Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cleveland Mass Mob VII — Saint Mary Bedford

Cleveland Mass Mob  VII 
Saint Mary (Bedford)
7 p.m. Friday 15 August  
300 Union

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Bedford Ohio, began as a mission of Holy Name Newburgh to Hungarian farmers outside of town in 1905. The first resident pastor came in 1921.The present church is the fourth church building. Its first Mass was said on the parish's patroness' feast day 1969.

November 15, 2009 the parish was evicted; but previously an appeal was made to Rome. News came to eleven parishes on March 7, 2012, including St. Mary Bedford, that the appeal was successful because the closure was non-canonical and must be reversed. The hiatus ended with an Homecoming Mass on July 22, 2012; on the same day Saint Barbara, and Saint Patrick West Park had their Homecoming Masses.

Mass Mobs share something of the character of 'Scattered Seeds'. [click] Scattered Seeds are parishioners of St. Cecilia and Epiphany, whose churches were taken by episcopal fiat. For a year they met monthly to have Mass, and a community meal in a series of churches. Over the last two years the Scattered Seeds have found home at St. Mary Bedford.  Most parishes that were closed, had their communities broken, scattered, and not healed. Here in some measure these people had maintained themselves as a parish community.  Jesus and his apostles were the first vagabond and itinerant Christians. There is a long history of wandering together. 

Celebrate. Every parish that came out of the tomb, as did Lazarus, has a life to enjoy. Not every community has a magnificent building such as SS. Adalbert, Casimir, and James, or a more modest jewel box as St. Emeric, but each parish has its own chrism and personality. Locally, we have churches such as SS. Stephen, Theodosius, Stanislaus, Colman, Elizabeth, and others, that makes one's jaw drop when they are seen by the observant. As lovely as the sacred space may be, it is the human community of Christian believers that is the parish. And in the oft quoted words of Jesus, told to us by Matthew, it is only necessary to have two or three people and the parish is formed, and created by Jesus, they are to be perpetual. Ordinary people were driven to become activists to save them; and fought to have the unjust, and non-canonical evictions reversed. Cleveland made national, and international news because of the determined Faith and Perseverance of these Christians, some of whom, assembled their parishes to pray in the streets outside their churches that often had been built by the pennies, and sweat of their immigrant forebears. And the reversal of fortune did come. It is time to celebrate, again.

As we began, our raison d' être — "attract people to come for a Mass, a celebration of Liturgy and Eucharist, in a parish community of an historical, and beautiful church", the church is the meeting site, the purpose of that site "a celebration of Liturgy and Eucharist" is the true purpose; so the physical beauty of the edifice is secondary, and tastes always vary. Saint Peter Superior is now more spartan than in generations past, but the white washed gothic ribbing and vaulting is still magnificent, and the stained glass from Columbus is as fine as south German art glass. Saint Mary Bedford is modern, and although i am not a cheerleader for its form, that is no reason not to celebrate. Keep Massing and Mob On!

No comments:

Post a Comment