves.

Patti said...

May I make it clear that I am referring only to the aesthetic beauty of St. Mary's v. St John's. I also note that St. John's knocked down a cut stone house (practically in the dead of night) to expand its parking. I found this objectionable. Had we known of their plans I guarantee you there would have been a lot of people attempting to stop them from doing this.
I also had several differences of opinion with the Monsignor who ran the place for many years. I had a difference of opinion with the former Priest at St. Mary's which resulted in his being sent to, I believe, Quebec, and the former secretary at St. Pat's who hurt that parish tremendously, most importantly, Fr. Frank.
My St John's opinion refers only to its architectural beauty v. St. Mary's. I apologize for being less than sensitive to your feelings. I was boorish.

Moe said...

that's fair enough..maybe to some dopes like me who are new to this Blog you may need to remind me and others that it is your blog, and you and it are independent, and that you receive no funding from the city or any political or religious groups.

Maybe it is posted and I need to look for the disclaimer.

Anonymous said...

I just want to know what more can we do to try and keep St Mary's open. That is what is truly important here!!!

MJ said...

cleaned up for interpersonal bickering

Anonymous said...

All Saints has one Pastor, one retired Pastor Emeritus (as of July 1) and one Priest-in-Residence whose ministry is outside the parish. He lives at All Saints so that he can live in community with his order (Oblates of St. Francis de Sales). So, to say that All Saint is inefficient because they have three priests is not accurate.

As of August 31, St. Mary's will have zero priests. Fr. Kibler is getting out of Dodge. On his own initiative. He was neither asked or forced to leave. All Saints welcomes, unsarcastically, fellow Catholics who will still need to make their Sunday Mass obligation, and choose to do so at All Saints.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Kibler getting out of Dodge??? If the Bishop wouldn't demand St Mary's to close, he would be staying. If this does end up happening, hopefully he will be able to go where he would be happy. I think he is just tired of all this nonsense. Was he asked to to go All Saints?? What options was he given to stay in Lockport?

Patti said...

To the last anonimi-

Write to the Diocese. Real letters on paper, mailed via the USPS and signed. Don't throw a lot of names on these letters - one for everyone. Perhaps mail them return receipt requested.
To Kmiec.
Copy to the Diocese Public Relations guy. Kevin Keenan - Director of Communications.

Anonymous said...

hi to all St. Mary followers..it is too sad for me to think that her Church was closed, it's unfair and some kind of INSULT to the Most Holy Queen of all Queen and Queen of all Saints and Angels as we know she is the Mother of our Lord Jesus...why her church..???...somebody says a joke,,,St. Joseph Church in Oklahoma is still very stable...now St. Mary here in Lockport is closed...to bad and too sad.. !

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what will become of St. Mary's church building? I used to go on occasion to mass with a friend there. It would be sad to see it used for some totally different purpose. The lit up steeple at night is such an asset to the cityscape too.

Moretoys1 said...

Its the greed and jealousy of the Scribes and Pharisees in Buffalo, and I am not talking about jewish. I was raised at this church, but have moved away. I suppose I should keep my mouth shout but Can Not. This is were I developed my love for the Lord. There is no good reason to have closed this house of God throwing hundreds of believers out on the street, so one can only assume the typical, GREED AND JEALOUSY AND BACK ROOM POLITICS! SHAME ON THE BUFFALO CATHOLIC DIOCESE AND THE BISHOP KMIEC! And if there is a good reason still shame for not divulging it.
Yes this is a rebuke.

Barbara said...

It has been several months now since my beautiful St. Mary's closed it's doors. I have been Catholic for over 60 years. I can't get passed this. I have tried. What example is my church setting for my children and grandchildren. This should not have closed. There was no real reason for it. Sweet Jesus forgive me, but I my heart has been ripped out and I just can't go to other services at other churches. This church truly was for the congregation. I still prayer for the "miracle on Saxton Street" I prayer that the Vatican can over turn this ruling. It should never have happened!!

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