National Media Watch

Spokane Diocese Sees Donations Increase

SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, March 16 — Despite the Diocese of Spokane’s bankruptcy protection, donations to the annual appeal have increased since this same time last year, said the Review.

Last year, the diocese had collected $1.3 million from 6,400 parishioners by mid-April. This year, more than 6,800 parishioners have pledged more than $1.56 million of the diocese’s goal of $1.7 million.

Despite the increase, records show that more than 70% of the diocese’s 25,000 households have not yet made donations.

“Cutting the Church off [from donations] is not a Christian approach,” said Frank Cheyney, a member of St. Pascal’s parish in Spokane Valley. “We have to keep the Church going.”

New York Archdiocese Experiences ‘Realignment’

JOURNAL NEWS, March 17 — Demographic shifts in the Archdiocese of New York show a transition from an urban Church to one that is more suburban and rural, reported the Westchester County, N.Y., daily.

The archdiocese plans to open or expand 12 parishes in the northern half of the diocese, while reducing the number in the south by nearly two dozen. The archdiocese also plans to close about 12 Catholic schools, most located in the southern half.

The shift is necessary to accommodate Catholics who are moving from New York City, Yonkers and lower Westchester into Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, and Rockland counties.

“As we limit the number of places of worship in the south, we increase the number in the north by more or less the same amount,” wrote Cardinal Edward Egan in Catholic New York, the archdiocesan newspaper. “This is exactly what was expected and forecasted when we initiated this important undertaking.”

A 52-member advisory panel, made up of religious and business leaders, will have the opportunity to comment on the realignment before contacting parishes and schools that are planned to be closed, expanded or affected.


Baltimore Basilica Returns to Original Design

ASSOCIATED PRESS, March 19 — The country’s oldest cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is close to completing a $32 million restoration. According to the AP, when the basilica reopens Nov. 4, marking its 200th anniversary, it will return to its original design.

The most noticeable effect of the work will be an increase in light inside the basilica, which was designed Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol. Gone is the gray interior, replaced with cream-colored walls. And the stained-glass windows have been replaced with translucent ones.

“There are some that like the very dark worship experience,” said Mark Potter, executive director of the Basilica Historic Trust. “But certainly this is the more attractive look for the building.”