Tag Archives: East Side

✝️The demise of Worcester’s OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL CHURCH⛪: A LOSS FOR THE COMMUNITY … 💒GREAT MEMORIES FOR SO MANY

By John Monfredo, retired Worcester Public Schools teacher and principal and former Worcester School Committee member

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This summer: John Monfredo, outside his Worcester home. photo: R.T.

Just recently, as I drove past my old house where I grew up on East Central Street in Worcester, I had to stop my car and look across the way as workers were taking down the Mt. Carmel Recreation Center building.

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in its heyday. Photos submitted.

It was a nostalgic time because I started to think of all my childhood memories of growing up on East Central Street and time spent at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and its nearby Center. These were special memories for my family and me. My brothers, Joe and Ben, and I had such good times in the neighborhood at the church facilities!

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Mr. Monfredo’s dad next to the church bell he helped install at Mt. Carmel church decades ago.

It is with sadness that I now look at the demise of the church being torn down and now the property associated with the church … the ball field and the recreation center all gone. However, instead of dwelling on what was, I’d like to look back and think about the good times growing up in the shadow of our beloved church, built by Italian American immigrants. It was the center of Worcester’s Italian immigrants and their families for decades.

Unlike now, we all knew all our neighbors and we all watched out for one another. It wasn’t uncommon to leave your bike or toys in the yard because no one would take them. We respected each other’s property. We were fortunate, for the adults watched over us and made sure we did the right thing.

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A Mount Carmel vigil

FEAST JULY MPS
Parishioners fought nobly to save their church, taking their case to the pope in Rome, Italy.

At that time on East Central Street I was surrounded by many Italian families – the Spaziante’s, the Vigliotti’s, Palumbo’s, D’Elia’s the Virzi’s, Ranucci’s, DeLFemine, Dattis, Panucci’s and the Natalie’s, just to name a few. It was a neighborhood of two and three deckers. All the families were vigilant when it came to children, and folks were not afraid to call up your parents if you did something wrong.

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The young Mr. Monfredo reading his essay at a church celebration.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church played a major role in our upbringing because, not only did it provide spiritual guidance to us Mt. Carmel families, but there were many activities available for the children in the parish. …

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The Mount Carmel recreation center, a place where parishioners held spaghetti dinners, candle pin bowling night, dances and many celebrations. photo:R.T.

I remember going to the beach for the day on a bus with Father Bafaro, as well as going on various field trips to state parks.

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WCCA TV’s Mauro DePasquale, far left, one of his church’s cantors. Mauro and so many other parishioners and Worcesterites are heartbroken over the loss of the beautiful Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and the church’s recreation center and baseball field. Mauro was hoping to build a small shrine on the site, where people could come to pray and remember Our Lady of Mount Carmel. But the property was sold by the Worcester Catholic Diocese to a real estate developer who’s building a huge apartment complex and garage on the once hallowed ground and focal point for Worcester’s Italian American community.

At the Recreation Center, who could not forget the teen record hops where we would meet with many of our friends and have a great time? Kids danced the night away! At the end of the night, we would hear these words from Father Bafaro: “The best way home is the shortest way home.” We also had the pleasure of candlepin bowling at the Center, as well as playing basketball with friends or joining a church team and competing against other teams.

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Home-plate at the church’s ball field. photo:R.T.

Then there was the cafeteria at our Recreation Center where all sorts of events took place: community suppers and so much more. The
Rec Center provided so many other events for our families to attend! At the field, next to the Rec Center, we played baseball and football. I can also remember every Thanksgiving Day morning we would go to the field and have a touch football game with the guys.

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Parishioners gathered together to form prayer vigil groups to pray nonstop for the bishop to stop the sale of their church – the church their Italian parents and grandparents built stone by stone.

I asked some family and friends for their lasting impressions and here is what they said: For my brother Joe it was very personal, for that’s where he met his wife to be! He enjoyed going to the dances every week, and he also mentioned that he loved bowling and playing basketball for the CYC at the Rec Center. … Carleen D’Elia Ford, a friend for life, stated that her first impressions of the church started when she went to Communion classes run by the sisters of Venerini because the nuns were so helpful and communicated well with the students. She then spoke about appreciating the Columbus Day Parade and the Italian Festival in the parking lot of the church that took place each year and how the innocence of youth was so prevalent in those days.

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A Mount Carmel church carnival.

Ann Spaziante, my friend and next-door neighbor on East Central Street, had lasting memories of the Friday night dances and of Father Bafaro driving around to make sure we went right home. She also said, We used the bowling alley downstairs and really had fun. In addition, we all enjoyed just “hanging” around the Rec … great friendship, never an argument, just good socializing. You never had to go very far to be with friends because they were always there in good and bad times.”

