Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's Sunday. It's the Lord's day for some. Time to get up, put on one's Sunday best, and head on over to...hey, wait a minute! Where's the church?????


The Archdiocese of New Orleans has announced plans to close a vibrant
and historic Catholic church, Our Lady of Good Counsel at 1235
Louisiana Avenue. This 114-year-old church ministers to 450 families,
including a large number of elderly and disabled parishioners who do
not have the ability to travel to another church. Both OLGC and
another historic Uptown church, St. Henry's (which is 152 years old
and ministers to 300 families) are to be closed in April. Our Lady of
Good Counsel was one of the first Catholic churches to reopen in New
Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, we have repaired the
minor wind damage we sustained in the storm, doubled the size of our
congregation, and made great progress toward paying off our debt to
the archdiocese. Our congregation ministers to the local poor through
the St. Vincent de Paul Society and other organizations, and we hold a
popular St. Joseph's altar each March 19, where the saint is honored
and the public is fed.

The archdiocese blames the closing on a shortage of priests (OLGC and
St. Henry's each have two priests in residence) and reminds us that we
"must make sacrifices for the good of the Church." We feel that we
have already sacrificed a great deal, while the archdiocese has
sacrificed little or nothing; they simply do not wish to help small
parishes that aren't putting money in their pockets.

Our Lady of Good Counsel is architecturally significant, with a
magnificent high altar, remarkable stained glass windows, a working
pipe organ, and other details that would make it part of a standard
church tour in any European city. Under the archdiocese's current
ruling, this beautiful and sacred building will be sold off to the
highest bidder and could even be torn down. Only in New Orleans do we
have so many unseen treasures, and only in New Orleans, it seems, are
we so ready to throw them away.

The archdiocese will announce its final decision re: Our Lady of Good
Counsel and St. Henry's on Wednesday, April 9. On that day at 11:15
AM, OLGC parishioners will gather in front of the church to discuss
the decision and rally in favor of keeping our place of worship open.
We greatly appreciate any support or coverage you can give us.

Here is OLGC's website:

Very sincerely yours,

Poppy Z. Brite [ bookdocpzb (at) gmail (dot) com ]

You may also wish to contact Cheron Brylski [ CBrylski (at) aol (dot) com ], who
is coordinating the anti-closing efforts.

My words to the Archdiocese: now you've done it. You've up and ticked a writer off. Nice going. Way to minister to your parishioners.


The long, long road home,New Orleans said...

Religion, all faiths, are an important part of New Orleans culture. The Catholic influence on the culture is undoubtedly the largest. I look at this turn of events as just a further erosion of the culture that has existed.

Adrastos said...

What, no comment from Mr. Know It All? How'd that happen?