Saturday's New York Times piece, Hopes and Habits Persevere at Churches Gone, but Not Destroyed by Paul Vitello and Christine Haughney, begins like a breath of fresh air stating a truth that we have observed, but which had not yet been uttered in a large public forum:
"During the peak of the real estate boom, one of New York’s largest landowners unloaded more than $100 million worth of property — and might have sold more if not for the parishioners who clung to their churches and blocked the bulldozers. "
The article provides a comprehensive view of church closures and real estate transactions in the interim between the much-vaunted "success" of the realignment and the present. The article is accompanied by an evocative slideshow which includes us, above, hanging tough in prayer as we always have.
The novelist Mary Gordon describes the loss of churches:
"...like pulling the heart out of these neighborhoods.” She said that “it destroys the conduit between the sacred and the ordinary.”
Our hearts are beating with this conduit that we pray and work to restore. May Our Lady give us strength.