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These three deckers, by the church site, off of Shrewsbury Street, are still standing. They were once home to Worcester’s Italian American immigrants, their children and grandchildren. The Italian immigrants built their beloved church just yards away from their three deckers! photo:R.T.

One of the strongest advocates in keeping the church from closing was Mauro DePasquale of Worcester and executive director of WCCA TV. I asked him about those positive memories: “My favorite memories of growing up in the Church and Rec Center are too numerous to mention. Attending the church with the organ music shaking the congregation amazed me as a young child. Seeing my Dad kneeling over the pew in deep reverence and prayer facing the alabaster white altar with angels and the Blessed Mother, our Lady of Mount Carmel holding the Scapular was memorable. That was the sacred space where my faith and family traditions were taught to me. I have many other fond memories growing up at Mount Carmel such as attending Catechism and later helping teach our faith to other children and adults. I performed at my first “Battle of the Bands” concert at the Rec Center, produced “Notte D’amore” (two seasons), an evening of multi-genre music and poetry for the Italian Cultural Center, while serving on the Board. The church was a community epicenter for the neighborhood, a community of Italian Americans and blended families, and so much more. Fighting more than four years to save the church from being abandoned and demolished by the Diocese was heartbreaking. The church and the buildings are gone, but the spirit and values learned from Our Lady’s and the Holy Family presence among us will shine brightly in our hearts forever.”

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Mr. Monfredo and his brother with their dad.

Finally, my brother Ben perhaps summed up the many thoughts of others with this statement: “We all loved going to the Rec, for there was candlepin bowling, bus trips to the beach and to ballgames, the record hops, the Italian Festivals in the summer where we could go and enjoy Italian food and carnival rides in the evening hours. There were also Catholic Christian values classes where our parents sent us to learn values that helped shape our lives. There was always something to do. It kept kids off the streets and offered an alternative to just hanging out. They also had the Joe DiMaggio Little League field as well as a playground with swings, seesaws, a jungle gym area and a bocce court. We didn’t have video games, so we played outside with friends and came home when it was dark. Those were special times, and the Church played a big part in our development. Yes, I will always remember those special times growing up and how the church played an important part in my life.”

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel church has been blended into another Worcester Italian American church, Our Lady of Loretto Church. But the Mt. Carmel parishioners still pray together, and together, praying, they are Our Lady of Mount Carmel! photo:R.T.

As you can see, Mt. Carmel was a very special place for many of us. After all these years, it is still missed! The demolition of church and recreation center is a loss for the new generation!

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The church was razed a few years ago. The beginning of demolition entailed removing all sacred elements of the church. Photo:R.T.

A church Sunday bulletin does not give room for rebuttal, does it?

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel church

CROSS at MT CARMEL(2)

By Mauro DePasquale

What we as parishioners and members of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society see as the heart of the matter:

Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS) stated it will come up with the $120,000 (the cost the City Building Commissioner had originally said it would take to make Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church safe) to help alleviate the burden of cost upon the Diocese (the real owners of the building).

We said we would be happy to turn over the money raised to the Monsignor after the Monsignor opened the doors for Masses.

The Monsignor accepted that, and at a meeting with the MPS board said he would hope to have it by June 2017.

We proceeded and raised enough funds in pledges and cash and placed it on hold until the Monsignor opened the doors to our church.

We also, at that point, suggested and requested that Masses be conducted, temporarily, in the Recreation Center until the Church was made safe.

The Monsignor rejected that suggestion.

We had the Church positioned for the National Historic Register, which would make the building available for grants and tax credits that could save up to 40% of repair cost.

He rejected that option.

We offered a sustainability plan he was not interested in reviewing.

He then turned around and said the interior of our church needs to also be “proven” safe by a certified engineer. He then asked that the MPS pay for the engineer.

When we had an engineer ready to schedule an entry, the Monsignor sent us to the Diocese facility manager to set up an appointment to enter the building. The facility manager, about a month later, told us we had to ask the Monsignor to let us in.

When we apprised the Monsignor of this, the Monsignor refused to allow our Engineer enter the church and said there will be “no further discussion.”

Every effort the MPS made to reach out to the rest of the parish community the Monsignor censored, blocked, criticized or simply rejected, as if it were a personal attack, which of course it never was.

We are parishioners who simply want to save our beloved Church rather than walk away from it. To us it is a meaningful and Holy sacred place, an anchor to our families, our heritage and our identity as Italian American Catholics and Worcesterites. We simply haven’t given up on our Church like so many Catholics have after the pedophile cases came to light.

Shouldn’t the Church be working to save all that is holy and to save its flock, rather than risk loosing it?

This Sunday’s May 7 Church Bulletin we find the Monsignor spinning his own story, again painting an incorrect perspective about his own parishioners who are members of MPS, pitting our parish against itself.

