Where's God?

Houses of the Holy may feed the needy

I once went with a friend to the site of a former monestary near Erie - which was gone - and there was nothing but scrub and old trees and surrounding farmland - the friend took me deep in a valley where the trees stood very tall - the were all ripe cherries but not getting harvested. Imagine if rather than abandoning some of the amazing land "God"s agents control they farmed that and used the food to feed the needy - or even just make some money - create some jobs.

Perhaps all these surplus churches and their parking lots and other green spaces should be used for farming now, with the same objectives.

That is my proposal - we will bundle them into the Star Neighborhood Development plan, and these former religious facilities will remain open as places of worship for all people all of beliefs, always for free, and producing food for their communities.

Disrupt IT

Don't count on it

As our Ward 15 councilman knows only too well, the diocese has other plans for these sacred landmarks...

God has evidently decreed more parking lots and drug stores for the City. 


Joe Cimperman needs to confront the diocese and their plan to demolish St. Andrews Church in Superior St. Clair neighborhood. Come on Joe...be a saint.


Is this true (from the PD comments)?:

It is really sad this beautiful churches will close. The older parishes are actually owned by the members not the diocese under Ohio law. The only way to fight the closings is for the members to file a lawsuit any protests will fall on deaf ears. There is two pending lawsuits against the Toledo Diocese for similiar closings. I am willing to speak to any parish who wants help.

If so, we need an REALNEO attorney willing to confront the medieval church in the city.

Brian we need a lawsuit against the Diocese

Brian, please encourage the parishoners at Our Lady of Good Counsel to start lawsuit proceedings.


Members' suit settled in closing of church

Blade, The (Toledo, OH) - Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Author: Blade
UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio - Members of a closed Catholic church in Wyandot County have settled a lawsuit seeking control over the
former parish's funds and property.

The lawsuit was filed in Wyandot County Common Pleas Court on June 28, 2006, about a year after Toledo Bishop Leonard
Blair closed
. Joseph Catholic Parish in Salem Township as part of a major restructuring of the 19-county diocese.

The bishop cited a priest shortage and shifting demographics for closing 17 parishes and merging 16 others into six
new parishes.

The ex-parishioners' lawsuit was settled through court-appointed mediation and dismissed with prejudice, the Toledo
diocese said yesterday in a news release.

The agreement calls for the closed
Joseph Salem
Township Parish church building, meeting hall, and associated property to be transferred to the
Heritage Society, a nonprofit organization formed by the ex-parishioners.

The society's corporate goal is "to recover, preserve, and maintain the heritage of Salem
. Joseph Parish Community and to show our appreciation for the 157 years of sacrifice our ancestors endured so that
it may inspire future generations."

Use of the
property, which is about halfway between Upper Sandusky and Carey, Ohio, comes with certain restrictions, the diocese

For example, the Rev. Bob Dendinger, pastor of Transfiguration of the Lord Parish in Upper Sandusky, must give approval
if Catholic sacramental services are requested to be held at

Edition: City Final
Section: Second News
Page: B3
Record Number: MERLIN_6845343
Copyright, 2008, The Blade


. Joseph parishioners file suit
- Title to closed Salem Twp. church sought from Toledo diocese

Blade, The (Toledo, OH) - Friday, June 30, 2006
Author: BLADE
UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio - Parishioners who belonged to the now-closed
. Joseph Church in Salem Township have filed a lawsuit in Wyandot County Common Pleas Court to gain title to the church
property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the
Save Our Parish Society names Bishop Leonard Blair as the primary defendant.

The parish, founded in 1849, had about 180 members when the diocese closed it a year ago, the society said in a statement.

The closing was part of a realignment across the diocese. The society does not ask that the bishop reopen the parish,
said Marc Rall, its vice president, but it would like control of the church and grounds, especially to maintain the 112-year-old

"We maintained it. Our ancestors built it. As far as we're concerned,
we own it," Mr. Rall said. He said former parishioners
have tried unsuccessfully to arrange meetings with the bishop.

"We've been stonewalled," he said. "We have to force him to talk to us or give up the property. We can't wait any longer
to keep this church up."

The diocese has not seen the lawsuit and had no comment last night, said Sally Oberski, director of communications.

The diocese and Bishop Blair are defendants in a lawsuit filed earlier by members of the former
. James Church, Kansas, Ohio, who seek control of the former parish's property and assets.

Edition: City Final
Section: Second News
Page: B3
Index Terms: WYCC
Record Number: MERLIN_3319674
Copyright, 2006, The Blade

heavenly architecture


I thought you might like to see this article from the NYTimes: Preserving the City: Church and State.

I agree that it is a burden for dwindling congregations to be strapped with these buildings, but they shoud remain somehow. They tell the story of Cleveland. 

There ahve been some interesting saves in our town in the recent past. Several projects received awards from the Cleveland Restoration Society in 2006. They (CRS) even has a program to assist the diocese - Church in the City.


