To the editor,
It is difficult to imagine we are having this conversation regarding change for the Oswego Catholic community. There have been a few articles written and appearing on the opinion page of our local newspaper. I read with interest all of their stories and the reasons they believe it should have been St. Mary’s to remain open. Their remarks are totally understood, however, the parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Stephen’s have their stories also.
I am a lifelong parishioner of St. Joseph’s and I have my story. Our church was founded in 1915 by a group of immigrants who wished to have a place of worship for the Italian community. My parents were married in 1915, a few months after the church started its journey. This explains how long our family has been connected to St. Joseph’s. For me personally, I have not been just an attendee, but a very active member since my youth serving in many capacities, including past trustee. My dedication continues as of today as President of the St. Anne’s Society.
We can all agree that St. Mary’s is a beautiful structure, but would anyone dare say that St. Joseph’s is not a magnificent structure as well? The Polish community holds St. Stephen’s close to their hearts and I am certain they have their own story to tell of the toil experienced by the immigrants who wanted a place for the Polish community to worship. They also see the beauty in their church.
I cannot speak for the other churches since I am not closely familiar with what amenities they can offer. I can only speak to what I know about St. Joseph’s. The beauty of the church speaks for itself with its terrazzo floors and beautiful Italian marble notably in the sanctuary and our main altar. That aside, the church has ample parking with several handicap parking spaces making it easy for the handicapped to gain access with the handicap accessible entry off of the parking lot and two handicap accessible bathrooms. There is a spacious center for gatherings, large or small with a full kitchen and the same in the lower level and everything is pristine. Yes, we thought we had it all and we were still by-passed, leaving us scratching our heads and asking why.
On a lovely Sunday morning in the Spring of 1958, the newly built St. Joseph’s Church was filled to capacity with those attending to take part in the FIRST mass to be said in our new church. I, along with my late husband and other family members were in attendance bursting with pride, our hearts full of joy and celebration.
On June 30, 2019. I will be in attendance for the FINAL mass at St. Joseph’s, but this time with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes.
The manner in which the church was selected leaves a sour taste. Contrary to the headlines in our local paper, “OSWEGO CATHOLICS CHOOSE ST. PAUL’S.” No, we had nothing to say. It was left up to a group of eight to sixteen people to make the decision with the architects feedback whatever that was. I was waiting patiently for that report to be finished thinking we were all going to be advised of their findings and we would all know why the architects report would be significant in choosing which church should remain open. There was no transparency. I know of no parishioner in any of the churches who has any knowledge of their findings and the true reason the selection was made. This is the reason why reaction to this has not been well received. We were left in the dark and asked to just accept and move on.
As difficult as it is for all of us, it is my hope that everyone will find their place of worship rather than not to attend church at all.
Mary Helen Colloca