The Church needs repair. Perhaps it can be doable over the years. We have a sustainability plan that proved it possible. Furthermore, it may also be possible to have Masses at the Church in a short time while a section of the church is under repair. We could also, if need be, have Masses on campus at the Recreation Center while major work is conducted.

Our engineer could have given us a definite answer to that question – IF THE MONSIGNOR WOULD HAVE LET HIM IN THE CHURCH TO INSPECT IT. But he didn’t.

The Pastor and the Diocese continually blame a declining congregation population. We have not seen scientific proof of declining numbers. I remember a time when the count conducted at Mount Carmel consisted of someone standing in the choir loft finger counting heads before Mass. That same person then sang in the choir during Mass.

So what about those in the church who were seated in the ten or so pews below the Choir loft – the people who couldn’t be seen from the choir loft? What about those who came late to Mass, while the choir member was engaged in music ministry? Where’s the real evidence? Where is the real transparency?

Is it really necessary to close the church?

Is it really necessary to merge our parish with another parish that is in deep debt to the Diocese for reasons we are not really fully aware of?

Real transparency would answer those questions, but no one knows the answer to them because there is a lack of transparency. Parishioners have paid to build and sustain the church over the years, a church we do not own, and yet, in this latest church bulletin, the Monsignor spins his story in such a way as to blame parishioners for the neglect of the owners, THE DIOCESE. He opines the fact that the owners had to put money into their own building, even though he knows, if he opens the church for Masses, MPS would come up with that money.

Wow! Can you imagine if all building owners could get their tenants to make a loan, from the owner, to pay to repair that owner’s building?

We also found many model plans for the Church to be preserved as a living shrine, which can have limited masses and serve a community of faith. This was also rejected without discussion.

Talk about transparency!

Can the Monsignor tell us why Our Lady of Loretto church is in such deep debt?

Can he tell us if the Diocese is really loosing parishioners left and right? Why is it so and where are they going? Can he tell us what he is doing to convert or retain parishioners? He doesn’t seem to care about the thousands of Catholics and Christians and others that agree with and support our mission. Can he tell us where ALL the money parishioners donate (including all weekly baskets, legacy giving, and other donations) is really going to pay for?

Can he tell us why he is betraying his flock and the Word of Christ by chastising our members and calling our efforts foolish? Can he tell us where we can find the “Holiness” in all of this?

*****
Here is a link to the church bulletin:​
https://content.parishesonline.com/bulletins/04/0513/20170507B.pdf

A Must Read – One reason Why Loretto and the Diocese May be in Debt:
https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/parishioners-look-to-save-church

MPS BOARD WORKING MEETING Monday, 5:30 p.m. Please contact Mauro for details.

Thank you and God Bless,

Mauro DePasquale, Mount Carmel Preservation Society

Let us pray …

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The much loved Our Lady of Mount Carmel church is slated for demolition this month. pics: R.T.

From MPS head Mauro DePasquale:

Why the apparent need to close or merge so many Catholic Churches? It has been reported that perhaps billions of dollars are needed to address legal settlements for pedophile cases. However, there are also stories like the following. Could this be, in part, why there may be pressure to close and merge churches?

Why merge Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a Parish that has over $600,000 in debt?
Read:

https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/parishioners-look-to-save-church

An EXAMPLE of MISMANAGEMENT…

January 11 posted:

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL CHURCH, WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, USA, WAS UNJUSTLY CLOSED BY THE CHURCH LEADERSHIP ON MAY 1ST, 2016

The church was neglected by the Diocese of Worcester who had a fiduciary responsibility to assure its maintenance, knowing that viable solutions to repair and sustain it are available and at hand.

It is scheduled for demolition in May, 2017.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is a community anchor, an iconic, irreplaceable, historically significant cultural center, as well as a centerpiece for Worcester’s large Italian American population.

It was also awarded the distinction as one of the top seven historic resources in Massachusetts.

The Mount Carmel Preservation Society is working diligently to save Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. It is unjust to see this historical treasure demolished unnecessarily.

*******

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Do you read the same old arrogance from opposition or the misinformation that is reported without any real investigative reporting?

Although Mount Carmel is a significant architectural and irreplaceable sacred space, and also one of the top 7 most endangered historical resources in Massachusetts, parishioners are fighting for justice. If love of a building were the simple case, why have any church buildings at all here or at the Vatican?

VIDEO

http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

MPS BOARD WORKING MEETING TBA asap.

Thank you and God Bless.

CROSS at MT CARMEL(2)
photo submitted by Mauro DePasquale

Spring/Easter thoughts …

flier MPS(1)
photos submitted by Mauro DePasquale

By Mauro DePasquale

The sun shining through the clouds on this cool but warming April morning. It wakes up something deep inside us. Savoring that sweet scent for spring air, it takes me back to spring vacations at my grandparents’ house on Bell Hill, joyfully playing and running through their yard while my grandfather, singing happily, began clearing the garden of fallen dead winter debris. I loved it. That scent brought hope, dreams of summer, and all the happiness that would be ahead. Spring air is such a wonderful gift to be thankful for.