Saving our built heritage

  I spoke with the program coordinator for Church in the City program and the funding has dried up.  The money was applied to St. John's Cathedral, St. Ann in Cleveland Heights, and Our Lady of Peace on the border of Cleveland and Shaker. 

God in the city or commercial property??

St. Andrews Church on Superior

This as I look for a sign...remember Original Sin?

**NOTE the original Benedictine doors from St. Andrews have been "harvested."  Who knows what else has been "harvested" from the Church's interior?  How about the bells...do I hear a bid from a suburban church...or Taco Bell?  Watch this church...put it on the demolition watch and ask yourself, who is doing this???

Update--1/26/2010--Diocese noted that this site included link back to image of hand carved wooden doors and pulled the link


 Sadly--I should have archived this image here at REALNEO.  Sorry folks--I dropped the ball.  All of the historical information on St. Procop web site has also been yanked.


you gotta click through on this one


"Property Description: 1.02 Acre site one block west of East 55thstreet. Proposed site is adjacent to The Ohio Technical College, permitted uses include fast food, financial institution, automotive aftermarket and drug store."

Picture of Cleveland in this view: think of hostage images I do not want to post here.

When can we, how can we stop the rape of our city?



Ask yourself?

Who will ultimately pay for the dismantling and demolition of St. Andrews?  The diocese?  Fat chance...Find a way to claim that a structure is unsafe...and you can find a way to make someone else pay for the demolition. CondemNATION.

Seize the churches

I challenge the City of Cleveland to seize the Catholic diocese properties slated for closure (and some for demolition) within the City of Cleveland.  These properties have been tax-exempt for years and now the Diocese will turn around and make a hefty profit off the sale of the properties now zoned commercial.  

 I see no reason why a city should not be able to recoup the back taxes owed on these properties.  Are there legal precedents?  Can anyone challenge the Diocese's plan to take the money and run? 

St. Andrews and other condemned churches within the city should be offered by the CITY to any denomination/community group/congregation willing to attract a community of individuals committed to live within walking distance and to invest and REBUILD the CITY.  


Cy-près doctrine

  Amateur legal work here...any takers?

BTW, if you are looking for an end of the year tax write-off, please consider supporting Wikipedia.

Is RealNEO a write-off?...

Food distribution centers

  These "abandoned" churches should and could serve as community meet-up locations for food distribution centers under a new urban/agrarian economy.  This is not so far-fetched.   Norm's star plan envisions community radiating from a cooperative that serves an intergenerational and multicultural community.  These "stars" throughout the city would also radiate the warmth of our artistic and creative endeavors--especially music-- to lift us from the earth to the sky.

St. Barbara's

  On Christmas Eve, the bells tolled and families poured out of St. Barbara's into the chilly night.  There is hope in the city....there is a time...

Dear visitor to the Brooklyn WIKI,

As of this date the cluster team has finished its duty as directed by Bishop Lennon. They have diligently fulfilled their task and we are grateful for their efforts. THis has been a long and difficult process. We regret to announce that the recommendation has been made that the parishes of St. Barbara and Blessed Sacrament be closed. Keeping that in mind, let us remember these points:

  1. The final decision will be made in March of 2009, and that decision is in the hands of the Bishop. We only know what was recommended. Over 400 forms opposing the recommendation were also submitted by parishioners and friends of St. Barbara.
  2. The Parish of St. Barbara is financially solvent, is in a prime location that is safe, and has great potential to remain a stable Catholic presence if given the chance. We know that nobody wants their church to close, but at least the Polish people would still have a convenient, safe neighborhood to come to worship if the Parish was allowed to continue. .
  3. The only two Polish parishes that will be left in the City of Cleveland will be St. John Cantius and St. Stanislaus. All the others have been voted to close.
  4. Our Lady of Good Counsel and Corpus Christi are potentially being merged into St. Leo. That means there is no Catholic church from Brookpark-Pearl to W.25 and Scranton, none from Denison until Tremont and going east into Newburgh there is no Catholic Church until you get to Fleet Ave, which is St. John Nepomucene. Immaculate Heart of Mary has been voted to close. St. Rocco would be the next closest church going west.
  5. Since St. Barbara is not a huge building to maintain, our overhead is minimal. We have sufficient funds to maintain our property. The other parishes that are staying open in our cluster have siginifcant debts.
  6. Rumor has it (AND WE STRESS RUMOR) that St. Barbara has been slated for demolition and a gas station built on its site. Can you imagine that


Collection plates

Here's a thought--save our BUILT HERITAGE!  From Mike O'Malley's column on Friday, January 23, 2009


Social-justice grants: The Cleveland Catholic Diocese, which gives out grants between $35,000 and $40,000 each year for social-justice projects, is seeking proposals from community groups.

