Sunday, October 25, 2009


My day away from the parish usually begins with breakfast with another priest friend. Sometimes we kill the rest of the early afternoon together unless he has a golf game or I need to run to the farm. This week I asked him if he had ever seen Saint Mary Parish in Akron. This old Akron parish is, IMHO, one of the most significant architectural buildings in the diocese. Unfortunately it has hit on hard times with a highway cutting of its boundaries on one side and the neighborhood in general changing drastically; most of the Catholics having moved elsewhere. So next summer it will close and I guess as sad as it is it’s one of those things.

I did tell him that he must see it before it closes for good however as it is truly stunning. We were able to gain access off of hours and have a self guided tour. It is pure Romanesque architecture, stunning in its artistry and so well proportioned. I don’t know how to put it other than to say that it is a building that relates well to human beings without pandering to them while still directing glory to God. (I would like to talk to an architect some day that would help me say that in terms that other people could understand.)

A secretary told us that her son made a film in the basement of the church. Apparently the large marble pillars are supported in the basement by large mounds of dirt. (We did not get to venture into the basement. Darn! Nor did we venture up into the bell tower but I hope to impose on the kind pastor there sometime before the snow flies. Who am I kidding – even if the snow flies I’ll still ask.)

One of their parishioners joined St. Sebastian this past week. He is a seminarian and he had a grand welcome at this parish. We are so glad to have him here though I am sad that it is at St. Mary’s expense. We were able to throw him into the thick of the parish giving talks at the end of all of the Masses for Priesthood Sunday, eating at the choir’s clam bake, hanging out at the sports boosters bonfire, going for a ride in the ’46 through Sandrun Park and taking a trip into the bell tower Sunday afternoon to take in what we believe to be the panicle of the fall show. Here are some pictures.

While we were up there the hawks seemed perturbed that we were up there. They were heading to the tower when they spotted us. Someone sounded the alarm, “Here comes the hawks!” Have you ever noticed how your hands stop working when in panic mode like when you want to get into the house quickly and all of sudden you cannot operate a key and lock - or your phone goes off during Mass and you can’t even figure out what pocket it is in? So I stumble for the camera as he is headed dead on for us. I couldn’t pick it up, couldn’t figure which end was up, couldn’t turn it on, and couldn’t find the button to take the picture. And of course just as it was all figured out he veered off and headed away. A couple of shots were had though. Here is one.

1 comment:

Beth said...

You should definitely go back to the basement. There's a tunnel that connects the church to the school. When the weather was really bad, we'd go from the church to the school through the tunnel. I'd also recommend going through the school, because there are some fun surprises there, especially in the gym. Of course you have to check out the bell tower. I've never been up there, but I'm sure it's beautiful.

St. Mary's is my family's parish, and I'm very sad that I won't get married there. It's been my lifelong dream, but as July keeps getting closer, it becomes more obvious that it's not going to happen. It's very sad that the building won't be in use anymore, but God's will be done.