That sweet scent has a grit to it: mud, tree mold, dried, dead leaves, old annuals rotting out of a thaw, and yet it is a scent springing hope eternal.

It’s something we all awaken to during this time of year. No matter what our faith, our heritage, we all feel it and know it at once.

For this Catholic, it’s a gift, a sign of Easter’s promise. The scent of spring, somehow as a resonant hint of an ancient sacred covenant, an elusive reveal of the Mystery made tangible. The promise of life everlasting.

It’s more than the scent of a dead world resurrecting, it’s a spiritual resurrection. Resurrecting from the grit of our ties to this world, the mud of our faults, the mold of our participation in injustice, the rot of our sins. It is also an awakening to the mystery of life eternal exemplified in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the sun shining the light of Truth. Warming and gracing the morning of our lives, each and every day. This beautiful warm light that shines on each and every one of us for no reason, and yet, through that mysterious and Holy Spirit, we welcome it as unconditional love and mercy.

For us this seems to happen in the season after winter, however whereas time does not exist except in the profane, the Resurrection of Christ is continual, in Holy time, and every breath we take is the gift of an opportunity to share in that eternal spring. Forever in His Light, forever singing happily, forever joyful, in a life forever in love.

At the end of this day, here in this plane, we can be thankful. There is nothing to worry about. Spring is always around the corner. Although the culture of death may surround us here, we look for hope not in what is dead, rotting and bound in sin, but what is living in the promise of the eternal. Hope comes from that spirit living within us. Just remember “He is Risen” and we will also with Him rise from death. Why? Because God loves you as sure as that gift of spring air.

CROSS at MT CARMEL(2)

Mauro DePasquale is Executive Director of WCCA TV “The People’s Channel” and President of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society.

From the Mount Carmel Preservation Society

MESSAGE TO MOUNT CARMEL PRESERVATION members and supporters:

We were all deeply saddened by the Historic Commission’s stunning decision to not move our petition for a Historic District feasibility study forward at last night’s meeting on January 19, 2017.

Such a study would have been worthy, on many levels, to undertake, and the commission would have received plenty of facilitation support from Preservation Worcester and from our Mount Carmel Preservation Society. Moving forward with the study would have been a just and respectful step in consideration of a Church that is a primary living historical artifact and an important part of Worcester’s identity as a multicultural city and, as well, to its Italian community.

Mount Carmel Preservation members and our supporters should be proud of their hard work and amazing accomplishments. Thank you for pursuing our collective mission with dignity, with conviction and assertiveness.

We love our Church and our Faith, we were not ashamed to bring witness to the truth.

We continue to believe our Church is a historical Sacred structure worthy of preservation. The City Building Commissioner said there was no need to knock the church down. Our studies indicated our parish, seated on Mulberry Street, could maintain and sustain the Church and campus. As a parish that has a potential to thrive on a plot of land, of approximately five acres, assessed at approximately $7 million dollars, it is no surprise, as parishioners, with respect to all who made sacrifices over the last 100 years toward building our Church, that we are very disappointed with the Commission’s decision.

You all stood tall as a true family, continually respectful and professional through the entire process in our passionate appeal to fix and re-open our church and save our parish on Mulberry Street. We acted in good faith throughout the entire process. We were let down by our Parish leadership.

There may be opportunities for various appeals to consider and our Board is taking them under advisement.

Now, as we move forward with thanksgiving and forgiveness, we join members of the Worcester City Council, Preservation Worcester and Mass Preservation, in hopes, and as we requested, to continue discussions with the Bishop, to work together and to explore ways to re-open our Church.

We pray the Bishop will have a change of heart or, at the very least, the WBDC and the Chamber of Commerce will find a developer who fully understands and appreciates the value of functional sacred space.

We will update you with further actions as soon as possible. I hope to see you at our Prayer vigil this Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Mt Carmel Apartments.

Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, February 6, at 6 p.m. Details will be forthcoming.

God Bless you and God Bless Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Ann Parish.

Mauro DePasquale, President
Mount Carmel Preservation Society

Attn: Mt. Carmel boosters! … TONIGHT! – Thurs! – Historic Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. – Worcester City Hall

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The steeple of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, located on Mulberry Street in Worcester’s glorious Italian American East Side neighborhood! pic:R.T.

In the Levi-Lincoln Room (3rd floor)

See you there!

By Mauro DePasquale, president

Our Lady of Mount Carmel church Preservation Society

Please consider this:

1. The Diocese does not want a Historic District. It holds a permit to knock the church down.

2. The Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS) wants the Church to be re-opened with masses and to save the parish on Mulberry Street.

