As a 75-year member of Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, needless to say that I am very upset with the offer the Bishop of the Youngstown Diocese made to our parishioners. We appealed to the Congregation of the Clergy and the appeal was approved. They ordered the Bishop to reopen our church. Having met with three Monsignors - Carligio, Siffrin and Polando on Oct. 19 in Youngstown - we learned that he offered us one Mass a year on the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception beginning in 2013 - 13 months from now. They will open the church for one hour a week for prayer and worship. They want us to put one envelope in a month to maintain ICC and one a week to help support Holy Trinity Parish. Does he think we are stupid??? As a practicing Catholic, this is totally unacceptable to me and our other members.
We had over $145,000 in our bank accounts which was withdrawn and we were financially stable but the Bishop closed our church anyway.
Now rumor has it that the reason he made this kind of offer is because he knows that it is not going to be accepted by us and he can simply say that we are not financially stable and he will close it for good. As I said, this is the rumor circulating in East Liverpool and Wellsville. I am a true believer in the old saying "Where there is smoke there is fire."
As one of the four signatories that filed the appeal with the Congregation of the Clergy in Rome, we will pursue our case to the fullest according to Church Cannon Law and make sure the case is handled and executed properly.
The Bishop is supposed to shepherd his entire flock. He has put our flock out to pasture. It seems to me that they don't want us, they only want our money. This is very evident in their actions. We will continue to fight for what we believe in and we will not give up.
I have always been very active in the church, having been the church organist at one time, served on the Parish Council and was a Cantor. I have always very generously supported the church financially.
About four weeks ago, the Priest read a letter to the people assembled there that the Bishop was not ordered to open our church by the Congregation of the Clergy. Several members of Immaculate Conception Church were there after Father Peter read the letter at the Sunday 8:30 a.m. Mass, one of the men seated in the front of the church stood up and faced the congregation and began to applaud to which some of the members joined in. How do you think those Immaculate Conception members who were in attendance felt when this happened? Why are you happy that our church closed? As I said before, I would have stood right along with St. Al's members if they were closing your church and helped you to keep it open.
Having gone to Catholic School for eight years and taught by the nuns, this is not what I learned about Catholic Christianity. This is a very sad display of our Catholic faith. I am not losing my faith in God, but I am losing my faith in the people that are supposed to be teaching the word of God.