Organizations working on behalf of poor people can each receive up to $5,000. Youth groups engaged in community work can each receive up to $1,000. The organizations have until March 31 to apply for the grants.

For information on how to obtain or submit applications, call Deacon Rocky Ortiz at 440-245-5043 or jrortiz [at] clevelandcatholiccharities [dot] org him.

The awards will be announced in June or July.


Ruins of St. Andrews

  Scroll up and take a look at the church that is no more.  St. Andrews Church has been demolished by the diocese.  Outraged, yet? 

Councilman Polensek notes that he went by the site and the steeple and bell were left in the ruins. Desecration.

Cleveland council members prepare to fight over Cleveland Catholic Diocese's plans to demolish some churches

Council pushes historic designations

Monday, March 02, 2009

Michael O'Malley


  Please read--

Here is a constructive proposal to the Catholic Diocese from a suburban mayor. 

Mayor  Bentkowski did not have to comment.  He could have remained silent.  I hope other suburban mayors, as well, as Mayor Jackson heed this plea.


Sacrificial lambs

Please see Michael Gill's article in this week's Scene magazine.  Also, please see above link.  What can we
do to stop this senseless destruction? 

church and taxes

What if the churches went to nonprofits like CRS, CMA, orchestras, social service agencies... could they then be tax exempt?

Churches don't pay taxes.

Laura, I'm sorry this is hitting you so hard.   It seems to me that belonging to the Catholic Church is like belonging to a web site where they shut down the server, and you lose all your content.  Doesn't seem fair.  But it happens.

It's business - not fairness,  which is making the Church's determinations. 

Mr. Sweeney spent much of his time at the Ward 20 Republican Club last week discussing the different Cleveland Catholic church closings.  I didn't feel it was goverment business, but it was clearly important to Mr. Sweeney and many of his ward's constituents.

I would say that the parishoners (is that the right word?) aren't the main focus of the Catholic church.  The church's main focus is the bottom line, IMHO. 

Like Norm says, don't put your content on a server on which you can't rely...

Your original post on church demolition a year ago made me think: the City of Cleveland would prefer a Burger King drive through to a church - cuz burgers pay taxes.   So I don't think there will be much sympathy from the bureacracy...




Read the Michael Gill article


Churches are exempt from property taxes until they are no longer used as churches.

Then they are added to the county tax roll and must pay at the commercial rate of 2.84 percent.


The Diocese should be ashamed of themselves for allowing St. Andrews to be demolished when there are congregations in need of a church.  There is nothing to say this church could not have converted to a Baptist congregation, a non-denominational congregation...or a non-profit group.  It was a cold hearted, cash-driven decision. 

The Plain Dealer needs to follow-up on this story and shame the Catholic Church.  St. Barbara's in Brooklyn Centre is the next one to go down, because of its proximity to I-176.  Why commercial zoning?  Can't Cleveland City Council affect these zoning decisions?

Save our Heritage

  As St. Peter's starts to fight back, I hope other parishes stand up to the Diocese to save our heritage.

Please see photos of St. Colman's and St. Stephen's at TOIstudio-posted by Dru McKeown


May God have mercy...

 The fight to Save St. Colman's and parishes throughout the city continues.  

Grab a camera and fight back!  Catalog and inventory our urban church interiors/exteriors. Please read above posts.  You don't have to be Catholic to join this fight.  Cleveland's collective history is a story that needs to be told.  

Good News

St. Colman's is spared.  Now, the diocese should step back and announce that all the parishes affected by their initial decision should be given a reprieve, if they can show a four-year solvency plan.  

Step up people.  Reclaim the neighborhoods that support these parishes.  Perhaps, there is a method to the Diocese's madness, afterall, if it rekindles the spirit of community symbolized by these sacred landmarks.


St. Procop and Ward 14

Will close this Sunday--the church has the funds to continue their mission, but the Diocese could care less.  This is the work of God?  

Lennon has said that most of the diocese's 750,000 Catholics live in the suburbs and that's where priests, who are in short supply, are needed. There are not enough parishioners, he argued, to support massive, century-old city churches like St. Procop.

Endangered Catholics disagree. Group member Bob Kloos insisted that a number of urban churches on the chopping block are viable institutions, including St. Peter and St. Emeric in Cleveland and St. James in Lakewood.

Kloos said the diocese should be seen as a family, each church a child of that family. And when hard times hit, he said, "you don't disown a couple of the kids. You say to the rest of the family, 'What can we do to keep everybody fed?'

The letter to church officials reads in part: "We ask the members of your parish to listen to our story. We hope all Cleveland Diocese members will be able to say, 'We stood up and helped our fellow Catholics.'

Stop the pillage of our cultural history

See all above comments and hold your council representatives accountable for their role in the rape and pillage:


The Diocese killed St. Procop's informative well-organized website http://www.stprocop.org/  of the church's history and congregation and the St. Procop's Holtkamp organ is one of the items being hocked at the Diocese's inventory site...