3. The Diocese is merging the two parishes but has not committed to seating the parish sacred gathering space on Mulberry street in our historic church. According to the Bishop, the merger is non-negotiable and was a part of the unilateral offering made by the Bishop on December 30. (BTW An offer with no guarantees but to explore possibilities.) While a permit for May demotion continues to be on cue.

4. MPS provided a comprise by offering six points for the Diocese to consider and respond to before we withdraw our petition.

5. The Diocese ignored our request as of this writing and many in our group have interpreted an implied negative message which is to be published in the Jan 22nd bulletin. This is after we held our part of the bargain of delaying our petition, held quiet with the press, upon request of the Bishop, until Jan 10. We had no real choice but to move forward with the petition as vetted by the Worcester City Council, due to time constraints for processing it.

6. Whereas the MPS mission is, in part, to preserve the church – and we have discussed the consequences a number of times with the Board and general membership – and whereas the Bishop has not indicated in anyway that he is willing to even discuss our 6 points, we can choose to either walk away or move forward with whatever hope the Historic District has to offer toward preservation of our sacred space and community anchors.

Our members spoke clearly at our latest meeting on how they wish to proceed. Therefore, we are moving forward with our petition, with hopes the Diocese will continue discussions to truly work toward preserving and re-opening our Church.

7. Our mission is to preserve our Church and, for the time being, the Historic District offers at least a chance to preserve it. With consensus from the membership and our Board, we have little choice but to move forward with open eyes and hearts – open to continue to appeal for the Bishop to have a change of heart in favor of saving and re-opening our historic church.

We believe the Diocese does not want the church to sit there on Mulberry Street as an eyesore. No one does. It deserves better – to be re-opened, with masses celebrated there weekly.

Hopefully, this process will encourage a move toward preservation and real, open, bilateral discussion …

Moving ahead…

Mauro

A heartfelt thank you and what’s next for Our Lady of Mount Carmel church😇😇😇

By Mauro DePasquale, president, Mount Carmel Preservation Society

editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. -R.T.

Thank God! Never underestimate faith and power of prayer!

[Tuesday] night the [Worcester] City Council voted 9-2 to move our petition for a Mount Carmel Historic District forward.

This is a noteworthy event that requires us all to remain vigilant toward preserving and reopening our church on Mulberry Street.

We look forward ​to continuing discussions with the Diocese, as we hope to work together toward a solution to re-open and maintain the Church on Mulberry Street.

Thank you to the nine [City] Council members ​(Mayor Joseph Petty, Candy Carlson, George Russel, Kate Toomey, Morris Bergman, Gary Rosen, Konstantia Lukes, Sarai Rivera, Khrystian King) for voting in support of providing time for hope and serious discussion to transpire.​Their vote signifies the justice of our mission and the time and due diligence all stake holders and the historic resource deserves.​

Thank you to all ​the amazing speakers ​ who spoke, from the heart, passionately, in favor of moving our petition forward, and thank you to all who came to [Tuesday] night’s meeting in support of MPS [the Mount Carmel Preservation Society].

We need to think out of the box, but a solution to sustainability and continued repairs is possible. Now we will have a chance to properly present our ideas. The road ahead may not be easy, but neither was it for those who sacrificed to build it.

See you at the next Historic Commission Meeting. We will inform you of date, time and location details soon.

*******

Scroll down for further information:

Mount Carmel Preservation Society Statement – January 10, 2017

Immediate Release

In December 2016 the Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS) had delayed its petition for a historical district for Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

This was done in good faith, in exchange for the Bishop’s offer that, if we tabled our petition, he will not take action to demolish the Church until January 2018 and will also work with the MPS, the WBDC and the Chamber of Commerce, to explore and seek a solution to save the church.

MPS met with the Bishop on December 30, 2016 and took what had transpired under advisement with our Membership. We later responded, with membership consensus, with a letter sent on January 3, 2017, to the Diocesan leadership, asking the Diocese to consider addressing concerns that we felt needed to first be agreed to in order to set a proper foundation for future discussions.

Whereas the Diocese response did not address our specific concerns by January 9, as per our request, and whereas the permit for demolition formally continues to stand for May 2017, and the window to preserve the Church is closing in on the time required to properly process a Historic District application, we must move forward with our petition.

Our request asking the Council to move our petition forward to the historic commission, reflects our desire to give the Historic Commission, and all the stake holders, the fair amount of time and due diligence, Mount Carmel, as one of the top ten most endangered historical resources in Massachusetts, deserves.

It is our understanding, as recently reaffirmed in a recent response to an appeal from the Vatican, that the Church is safe from the wrecking ball until the Bishop first issues a decree to relegate it to profane but not sordid use, which may be appealed through a process set forth through Canon Law.

With consideration to the above, it is the consensus MPS membership to move forward with their petition for a Mount Carmel Historic District, before the City Council this Tuesday (1/10/17).

