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Letter to the Editor: Update Regarding St. Laurentius Church


Some people question why the Friends of St. Laurentius  Church Committee did not meet with Archbishop Chaput before the controversy surrounding the future of St. Laurentius became a public issue. The fact is meetings with Archbishop Chaput and his representatives were requested but those requests were never honored. The first request was initiated when the Archdiocesan decree to merge St. Laurentius Parish with Holy Name Parish was announced in June 2013. The parishioners who attended weekly mass at St. Laurentius possessed concern that the merger decree was implemented solely by the Archdiocese without their full knowledge and without direct consultation with them by the Archdiocese. There are no records that reports were presented in writing to the parishioners regarding merger plans with Holy Name or any other church.

Following the June 2013 announcement, members of St. Laurentius Church met and agreed to organize the Friends of St. Laurentius Church Committee augmented particularly by the lack of responsiveness on the part of the Archdiocese. The main objective of the committee was to maintain St. Laurentius Church as an independent church community. The committee began to contact church leaders integral to the future of St. Laurentius, including Archbishop Chaput, Msgr. Rodgers, Msgr. Kutys, and Father Kelly, and the appointed pastors, Father Zingaro, followed by Father Sibel, to meet with the parishioners and committee for the well being of the community. Not one leader agreed to a meeting.

The People of St. Laurentius Church continue to express their disappointment of the unavailability of Archbishop Chaput or his representatives to meet with parishioners in order to hear their concerns. It was always well understood that they were motivated by deep devotion to faith and respect for the historic church, built by their immigrant ancestors who were inspired by the desire to express their faith, culture and spirituality in a truly profound manner. To the people of St. Laurentius Church, this issue not only involves a church building, but the community which has come about as a result of St. Laurentius Church which has united people for over 130 years. Now Archdiocesan officials have placed the church up for sale without concern for the will of the people. Many view this action as a betrayal of the Catholic community that provided this historic landmark in the first place and a Catholic community who wishes to maintain St. Laurentius Church as a place of worship and spiritual devotion.

The people don’t understand:

  1. Why did Archbishop Chaput allow these processes to continue without directly meeting with and listening to the views and concerns of the people of St. Laurentius Church?
  2. Why was Fr. Sibel permitted to begin dismantling their house of worship and desecrate the sanctuary of the church built and paid for by the founders and supported by members of St. Laurentius Church?
  3. Why was their house of worship put up for sale, without honoring their requests for a personal meeting with Archbishop Chaput?

This detachment of Archbishop Chaput and his representatives from the people of St. Laurentius Church has only made this situation more difficult and more complex.

May God Bless St. Laurentius,

John Wisniewski


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