Friday, February 10, 2006

Closing a church in New Orleans

Wherein it seems the church didn't care to try

The St. Augustine Parish is closing:
Founded in 1841 on a former plantation at the edge of the French Quarter, St. Augustine's roots are African, French, Haitian and Spanish.

Its story provides a window into the rich cultural ancestry of old New Orleans.

The city's Creole families worshipped there, along with Haitians and free black people. Short pews arranged along the walls of the church welcomed slaves, an unusual piece of hospitality, according to parish histories.

The gold-leaf French inscription over the antique marble altar reads: "Si tu savais le don de Dieu" -- ("If you knew the gift of God") -- and the stained glass windows are French.

The French saints today look down on the original pews where both free and enslaved Africans sat. And pictures of their descendants, black Mardi Gras Indians, line the walls between the stations of the cross depicting the Passion of Christ.

found the link through Poppy Z. Brite, who is not very happy:
Dozens of other Catholic churches will also be shuttered indefinitely, including the one where I sometimes attend Mass (and where G-man attends it in Prime), Our Lady of Good Counsel. As you might expect, I have a lot of problems with Catholic dogma, but Father Pat of OLGC isn't into the judging-and-hating side of things. Anyway, I don't go to Mass because I consider myself a Catholic or even a Christian; I go partly because it's an important part of New Orleans culture and partly because it helps me find a peaceful place within myself that I don't have many ways of accessing. So much for that, I guess. It only confirms my long-held belief that the archdiocese and the Church hierarchy don't give a damn about the parishioners, the little faithful people who make up the congregations; they care about lining their pockets and pulling rank on anyone who dares to argue with their so-called holy mandate.


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