The Project's mailbag is overflowing with notes about Immaculate Conception. I'll produce a best-of soon, but in the meantime:
I am replying to your article about our parish and would like to invite you to return to our "Closing Mass" on June 24th, 2012 since out parish was recently notified that as of July 1st that we will no longer exist.
It would take a lot for me not to be there.
You mentioned in your article that the attendance was extremely poor and that in the past the upper church could hold about 1400 parishioners for a single Mass. You will be shocked and amazed at the love and devotion from all of our parishioners both present and past. We are hoping to fill the house. At our 100th anniversary (2002) we almost filled the upper church and since then have had a few homecomings and reunions which had great response.
You know what would shock and amaze me? Actually supporting your parish before it goes belly-up.
Apologies to the author, because I get the sense he means well, but letters like this really piss me off. You want to pat yourself on the back for filling the house for the last-ever mass, or for the occasional reunion?
Whoop-de-doo. What do you want, a @&#^$% medal?
Supporting a parish you love isn't a one-time thing, or a reunion thing. It's a consistent thing. Give your time, give your labor, give your money consistently. Don't live in the area? Tough, do it anyway. Because that's what it takes to keep these places afloat.
Where were you when vigil masses attracted barely a dozen people? Where were you when masses and services were cut? Where were you when the parish became so financially burdened it had to go on Archdiocese assistance?
And you want to boast about showcasing your love and devotion to this parish? Give me a break.
Coming together at the end, when you've already lost, is meaningless. Coming together weekly, when the Saturdays and Sundays blend together and life gets in the way? That's true devotion.
Look, maybe in this crazy new reality, none of it matters. Maybe Immaculate was doomed anyway, as so many other parishes will be doomed in the coming years. But if every parish alumni gave a little something back more than once every 100th anniversary, I'm willing to bet we'd have a much difference church situation in Philadelphia right now.
Who wants to prove me wrong?