Our small southern Maryland parish has had more than one reason to experience some uncertainty about our future lately.
As I’ve related here in a previous column, we had to evacuate the church and set up for Mass in our parish hall last Lent. Our 100-year-old church ceiling needed urgent repair and, as a result, it was unsafe to remain in the church until repairs could be completed. Then Traditionis Pastores landed like a bomb in our lives, declaring that Traditional Latin Masses may not any longer be offered in parish churches like ours.
Will it be possible to use our church once it’s restored?
Our archbishop has given permission to continue liturgically as we’ve been doing thus far for a period of prayer and reflection on the new restrictions. We continue to hope and pray for a mild and generous application of the motu proprio in our case. Meanwhile, the work on the church continues.
I don’t believe I’ve used this space before to ask for financial help but I’ve decided to do so now. We would like to raise funds to pay for the work in the church. We’ve already made a very good start as our Go Fund Me page has reached nearly $10,000 in the first few days after launch this week, adding this to a previous robust effort by parishioners raising more than $20,000.
Our parish has offered the Traditional Latin Mass since 1989 under the terms of Ecclesia Dei, as our Church has grown in the understanding that the divine liturgy, handed down by the apostles from Christ, is a matter of divine Revelation and cannot ever be abrogated. We have grown into a de facto “personal” parish with Traditional sacraments and Holy Mass offered every day following Summorum Pontificum in 2007.
We are undertaking a large project to restore our church. Our 100-year-old plaster and lathe ceiling was cracking and deteriorating as the keys and lugs through large sections had broken over time. The ceiling was in danger of falling.
We are restoring and preserving the original ceiling and also repairing and painting deteriorated plaster throughout the church interior.
The project will cost $243,000 and we have raised about $30,000 so far. We are seeking additional funds to replace an original wooden pine floor that was taken out during insurance work following a 2010 fire and replaced with plywood and carpeting, and with chandelier lighting more appropriate for a church setting. Rorate Caeli and Fr. Zuhlsdorf have blogged about our fundraiser, assisting us greatly in getting the word out, for which we are thankful. Please also share our Go Fund Me page or the page about the project on my blog A Priest Life, the URL for which you can find following this column.
Please consider supporting our parish, one of only two in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., which offer Traditional Mass daily and sacraments in the Traditional Latin Rite.
You can donate by sending a check made out to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and mailing to us at P.O. Box 306, Benedict, MD 20612.