The Mount Carmel Preservation Society does not wish to risk the church to the wrecking ball as scheduled in May 2017. We are seeking the Diocese to be willing to accept the following in order for us to consider further delaying our petition for a historic district:

We have asked this of the Diocese in a letter sent on January 4, 2017 with a request to respond to us by January 9, 2017:

The Diocese to be willing to issue a written promise to revoke the permit to demolish scheduled for May 2017 or promise to delay any action to demolish the Church until January 2019. To allow time for discussions and implementation of a process to develop a master plan that includes a funding solution to repair and re-open the Church;

The Diocese to be willing to have Masses celebrated in the Recreation Center until the church is made safe to reopen;

The Diocese to be willing to re-open the church for masses as soon as the City [of Worcester] Inspector deems it safe to enter;

Church leadership to be willing to collaborate with the Mount Carmel Preservation Society, with the MPS having a voting role, in the care, manage and maintain the Church as sacred center for Worcester’s Italian American Community and for all Catholics to celebrate our faith;

The Diocese to consider having our Parish, in collaboration with the Mount Carmel Preservation Society, develop the property to best use land and structures to benefit Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish.

In the event that the Parish is not to facilitate development of the property on its own, Mount Carmel Preservation Society will have a voting seat at the table during the design process, and formulation of the Master plan to assure the building will continue to exist as a functioning sacred space, and as a religious and cultural center for the Italian American people of Worcester. and decisions concerning the eventual buyer.

The Historic District study can take more than 60 days (up to a year in some cases as we were informed) and whereas time is of the essence, the Diocese response to our request in the positive to the above must be sooner rather than later. Therefor without the response to what we are seeking prior to the Council meeting on January 10, we (MPS) feel it is in the best interest of our mission to move forward with the Historic District petition. We expect to continue discussions with Bishop and the Diocese in hopes to find an agreeable solution toward saving and reopening our Church as the petition moves forward through the process.

Regretfully, the Bishop has informed the MPS that our request of maintaining the Our Lady of Mount Carmel/St. Ann Parish, as a single parish, on Mulberry Street is denied and non-negotiable. If there is to be no parish, further delay of the petition will only be pursuant to MPS receiving a written assurance that the six items, as stated above, can be agreed to by the Diocese and that Mount Carmel is to continue to exist as a sacred space, with broad base access and support.

It has been a part of our goal all along to fix the Church and reopen it for masses and to save our parish on Mulberry Street. We look forward to healing our parish family and to save its local history as well as its sacred Italian American cultural center for all to celebrate.

We feel at this time it is in the best interest of our mission to move forward with our petition as we pursue open discussions to explore solutions to preserve and reopen our Church.

Thank you.

maurodep1@gmail.com

Cc
Historic Commission, Bishop McManus, Monsignor Pedone, MPS Board of Directors

YES!!!!! Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church …

… SAVED BY WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL!!!

Yes votes: Bergman, King, Lukes, Carlson, Rivera, Rosen, Russell, Toomey, Petty

No votes (both money guys): Economou, Gaffney

Mayor Joseph Petty at tonight’s city council meeting: “[I] look at this as more than just a church. [It’s] important to Italians, [it] represents history.”

YES!!!!

So much of present-day Worcester is seduced by the doe-eyed gentrifiers, glib developers, charming money-talkers – people whose lives revolve around CASH and PROFIT, what’s on trend, relentless social media marketing, the latest chi chi restaurant (gluttony=fat-assed people), Snapchat and – Poof! You’re gone! Disappeared!

So unlike the REAL SOUL stuff – the bread of life that nurtures you – the REAL you … your church, life-long friends, family, your neighborhood, animals, the sky. The stuff that has nothing to do with money but everything to do with happiness!

Here’s to Our Lady of Mount Carmel – a grand church!

Hooray for her neighborhood rec center that gives back to the community – at low or no cost!

Three cheers for her great inner-city little league baseball field that lets city kids slide into HOME …

“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me!”
– Jesus Christ

Coincidental?

Today, looking at the Catholic church outside my kitchen window, just as I was about to cut my tomato vine down cuz it looked old and I thought I might put something new and hot there in its place …

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pics: R.T.

… I saw a beautiful tomato! Red and perfect. Pressed against the window sill in red-rosy loveliness …

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I had not noticed it!

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Then I saw another tomato … small – Jaw Breaker gumball-sized small and (truth be told) a bit crinkly. Still cute.

… In spite of the cold, my indifference, Cece’s morning walks though the flora, they grew…

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And this too! My African violet uncurling her purple, little petal hands …

Kudos to Mauro, Candy and the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Preservation Society!

Worcester wins!

– Rosalie Tirella

Can the bishop and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Preservation Society MAKE PEACE? … “Historic” meeting tomorrow night! Jan. 2!

