Protesting the razing of closed churches

Protesting the razing of closed churches

The only parish actually to close in Salem, Mass., during the latest round of parish closings in the Boston archdiocese was St. Joseph’s, a French national parish that was less than a quarter mile from two territorial parishes, Immaculate Conception and St. James. It had a school that was moved to St. James and a Spanish community that moved to Immaculate, which is my parish.

The archdiocese subsequently sold the property—which sits on the edge of the downtown and of The Point neighborhood, an immigrant neighborhood of mainly poor working-class Dominicans and Puerto Ricans—to the Planning Office of Urban Affairs, which was established by the archdiocese in 1969 to provide affordable housing and other community improvements. Now the Planning Office has come out with its plans for property, which include razing the building. That idea has brought out the protesters, mostly former parishioners.

I’m sorry, but the building is quite useless for other purposes other than being a church. It is an art-deco style edifice that I called “the blimp hangar.” It’s a big cavernous space that I found cold and lacking in any historic or architectural significance. (See if you agree, here are some photos.) Evidently, there are some who disagree.

Is unique always a good thing?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli