This is not a story about religion, not even a little bit. I had to tell you that now, for fear that you may miss the entire point of this post, you may feel that religious zealot vibe bubbling up from deep inside you, or feel the need to voice some kind of crazy ideas about the Catholic Church and their challenges.
Isn’t she beautiful, this is Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church. To those of us that know her, she is just Holy Rosary.
If I had a church, this would be the one. In fact, I would go so far as to declare that this is my church.
I went to school at Holy Rosary School, K-8. (It is now a bilingual academy, well respected in the community).
I went to mass at Holy Rosary Church every school day and on Sundays. I had my First Communion, First Confession, my Confirmation and I got married at Holy Rosary Church.
I said goodbye to my Grandma at Holy Rosary Church.
Needless to say, Holy Rosary Church holds a special place in my heart.
Holy Rosary Church is in grave danger. Some of the interior structure of the roof is falling apart and it is too dangerous to go inside of at this time.
Truth be told, it needs some shoring up. $10 Million Dollars worth of shoring up.
Forgetting I said all that, here are some facts that you probably don’t know.
Holy Rosary Church as it stands now, was built in 1920.
It is a little known fact that it actually came to exist in 1891, as a stick built church, on land purchased by German immigrants for the sole purpose of celebrating mass. The school has also existed since 1891. It is amazing I was able to find a photo, they were obviously very proud.
It was the second church (of any kind) in Tacoma.
On April 29, 1965, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Western Washington. South Seattle sustained the worst damage: thousands of chimneys collapsed in West Seattle, and at the Rainier Beer headquarters in Georgetown a large brewing tank came loose from its foundations, spilling two thousand gallons of beer. In Tacoma, the quake toppled the cross atop the spire of Holy Rosary Church, “a Tacoma landmark with a long history”.
Please note that it was already being called a landmark in 1965. In 1966, during a celebration of the raising of the new cross to the top of that mighty steeple, Bing Crosby, a parishioner and former student of Holy Rosary, sang Ave Maria, and Wish Upon a Star.
In 1994, the Church steeple was sheathed in copper, replacing leaking asbestos shingles. I was around to see this come to fruition. Oh how proud everybody was.
For many months until the copper developed its patina, the steeple flashed and shone in the sunlight.
In 1998, restoration work was undertaken on the stained glass windows of the church. This was made possible thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, who wished to do this in memory of her parents.
After all of this history, and history of work, there are rumblings that the church may now be destined to fall to ruins.
I have been told that the Archdiocese of Seattle has little interest in funding repairs, or maybe they just haven’t had the right inspiration. I’ve done some research this morning, and I can’t seem to find the group looking to save it.
Maybe I am that group.
I am so very proud of that church, that architecture. I have spent many years of my life there, and while I may have strayed from heading to mass regularly at this point in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the people there, the teachers, the priests, even the scary nuns.
I propose a joint effort, by the City of Tacoma, even dare I ask the government of the State of Washington, and the Catholic Church, via the Archdiocese of Seattle, together with a little local billionaire funding, to save this beautiful rendering of the past, brought forward into the present so many times, to be saved once again.
I am not kidding, I will go all the way to Pope Francis. I have been wanting to visit the Vatican anyway.
And before you go talking to me about the evil and horror of the Catholic Church, I tell you this. Never once, not a single time in history has any member of the Holy Rosary clergy been brought up on charges of impropriety. Do not waste a second of my life talking to me about that.
Your tax money paid to restore the Union Station. You are paying hundreds of dollars a year in RTA taxes for a light rail system not even considering being active in this area until 2023. Both Lincoln High School and Stadium High Schools have been refurbished several times.
Excepting the fact that this structure is a Church, is there any difference in the historical value in keeping it in our City? Do we have to knock down every building that is a work of art to make way for modern structures of glass and steel?
$10 Million is a lot of money to me. It’s not a lot of money to some others. Money is paper and 1’s and 0’s in computers. Money is made to be used. You can’t take it with you.
Dare I point out that rebuilding such a structure would cost more than the $10 Million it will take to save it?
Marijuana tax money has made this state rich. It is reported that the State’s coffers now contain monies equal to 5 years worth of State Budget. We are no longer a State that is struggling for funds.
Our wise, spendthrift (read: sarcasm) Governor Jay Inslee does not report what that money is slated to be used for, even when asked 10 million times. His only response, “it is going into the general fund”.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if drug money saved my church?
It’s just an idea, don’t get your panties in a bunch.
I am looking to save this church, and you are looking to keep seeing it from I-5. Help me in my quest. Point me in the right direction.
I know that I am not going to flounder alone in this quest, this is just the beginning.
I am also well aware that the real challenge I am taking on is the concept of separation of Church and State. I am asking that they work together. I can do this without the State, and may have to, but you can’t tell me that members of our governing bodies do not wish to continue seeing that majestic sight welcoming them to the City.
2020 is going to be the 100 year anniversary of this church’s existence. I am not willing to see it go away without a fight.
Spread the word. Share this post everywhere. Send it to the news, post it to your Facebook, please, please retweet, whatever you can do. Do you have an idea or an “in” with someone who can help?
Help me save Holy Rosary Church.
Update 09/07/19- Archbishop Peter Sartain issued a decree that Holy Rosary Church is to be “Closed and Razed”. A group that I helped start, and that I sit on the board of directors for, Save Tacoma’s Landmark Church has led an appeal with attorney and delivered it this week. I am doing everything I can to save her, for the next bunch of families to be raised as good Catholic people, and for the next 17 generations. I am not kidding.
Oh and the City of Tacoma is backing us 100%. They obviously can’t give us money, but given the registered historical status, it’s gonna be a battle we’ll win. Hooray!
We will save my church. Help us. Donation Link