Sunday, April 18, 2010

Diocese begins destroying historic church

From the NY Times:

Workers for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn have removed the dozen towering stained-glass windows from a beloved church built a century ago by Italian immigrants, prompting protests from preservationists who consider the building an important artifact – and who consider demolition imminent.

The windows from Our Lady of Loreto Church on Sackman Street in Brownsville were packed and placed in storage on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Monsignor Kieran Harrington, the spokesman for the diocese. But he would not confirm whether demolition was imminent, saying only that the diocese’s plan to begin building housing on the ground under the church remained unchanged and that the project was scheduled to begin in June.

“This building is a treasure,” said Frank Sciame, a prominent New York builder whose well-regarded restoration projects have included the Morgan Library and Museum, the New Victory Theater and Central Synagogue in Manhattan, and who recently got involved in trying to save Our Lady of Loreto.

“A 100-year-old building like this should not be demolished,” he said. “In Europe, that’s a young building.”

Before news of the stained-glass windows’ removal, Mr. Sciame, a member and former chairman of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, had scheduled separate meetings next week with officials in the diocese and the mayor’s office.

He said he planned to keep both appointments.

Why isn't the Landmarks Preservation Commission designating this historic church like they did for the West Park Presbyterian Church on the Upper West Side?


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap!

Anonymous said...

So upsetting, but you know, the local parishioners have to come out in force and also put their money where there mouth is.

Our Lady of Loretto can no longer afford the Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday Catholics.

Anonymous said...

So upsetting, but you know, the local parishioners have to come out in force and also put their money where there mouth is.
Sometimes the church needs to spend their money wisely. For instance, Saint Adalbert's just spent $21,000.00 on a new speaker system for the church. Personally I did'nt think it was needed. I could hear them fine. I am all for helping the poor and helping the church with NEEDED repairs but they are turning off parishioners by constantly asking for more. I think, and it's only my opinion, if the church would'nt make so much demands on money, the people would give more. It is a shame that they will be destroying that church. Not only a piece of history but a beautiful place of worship.

Kevin Walsh said...

Or St. Brigids on Avenue B. No star power for Loretto, I suppose.

Patrick Sweeney said...

Parishes are closed for any of these three reasons, and they are usually found in combination:

1. There are not enough Catholics attending Mass each Sunday, Catholics getting baptized, confirmed, married, etc. for the parish to sustain itself.
2. There is not enough money being contributed to the parish to sustain that parish.
3. There are not enough priests keep marginal parishes open.
4. The particular church structure has a very high cost to restore and maintain.

St. Brigids (near Tomkins Sq Park) was only saved by a single $20 million donation given just as the New York Archdiocese was ready to tear it down.

Sergey Kadinsky said...

Frank Sciame is a star. He went to my alma mater CCNY!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Another reason parishes close is because the Catholic Church has paid out over TWO BILLION DOLLARS in settlements to people who were abused by priests when they were children.