Churches Not Just Window Dressing

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By Kathy Ewing

Despite the closing of over 30 Catholic churches in the city of Cleveland, “the Church” does still remain in the city—in the form of surviving Catholic parishes, the many mosques and Protestant churches who haven’t left, and the volunteers and city residents who work to make Cleveland a better place.

To assert glibly, however, that the Catholic Church still serves the city (the buildings being mere “window dressing”), as Anne Welsh of South Euclid wrote in a recent letter to the Plain Dealer (12/11/10) is naive and misinformed. Many people previously served by Catholic churches in their neighborhood have been abandoned.

Lamont (not his real name), for example, used to attend St. Cecilia on Kinsman on Sundays and weekdays. Developmentally disabled, he found hot coffee and warm meals and people to talk to. Since the church closed last April, the parishioners closest to Lamont have tried to keep in touch. But because he has no phone and moves from one shelter and group home to another, their efforts have been frustrating and only sporadically successful. Our congregation is no longer present every week to see him, offer him a doughnut, and ask him how he’s doing.

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