Once upon a time, there was a little girl, in a beautiful white First Communion dress and veil, standing in the corner of the vestibule of a magnificent soaring church, crying her eyes out. Red faced, swollen eyed and miserable.
The church bells pealed out announcing the call to mass, and suddenly she was surrounded by her family, her friends, so many legs and whispers. All that were near were instantly drawn to her aid.
“I don’t want to eat anybody’s body!” she wailed, turning into her Mother’s skirt.
The crowd pealed with laughter, and her mom quickly explained that during Communion, the hosts were really just crackers, and that the divine change into the consecrated Body of Christ that the little girl had studied on, in her own eight year old way, was just symbolic.
First Communion was saved and it turned into a beautiful sacred day for the family and all who shared in it.
I was that little girl.
I was that little girl standing in the vestibule of Holy Rosary Church.
I’m still that little girl.
I was really that little girl last night when I heard of the Archbishop’s decision to “close and raze” Holy Rosary Church in Tacoma.
This mighty building, this building that will turn 100 years old in 2020 is the subject of a Decree from the Archdiocese in Seattle that will turn her into a pile of rubble.
If that church is razed, I’m afraid that I will be that little girl forever.
In case you don’t know the story. The building has some deferred maintenance issues with the roof in a section by the steeple, there are brick and mortar issues requiring an “enveloping”, there are minor plaster repairs (which become major at 80 feet high), painting and here’s a big one…. probably THE big one “seismic updating” which entails who knows what. The church could use an overhaul. An $18 Million overhaul to be exact.
Here’s a less scary number $2.5 million. It will cost $2.5 million to get the church back in business. That my friends, is not symbolic.
The Seattle Archdiocese told the congregation on Saturday in a letter…… A letter. They did not even send a representative down to read it to the very community that it is devastating. This letter told the people of Holy Rosary that they did not matter. They were told that they didn’t bring in enough funds for proper maintenance and that the stewardship of the community is not warranted. They told them that money of that sort is not worthy of a 100 year old architectural monument. Even if that money came from somewhere else. I have paraphrased of course. A copy of that letter can be found at the bottom of this page.
I don’t know what you were taught during your catechism days, but I was taught that the church is merciful and it cares for the meek. The church heals the sick and comforts the poor. Is this just symbolism too? Asking for a friend.
The Catholic Church of the greater Seattle area said that a church with a copper steeple that stands 210 feet up into the air, 50 feet higher than the Tacoma Dome is not worth the money it will take to save it. It’s not even worthy of someone else’s money……….
There is a group, to which I belong, to which I have belonged for the last six months, and planned with and prayed with. A group so diverse….. It includes parishioners and school families. It includes former parishioners and alumni. It includes people that just don’t want to see that building closed because it is in itself an incredible work of art. You can see from the pictures posted here or via simple search. You can tour the interior here.
This group, Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church, is a licensed and fully vested 501c3 charity, separate from the Archdiocese of Seattle. 90% of our donations and fundraising goes toward restoring and reopening Holy Rosary Church. 10% goes directly to the parish of Holy Rosary. All we want is a chance to save her, and it is what makes us (read: me) so angry about the Archbishop’s Decree. We were not given a chance. The church’s condition is not so dire that they couldn’t have allowed us a chance to raise the funds. We offered and then we begged, several times. They would not allow us to get our own assessment of the costs to cure.
I have always been taught that God, his people and his chosen leaders were all made of Love and Kindness. Symbolism?
In some moments I am that confused little girl.
But the little girl that is still hanging on in there, she did her crying last night and today she wants to shout from the mountaintops. And she’s going to. She’s doing it right now.
We have not given up. We are still trying to save the Holy Rosary Church! Please stand up with us!
We are already in the process of appealing the Archbishop’s Decree, with just ten days to do it. It involves a Canon lawyer, lots of paperwork and other serious church business. We are on top of it. We have also been in contact with the Historical Preservation Society.
We are looking for pledges at this time. Large dollar amounts (serious only, this is a big deal) that we can offer up to the powers that be as a sort of proof that we can do this. We will detail these pledges in our appeal to save the church. We only have ten days to submit our appeal. Do you know any big wigs in the local area? Do you know someone who is going to need a big tax deduction next year? How about a pledge over several years….. It will be a tax donation heaven for you or your company.
Send them this blog, point them to www.savetacomaslandmarkchurch.com.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hmmm, you don’t know anybody like that?
What you can do right now, today is to write a letter asking the Archbishop to reconsider the demolition of Holy Rosary. Ask him to consider allowing it to be a shrine, to be a historic monument. Ask him to consider allowing the community to try to raise the funds to fix her.
THIS IS IMPORTANT: That letter must be postmarked by September 9, 2019.
The Archbishop of Seattle
710 9th Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104
You can also go to Facebook and like Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church, and/or Twitter and follow @SaveHolyRosary.
You can like and share and spread the word that this is not over. We have just begun to fight. Help me please, Help Me Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church!