Enduring a four year battle to keep their beloved Basilica open, parishioners and friends of St. Adalbert Basilica on Stanislaus Street in the Broadway/Fillmore neighborhood announced the kick off of a new campaign in the ongoing efforts to keep the Basilica open for weekly worship services.
In January 2011, announcement was made that the Vatican found in the parish's favor, declaring St. Adalbert Basilica could not be closed, thus forcing the Bishop to keep it open as a place of worship even if the corporations of St. Adalbert and St. John Kanty parishes were merged. However, the Bishop has steadfastly refused to follow the spirit of that ruling, declaring that only special occasion liturgies such as weddings and funerals will occur at the Basilica site once the 125th Anniversary celebration takes place September 18, 2011, thus necessitating the Appeal Committee sending another letter to the Vatican seeking clarification of its ruling.
The Vatican response to that request has been received and the case ultimately reviewed by our canon lawyer and a civil attorney. In the Vatican's response, it reiterated its previous finding that St. Adalbert Basilica must remain a place of worship accessible to the faithful. It further indicated that details such as number of Masses allowed are to be worked out at the local level.
"The Vatican's ruling has saved our Basilica as a place of worship and has left it to the local parish and Diocese to implement the decision," said Ronald Suchocki of the Save St. Adalbert Appeal Committee. "We will have to keep up the Basilica; water, heat, maintenance, will all have to be attended to just as they are now. So what purpose does it serve to continue to spend time, effort and money on all of that, but not allow a simple turn of a key in the door to let the faithful come in and worship in this beautiful Basilica?"
Suchocki explained that the Diocese's refrain of "lack of personnel" cannot be cited as the reason since retired priests have routinely said mass at the Basilica since its pastor was given two additional churches. "We have monthly rental income, and the parishioners and friends of St. Adalbert Basilica take care of all the day to day needs of the parish," Suchocki continued. "The Diocese has no reason to stop Masses in light of the Vatican's ruling. We hope the Bishop is not punishing the good people of St. Adalbert for appealing their case to the Vatican or that there is not a secret Diocesan agenda for alternate uses or ownership of the Basilica. One would hope that vindictiveness is not a part of the equation that led the Bishop to such a decision in the first place."
"Since we have been rebuffed before by the Bishop when attempts at private dialog were made, the Appeal Committee, on behalf of the parishioners and friends of St. Adalbert Basilica, made the decision to 'work it out' in a more public setting" Suchocki continued. "Thus today, we formally announce the 'WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?' campaign. This Bishop has made it very clear to us that it is not a 'matter of faith or evangelization', it is a 'matter of finance' (his words, not ours!), so we needed a way to refocus him on what truly matters: tending and feeding the flock."
The Appeal Committee is asking everyone to get involved in this campaign. Write letters or send emails asking the Bishop "WHAT WOULD JESUS DO"? Put signs in the windows of your homes and cars and on your lawns. Why should the Bishop have a place of worship and be at peace when all of those whose churches have been closed or whose churches he is trying to close do not have a "place of peace and worship". Visit the website: www.saintadalbertbasilica.org or Facebook page for details regarding the campaign. Revelations regarding the lengths to which the diocese went to try and close the Basilica will also be revealed there soon.
"Aristotle said 'What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do'," Suchocki concluded. "So we ask the Bishop, how will you use your power? Every time he has the privilege of saying Mass and being sustained by the Eucharist, we want him to remember the flock's query: WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? We are confident that if he truly listens to the answer, weekly Masses at St. Adalbert Basilica will continue for another 125 years."