In this very Catholic state of ours the Catholic church plays a huge role in daily Connecticut life. The Catholic church has hundreds of parishes, dozens of schools, and a charitable organization that helps thousands of people.
This week on Face the State we are joined by Lois Nesci, the new director of Catholic Charities, who is here to talk about the role of the organization. Of course, its primary goal is to help the less fortunate.
I’m Catholic, in fact I taught CCD one year when I was in parochial high school. I’m all for the church helping the poor, but like many people, I often question how they go about doing it.
There are times I think the church is perpetuating poverty. For example, the relatively new Cathedral Green project in Hartford undertaken by the Catholic church, was somewhat controversial when it began. The church wanted to turn the old Cathedral school into supportive housing for low income people. The city, and columnists felt it should be market rate housing, to help improve the neighborhood. The school, in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, could have been sold for top dollar to a developer. The church went ahead with its plan.
I’ve often wondered why the church doesn’t build this supporting housing on the acres of land it owns in the suburbs, to give folks a chance at better schools, and in many cases, to live in a safer neighborhood. You can probably buy crack a few blocks from Cathedral Green; I doubt you could do the same near a church in Avon.
The parochial school closings due to declining enrollment nearly always take place in the cities. Ditto for parish closings. It seems the me, the church should play a role in improving these neighborhoods to bring in more money to the parishes which would allow them thrive and provide the resources to help more people. The city churches desperately need middle to upper income parishioners to fill their collection baskets, to the replace the countless parishioners who moved to suburbia when their neighborhoods began to slide into decline .
I asked Nesci about this and you can watch the entire interview this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.
By the way, the above picture is yours truly after receiving his First Holy Communion at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Norwood, Massachusetts.
UPDATE: Here is the interview that aired Sunday http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6489852