The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scranton's St. Thomas More Society to buy historic church property

St. Joseph's Church, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Father Eric Bergman writes:

Those of you who assisted at Mass on Sunday, February 19th will remember that I called a surprise meeting that day for members and friends of the St. Thomas More Society. I announced then that Bishop Joseph Bambera had given me permission to poll our members and benefactors to determine how much money we might be able to raise for the purchase of a permanent home from which to conduct our ministry. Specifically he had asked me to get back to him in a couple of weeks to indicate whether we as a community could come up with the cash to purchase St. Joseph Church in the Providence section of the city of Scranton. Your response to my appeal was quick and generous, for which I offer my most heartfelt gratitude. By February 29th we had about $170,000 on hand, with thousands more pledged toward the purchase, a happy circumstance that I related to the Vicar General of the Diocese of Scranton, Fr. Brian Clarke. Within days I learned we would be able to purchase the entire St. Joseph Church campus, which includes the church (with the parish hall beneath it), the rectory (six bedrooms and five baths), four garages, 36 parking spaces, a convent vacated by the Sisters of Mercy on January 9th, and St. Joseph School (closed in 1984 but used by the parish for various ministries until July of last year). Our hope is to close on the property the third or fourth week of April and complete the necessary renovations over the summer, the goal being to be worshiping in our new setting and occupying our new rectory by the beginning of the school year.

For the property we must pay $254,000, though Fr. Cyril Edwards, the Pastor of Mary, Mother of God parish, fr rom which we will acquire the property, ha as kindly agreed to give us some time to come up with the full amount. In addition to the purchase price, we will have to sp pend a significant amount restoring the ch hurch to conform to our liturgical practices and disciplines. Plus, there will be some renovation work necessary for the other buildings on the campus. Therefore, we will shortly conduct a formal capital campaign, for which you should expect to receive a mailing, by which we will raise the necessary funds. How much we raise will determine what we are able to do over the coming summer months, and we will be sure to welcome pledges toward work that can be kicked down the road a bit, for those of you who do not have money immediately on hand. Thus, please begin to pray about what you may be able to donate, in anticipation of receiving a formal appeal for help with acquisition of the property and restoration of it...

Read the rest of Fr. Bergman's letter to his parishioners and the rest of the Society's news in this month's More News.


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