May 21, 2017
On May 9 ,2017, the Most Reverend Christopher Coyne, Bishop of Burlington, decreed that the actions voted on at a parish meeting on April, were approved. Accordingly, we are allowed to set a date for the final Mass to be celebrated at Saint Margaret Mary Church in Arlington (6/24). After that Mass, the Church will cease to be ‘sacred’ and will be relegated to ‘profane, but not sordid use’. That means that the Church cannot turn it into a bar or some other ‘seamy’ venue. Since it is no longer a sacred space, it may be sold along with the rest of the parish-owned property in Arlington. No sale may take place before that date, although people may and have expressed interest in buying. Further, the objects that mark the building as having once been a church (stained glass, altars, tabernacles, crucifixes, vestments, altar ware, etc.) must be removed before the sale and disposed of in a way that is consistent with their once-sacred status. This is usually accomplished by advertising the availability of such items to churches in the diocese. Those that can make an offering to purchase do so; to others, the smaller pieces are often gifted. There are actually companies that make a business of taking such goods on consignment.
The main altar of the Church is destined for installation in Saint Columba Cemetery. There it will remain as a memorial to the hundreds of thousands of Catholics who lived and worshipped and died in this community. The relics from the altar will be buried beneath the platform that will be erected for it. The bodies of saints will return to the earth from which they were removed, and it will our earth!
At that time, we will be able to accommodate, as well, a reasonable number of relics or other sacred articles that you may have in your personal possession and don’t know what to do with. Call the Parish for further information.
We may or may not have to dismantle the building. It may be that a purchaser will have a use for a sloped-floored space. That leaves some assurance that the building will not become a bar or a dance hall.
The last provision of the Bishop’s decree specifies that the proceeds from any sale will be used to support the pastoral projects of Christ our Savior Parish.
The greatest need of the Parish at this time is an infusion of cash to the cemetery perpetual care fund. If we can get that fund built up to an adequate degree (think: hundreds of thousands of dollars) we will be able to provide for an indefinite future of respectful and suitable care for those who have gone before us. This plan has already been discussed with the Diocesan officials and the Parish Finance Council. Whatever remains will certainly find a use.
Whatever rumors you may or may not have heard, this is the present situation and the plan for moving forward. I will not make use of this space to treat this topic again, so watch the other spaces of the bulletin for dates and times and places.
Really and truly and still your pastor,