Editor’s note: The following is a letter sent from Oswego’s James F. Sperino to Diocese of Syracuse Robert J. Cunningham Bishop. It appears here with Mr. Sperino’s permission.
Dear Bishop Cunningham,
I am writing you this letter in hopes that my thoughts may be the same in some way to convince those in charge to vote for St. Joseph.
First of all I will give you some information about me. I was born Feb 3, 1936 and I am 83 years old. I was baptized, made my first communion and conformation in the original St. Josephs. In my adult life, I attended mass at St. Joseph and was married in St. Joseph. After serving my country during the Korean War, I returned home to Oswego and continued attending St. Joseph. After being married for five years, we started our family of two girls and one boy. They all received their sacrament at St. Joseph. I have seen four priest come and go, plus two assistants and have been an usher almost 40 years. As a young boy, I played on two championship teams for basketball. I also worked many years at our church bazaars.
I would like to express my thoughts why I feel that St. Joseph is the best choice.
If needed there is room for expansion. If something needs to be repaired the parishioners have come up with the money to do the job. The interior of the church has been repainted and is beautiful. The seating is comfortable and the kneelers are in excellent shape. Restrooms are on the same level as the church interior and are accessible in a few minutes. The parking lot is closer to the· church than any church in the city and has excellent access for the handicap. Parking areas off the street are west, east (YMCA) and south of the church, only a few minutes away as well. All parking areas off street are private and street parking is always available. Locations of grocery stores, gas stations, diners, coffee shops, post office, bagel shop and bakery are just a scenic stroll along the Oswego River. Winter problems such as Bridge Street, Utica Street, West First and West Second streets are the first streets to be plowed and salted.
St. Joseph is available for Bingo, United Way and Stone Soup lunches, for Harborfest and Fisherman Masses. We are closer to St. Luke’s Apartments on West First Street, where people living at old Pontiac Hotel, the old high school and parishioners of St. John and St. Stevens. St. Joe’s Bazaar is always better than most and it’s location draws people from all over the city. Its success is due to the committee’s decision to change and to add a larger venue to attract more people. Volunteers are always welcome. St. Joe’s always welcomes you in and wishes you well when you leave.
How much thought has been given to why the churches are empty? Who or what is really at fault? If we could seat 100 to 200 people and put this question to every one present, I’m sure we would get a multitude of answer. When I was born and started to go to church, I was lucky to have a seat, so I always tried to sit up front because nobody likes the front rows. I think people with young children can see what the priest is doing and pay more attention.
If we are to have a termination of churches and one is selected, what happens to our money? The money that is on the books in every church belongs to the people who put it there. The dioceses doesn’t need it, if they do the new bishop should move out of Syracuse to a smaller communities and do a cost analysis reduction and move somewhere else. The dioceses should also take a hit just as the Oswego Catholics are doing. St. Mary’s would be a beautiful home for the new bishop. The rectory is very nice and a large church basement for offices. The present Dioceses buildings are very old and maintenance must be very costly. The Catholic community can no longer afford the present residence. St. Joe’s also gave birth to a number of priest, more or as many than most. May the sacred heart of Jesus bless our Bishop and members of the committee responsible for the selection of the new church of Oswego.
James F. Sperino