My Dear Canaryville,

 

In response to the Sun-Times article in Tuesday’s paper, we have been besieged by emails, phone calls, personal conversations and other news media looking for insights or early answers from us here at the rectory.  Just specifically looking at the 2 paragraphs talking about St. Gabe’s, one the parish and the other the grade school, the first one is problematic and the other one is pretty accurate in terms of all the possible scenarios that were looked at throughout the year.

First, the parish:  The paragraph about St. Gabriel Parish had 3 sentences in it.  The first 2 sentences were not a problem, per se, and actually repeated each other.  All 14 possible scenarios regarding the 8 parishes in our cluster (remember, each scenario had to include what happens to all 8 parishes, not just us and Nativity) had us either merging with Nativity, Nativity, and one other parish, or being left alone, that is to still be a parish standing alone with our own pastor.  So those first 2 sentences accurately reflected what possibilities lie ahead for us.  The 3rd sentence was a huge problem. Never, never, never in any of these meetings did the possibility get voted on to close St. Gabriel Parish!  Our then Vicar Bishop, Alberto Rojas, at the beginning of this whole process roughly 1 year ago said:  relax, neither Nativity nor St. Gabe’s is going to close.  A merger to share one pastor, yes, possibly, but no closed churches.

So where did that sentence come from?  I don’t know, but I have 2 guesses.  Just bad journalism on the part of the Sun-Times religious editor or the archdiocese is trying to slip a fast one past us at the last minute by closing us. A call to Bishop Casey’s secretary in the early afternoon got us this reply:  that statement in the Sun-Times did NOT come from the archdiocese.  They are making nothing public to the press till after the announcement Wednesday night at St. Barbara’s in Bridgeport at 7 PM.  So there you have it.

Secondly, the school paragraph:  yes, throughout this entire process it was a possibility that St. Gabe’s school would close and merge with BCA.  By the end of the year-long process, it has been most recently decided that the RMC team would advise the Cardinal to leave both school’s open with their own principals!  Now, this is only advisory, the Cardinal can still do whatever he wants to do, and that won’t be announced till Wednesday, 7 PM, at St. Barbara’s in Bridgeport.

So Canaryville, how about showing up at St. Barbara’s at 28th and Throop by 7 PM on Wednesday,  to hear the verdicts from our newest Vicar Bishop himself, Bishop Casey?  All parishioners from Chinatown, Bridgeport and Canaryville are invited to this same announcement meeting.  At this point, I would like to see a strong turnout from Canaryville!

 

Fraternally,

Fr. Tom