To the editor:

The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse is deciding which church building in Oswego should be designated as THE Catholic Church! Consideration is based on economics, rather than history or culture.

The destructive blaze at the Cathedral of Notre Dame made me realize how much history will be lost if we don’t select St. Mary’s Church. Emotions and loyalty to each parish runs high, but ultimately the diocese will think, which church costs the most to maintain. This is one of the issues in Paris. Notre Dame was not maintained as it should have been for a very long time. And, this is one of the issues with saving it. A lot of work.

Just as Notre Dame graces the skyline of Paris, St. Mary’s does the same for Oswego. The tallest building on the West Side of Oswego, it is seen from both waterways, and coming into town on 481 and 48. Although St. Mary’s doesn’t define Oswego, the Catholic churches sort of do. A spiritual community that was largely Catholic throughout its history, families invested in their churches.

St. Mary’s is probably the Oonly building that cannot be put to another use. Hard to transform St. Mary’s into condos/into a business structure. All that St. Mary’s gothic building would face is demolition! And the loss of culture and history in Oswego. All the other buildings can find multiple uses, although the loss of St. Peter’s would end an important association with Catholic religious history as it was one of St. Marianne Cope’s earliest religious assignments as an educator at the newly established church on Oswego’s eastside in the 1860s. However, St. Peter’s is not large enough to host all of Oswego’s 1,700 Catholics, and certainly there is not enough parking.

But St. Mary’s can certainly contain all of these families, and more as the years continue.

The regal structure that is St. Mary’s Church in Oswego is a representation of Oswego’s Catholic heritage and history. Just like Notre Dame Cathedral represents Parisian (and all of European) religious (and art) history, St. Mary’s stained glass window, gothic structure and it’s elegant spire showcase Oswego’s history.

Deborah Engelke


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