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Jesus hated money 💰and loved homeless 🔑people😇!      pic: R.T

By Rosalie Tirella

A few days ago I left Mauro DePasquale a voicemail re: his efforts to save his church, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and to stave off gentrification of the Shrewsbury Street corner on which his beloved church sits.

CUT A DEAL WITH THE BISHOP! I cried into my cell phone. THESE GUYS ARE BRUTAL AND WANT THAT VALUABLE LAND. THEY WILL SELL IT – AND  MT. CARMEL – DOWN THE RIVER FOR THE MONEY. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CAN BE ARROGANT, RIGID … BRUTAL. CUT A DEAL. HAVE THEM TAKE SOME OF THE LAND TO SELL TO THE GENTRIFIERS,  AND WITH SOME OF THE MILLIONS THEY MAKE HAVE THEM BUILD YOU A NEW, SMALLER, ENERGY-EFFICIENT CHURCH. And you get to KEEP your rec center.

I sounded urgent because I’ve come to know, often from first-hand experience, how slippery, rigid and vain the Catholic church is and how slippery, rigid and vain Worcester politics is, a kind of Catholic church in its own dogmatic, cliquey right. I’ve watched how the game is played here in Worcester, and I believe Mt. Carmel is about to be flushed down the crapper by the Catholic Diocese of Worcester – basically a group of anal, proud, unyielding old Irish guys who happen to be “clergy” – for money. Why do I feel this way?  Because they recently met with fellow powerful Irish Catholic, St. John’s/Fordam University alum Chamber of Commerce head Tim Murray. Murray is a BIG TIME gentrifier and big time Catholic. The ducks were being lined up …  As Donald Trump would put it: SAD.

Mauro DePasquale and the Italian Americans who want to save and restore their beautiful old church are/were never in the Tim Murray-former-City Manager Mike O’Brien political circle of trust, that rigid roley-poley cabal that  still runs Worcester and pays you municipal jobs, political connections, back-room deals … in short, power … if you are Irish, went to Fordam or Holy Cross and give them your soul. Tangentially speaking,  now washed-up-pol Murray (precisely BECAUSE he tried to transfer the clubby political Worcester MO to a state-wide political campaign and was LAUGHED OFF THE STATE STAGE) is part of/connected to the Irish Catholic gang on Elm Street in the chi chi chancery.

So when the Bishop crowed at a recent public meeting that he rang up Murray and met with Murray I knew the fix was in for Mt. Carmel. These two Irish Catholic bros wanna move – for different reasons: the Bishop for $$$/Murray for development – that Mt. Carmel parcel of land just sitting fallow in the middle of a flourishing hipster business and restaurant district, a district ripe for another fucking artisan bakery that sells $7 loaves of bread, clothing boutique, bacon bar or something else that you eat, drink or wear to make yourself feel more cool, less fat, more sexy, more intelligent, etc., I knew it was over. I told Mauro he had to compromise, give these assholes some of what they wanted. AND MAURO AND THE MT. CARMEL PRESERVATION SOCIETY SHOULD, AT THE VERY LEAST, GET A NEW, SMALLER CHURCH AS REWARD FOR RELINQUISHING THEIR GRAND DREAM. Maybe with the mosaic and altar and other precious architectural details fom the old church incorporated into the new one.

Sad.

The Bishop probably called Tim Murray after Mauro and the church preservation society were on their way to having the church and its environs declared a Historic District – this move would make it much harder for the Catholic church to do anything to the property. That’s when the Bishop panicked. He’d lose money. More important, he’d lose CONTROL. Very crucial to the self worth of the old school, by the books, dogmatic, soul-crushing Catholic big wigs. More crucial than Jesus and what He stood for. The Bishop called Murray to squelch the church preservation society’s effort.

This makes even more sense – in a pathetic kind of way – if you know this back story: Mauro DePasquale and his wife Tracy head WCCA, the local cable access TV station. Former Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien, another devout Irish Catholic, spent years trying to kill their TV station –  never liked them or the cable money they were getting to pay for their jobs, their staffers etc. O’Brien felt the dough was City of Worcester money and wanted WCCA shuttered.  He wanted the thousands of dollars WCCA gets to flow to the City of Worcester TV station where HE could CONTROL EVERYTHING: programming, staff, point of view … squeezing out Mauro, his wife, and Mauro’s staff…

And so began the death by a thousand cuts with WCCA losing funding every year. Mauro, a Worcester guy who grew up on Bell Hill, was shaken, upset. He called O’Brien, but Mauro’s phone calls weren’t returned, meetings with O’Brien were cancelled last minute. The city of Worcester government TV channel was beefed up by O’Brien – surreptitiously, of course. The dance goes on to this day with the new city manager following O’Brien’s lead, building and growing a state-of-the-art City of Worcester government TV channel, slowly cutting off WCCA. But Mauro has hung tough. He still has his beloved TV station and runs it his way – OPEN TO ALL VOICES IN THE COMMUNITY. It’s amazing that he’s got the energy for the Mount Carmel fight in light of the eternal battle to save WCCA TV.  Of course, on the Mt. Carmel front, he’s basically up against the same assholes.

