-Statement by MPS President Mauro DePasquale-
Sadly, WSC Judge Wrenn made his decision to deny our appeal for the State of Massachusetts DCAM to take agency action in pursuing a legal course to their property by virtue of exercising site controls and existing deed restrictions. A favorable decision by Judge Wrenn could have ignited MEPA regulations, requiring an ENF (Environmental Notice Form) to be filed that would in good faith, have made the process transparent and provided the opportunity for public to review and have input into the process.
Something our historic and architecturally unique Church and all of Worcester and communities well deserve.
Judge Wrenn’s decision lost the best chance to save, preserve and possibly, at the very least, repurpose the Church in accordance with the recommendations from the International Bishops’ Conference “Does God Dwell Here Anymore?” A chance for it to live on in service to humanity on many levels.
Our community is broken hearted but remains, as it has during the entire three-year struggle, steadfast and thankful to their Faith, parish Church, and to their heritage and parish family.
Personally, I have found their work, drive, professionalism, diligence, fortitude, and love for their Faith and Church stunning.
They organized, researched successful models (that had far worse church conditions and chances, but still managed to become living Shrines), moved academic studies and primary historical points forward.
They also ran successful fundraising programs, started a non-profit Preservation Society, took their plea to save their Church to the Pastor, the Bishop, to Rome, to the Vatican, and ultimately, to the Pope.
They also took their appeal to the City leadership and to civil courts.
They amassed over 13,000 signatures petitioning to save Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on Mulberry Street.
They prayed together and never gave up, despite the deaf ears of Diocesan leadership. They always knew, and still believe today, that saving and preserving the church would not be insurmountable. In some ways they may never give up. However, they may have exhausted every avenue possible.
Those who stood tall through the three-year battle to save the Church will always be thinking “WHY”.
“Why?”: City Council records show the City Inspector stated in public at a City Council and on record, that there was no reason the church needed to be demolished. The church’s façade needed to be fixed and through the advocacy of MPS members with the Historic Commission, a one year stay against demolition was ordered, forcing the Diocese to address the safety issue, and pay for the repairs to the façade. Despite continued misinformation from the Diocese, the exterior of the church was made safe. But the Diocese would never allow MPS’s engineers to inspect their work, claiming repeatedly that the “church was crumbling.” “Why?” “Why ?” did the Pastor lock the doors and keep us from looking deeper into how we might develop a strategy to preserve it; “Why?”, After we offered to, why not talk with a community delegation that included federal, state, city, neighborhood, and preservationist leadership to explore ways possible ways to save the church for the benefit of the entire City; “Why?” Why not respect the recommendations of the International Bishops’ Conference which suggested to repurpose churches toward service in keeping with our Catholic mission; “Why?” Why not follow a transparent process under MEPA regulations; “Why?” Why handle the closure in such a contentious manor and risk losing more parishioners; “Why?” Why do we find other churches, for example, one practically burnt completely down, that have been restored with, what seemed to us, so much less effort and struggle; “Why?” Why not give MPS and its supporters a chance to save their church? These are many questions that will linger for years to come.
MOUNT CARMEL PRESERVATION SOCIETY and its supporters did their very best, the best anyone could do, given the situation. What an incredible testament of perseverance determination and faith.
We pray that a developer will come along with the intent to save this beautiful historic treasure for the benefit of all stake holders. MPS is willing to work tirelessly to contribute toward such a intent. I have created a beautiful vision development plan for the property that preserves the church as a living shrine in the midst of of an Italian Piazza buzzing with boutique shops, caffe, and housing. A perfect Shrewsbury St./gateway destination. We still have hope.
Finally, no one should forget the history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church and its people, the people who built it. It was many of their children who began the Mount Carmel Preservation Society and the effort to save their church.
MPS started its mission out of love and respect for Christ and His Catholic Church, for Faith, for our sacred and historic gathering space (the Church), for our Italian heritage, for our neighborhood and parish community.
From the depths of my heart I wish to thank all who have supported and contributed to MPS’s efforts. Thank you for the tremendous sacrifice each of you have made, and for some, made with political risk. Thank you also to the families of members, who also endured more than three years of sacrifice, emotional pain, and hardship to fight this difficult battle.
We understand that many people may never understand the depth and meaning behind our advocacy to preserve our beloved Church. We hold no animosity and we appreciate the opinions of others.
In communion with the generations of the faithful who built the National Italian Catholic Church of Worcester, our beautiful and treasured Church on Mulberry Street, we will always cherish moments praying together, as we have the past three years, every week, for the survival of our Catholic Faith, and purpose to seek God’s Will. That has always been the heart of it all.
We will, in one way or another, always rally together to re-member Christ and to pray with Him, to see God’s will be done, for peace, understanding, closure, to pray for all our communal family, even for those who were against us, and most of all, for divine Love to flourish.
Christ has promised us His love eternal and although one day the world and heavens will end, His word and His love, will never die.
We always recognized that our true church of Christ resides in our hearts, especially as we heartily gather, two or more of us, together. Our community remains strong and awake. Our Church has been rebuilt in the depths our hearts. We will never forget “Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”
Mount Carmel Preservation Society
– IMAGINE –
Vision plan for OLMTC – Mauro DePasquale
Vision: Transforming OLMC campus into a beautiful and full functioning recreation of an historic Italian Piaza with OLMC as the focal point.
The whole lot is called the Shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Church building is operated by a Society of the Faithful, in partnership with the Diocese and MPS, as a sacred space, where Catholic Masses are conducted weekly, along with use for baptisms, funerals, weddings, sacred events and celebrations.
The surrounding area used for residential and retail. Where we will find quaint Cafes, Italian fashion boutiques, a restaurant, Italian specialty shop, or a new home for operations such as “EATALY “experiencing great success in Boston, and to include a community space run by MPS (For educational classes, Italian cultural use, and community creative and gathering space, which can also draw revenues).
The Piaza can host outdoor weddings, concerts, Italian Festivals, and other Community Gala events. This rented space will help to sustain the Church which will also serve spin off benefits, as a gateway tourist destination, for all of Worcester and especially its adjacent Restaurant Row (Shrewsbury Street) and Theater and Downtown district.
Mount Carmel Preservation Society in 2017.