Sunday, November 30, 2014

Closing St. Elizabeth's Church UES?-A Spiritual Haven for the Deaf

I'm getting ready to attend Church but I just have to put my "two cents in," and express sadness about the article I read in the New York Times this morning regarding the closing of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church on the East Side of Manhattan which ministers to a deaf population. According to the article,"Silent Prayers to Save a Sanctuary for the Deaf,"  "The Church has become a haven to nearly 500 deaf New Yorkers , who not only pray there but also come through the week to study religion, meet with clergy members and socialize. That era is about to end. On Nov. 2nd, the Archdiocese of New York announced that St. Elizabeth's would be among 31 churches closing for regular use by next August, part of a sweeping series of parish mergers and closing...."
I hope the Archdiocese reconsiders. According to the pastor, Msgr. Patrick McCahill, who celebrates Mass and other sacraments in Sign Language, the parish is financially secure and the building is in good condition.
It is difficult enough for parishioners to deal with parish mergers and closings but for people with a disability such as deafness, I can't imagine how difficult it would be for them to be losing their spiritual and religious home.
It's not good PR for the Archdiocese. I'm sure wealthy people on the East Side of Manhattan would be willing to help, if financial help is needed. Surely this is a special situation. I think it is.
I pray that the prayers and the pleas of the congregation and pastor of St. Elizabeth are heard.
Msgr. McCahill is quoted as saying, "Please don't let these people, who are marginalized in so many ways by society, be marginalized by the Church." Those are wise words which should be heeded, in my opinion.