Sad.

Where is the love hiding in all these freakin’ Catholics?!

To make things even sadder: We hear a real estate investor pal of former Worcester City Councilor Phil Palmieri is jonesin’ to buy the primo real estate parcel from the Diocese of Worcester. Palmieri, when in office, represented in part, the people of Shrewsbury Street, Mt. Carmel church. But he is also a local developer, owning that big building next to East Park and other East Side property. Phil’s a good guy but a money$$$$ guy. He knows the land on which Mt. Carmel and its rec center sit is worth millions! Millions! Because instead of simply being located in Worcester’s ol’ Italian neighborhood, it’s now located in the middle of Worcester’s booming, blooming urban coolio extravaganza – a $$$$-generating hipster business and restaurant mish mash that millenials love to patronize. It’s as if  Mt. Carmel, low on parishoners, high on a pastor who could often be seen down the street at the glitzy bar of Coral Seafood enjoying a drink, is a cultural anachronism. Even its pastor was imbibing at one of the hippest spots on Shrewsbury Street!

There seems to be no room for an Italian church whose flock has diminished, moved away … or died. Mauro believes the parish is still strong and is growing stronger by the day now that everything can be lost. Forever! He believes folks who care about Worcester history and architecture support his group’s efforts.

I said on his voicemail: CUT A DEAL, Mauro! THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN WIN THIS. THE IRISH BISHOP HAS CALLED THE IRISH HEAD OF THE WORCESTER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. The politics are against you.

In Worcester, that’s everything.

*******

From the Mount Carmel Preservation Society:

IMPORTANT

Please make every effort to attend for what may be an historic MPS meeting

Monday night – January 2, 2017

6:30 PM

The meeting will be held at WCCA TV studios 415 Main St. (Parking on street or municipal lots on Pearl/Elm St. or Commercial Street.)

We will communicate to you what has transpired with our meeting with the Bishop and I will ask you to vote to decide what our next step will be for the future of our church and our mission to Fix (reopen) the Church and Save the Parish on Mulberry Street.

I wish you all a wonderful blessed, healthy, happy, and peaceful new year.

God Bless us all!

SEE YOU MONDAY NIGHT!

Mauro DePasquale, President, Mount Carmel Preservation Society

http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

Worcester City Council: Please! Vote next Tuesday to approve the Our Lady of Mount Carmel block as a local Historic District!

By Mauro DePasquale, President, Mount Carmel Preservation Society

Parishioners and Members of the Mount Carmel Preservation Society (MPS) support a vote to approve the Our Lady of Mount Carmel block as a local Historic District.

This is supported by the fund raising efforts of MPS, as well as by more than 12,000 petitioners who are asking the Bishop and Pastor to fix the Church and Save the Parish on Mulberry Street.

Preservation is about celebrating something that is precious, meaningful and good for ALL people, as it raises the aesthetic of our surroundings.

The act of preservation benefits everyone and is a form of unification.

Mount Carmel Preservation Society is dedicated to fixing one of the top seven most endangered historical resources in all of Massachusetts (Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church).

The designation of a historical district will:

improve the status of the Mount Carmel neighborhood;

protect the area for community benefit;

improve the cultural vitality of our city;

and mark a significant and unique space for all to gather, to celebrate and share something special, of historical significance, with our Italian American community and all immigrant groups.

It will also provide opportunities for the Parishioners of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel to reinforce their sustainability efforts for the future.

This designation is about unification as it centers our collective heritage along with a unique historical building/resource and facing it into the future of Worcester’s identity.

This is the glue that cements true preservation, as we share and celebrate something meaningful with common purpose.

To counter this effort is an affront to the human spirit and those things we the collective community hold of value.

Approving the local historic district designation for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel block sends a message that Worcester cares and values its immigrant communities, old and new.

http://www.preserveourladyofmountcarmel.org

Fix our Church and Save our Parish on Mulberry St.

*****

Worcester City Council contact info

Call our city councilors and ask them to VOTE YES! Thank you!

Mayor Joe Petty
508-799-1153 work
508-799-8789 home

Morris Bergman
508-799-1049 work
508-754-8141 home

Khrystian King
508-799-1049 work

Konstantina Lukes
508-799-1049 work
508-798-1815 home

Kate Toomey
508-799-1049 work
508-798-1815

Anthony Economou
508-854-3014 home

Candy Mero-Carlson
508-799-1049 work

Michael Gaffney
508-799-1049 work

George Russell
508-795-0333 home

Sarai Rivera
508-799-1049 work
508-755-3006 home

Gary Rosen
508-7991049 work
508-755-3006 home

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