, Salem, MA

January 17, 2013

Letter: A sad time for St. Joseph Church

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

Re: Missing statue?

St. Joseph is ashamed to show his face.

As a former graduate of St. Joseph’s Academy, I speak for myself and those who are gone before us with the sign of faith, the French-Canadian immigrants who came here and worked hard. They came and worked in the mills for maybe $20 a week. They were very proud people who wanted to give us a gift to remember them by.

These were the people who maybe had one suit in their closet. That was for Sunday Mass. They went many years putting money aside to build a church. Sunday to them was a different family life than what we see today. Everyone went to church and then went home, had a family dinner, watched TV and visited family. Not like today, when people spend their Sunday shopping and eating out.

I feel very bad for them. They went without many things that people today buy for themselves. And this is what makes them special in my heart. Did they have any idea that the people of today wouldn’t care? ...

Today, as I drove by and saw my church being taken down by a wrecking ball, I pulled over and said to myself, “If this happened 30 years ago, you would have had a war going on in the schoolyard.” Only two protesters were there; one I know very well, Anna Della Monica, a woman I think is a very special person. I was a lector, altar boy, volunteer at the church bingo. I got to know Anna when she was playing the organ at St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s. Then I began to realize no one else was there because no one cares anymore; the Catholic Church does what it wants to do.

The people of this generation would rather go to the mall on Sunday than attend Mass ...

The money was the people’s money, given for one reason only: to build a church for all generations to come after them. The mistake was with the word “donation”; in the end, you’re left with nothing ...

This should never have happened. It should never happen again. It sends the wrong message to the people. Taking down a church is a very bad thing to do. They tell me that it’s only a building, now that all of the sacred items are removed. ... If I had told those wonderful sisters years ago that it was only a building, I would have spent many afternoons in detention. Maybe I feel the way I do because of these great sisters and my great parents.

The Catholic Church has to come up with a better plan. ... My recommendation is to invest in your church, not donate. Why you say donation, it means you give it to them. Tell them you have a sum of money to invest in the church. This way, the church belongs to the people, not the Catholic Church.

Donald Purcell