Last Mass for St. Louis: Hope for the building remains, but its days as a religious and social center for thousands are over.

St. Louis Church
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

St. Louis Church in Auburn is pictured in this June 2013 aerial photo.

AUBURN — Few prayers remain for St. Louis Catholic Church.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

St. Louis Church in Auburn currently seats about 700 people.

Maine's Catholic churches closed since 2006

St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus, Mexico (2008)

St. Michael, South Berwick (2008)

St. Mary of the Assumption, Orono (2009)

St. Patrick, Lewiston (2009)

St. Joseph, Lewiston (2009)

St. Mary of the Assumption, Biddeford (2009)

Notre Dame de Lourdes, Saco (2009)

St. Ignatius Martyr, Sanford (2010)

St. André, Biddeford (2010)

St. James, Thomaston (2011)

St. Andrew, Augusta (2011)

St. Leo, Litchfield (2011)

St. Frances de Sales, Waterville (2012)

St. Patrick, Portland (2013)

Source: Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

St. Louis Church in Auburn was designed by architect Timothy G. O'Connell, who also designed the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Lewiston.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte looks out at St. Louis Church, where he sometimes attended mass as a child. "The last time I was here was when we buried my grandmother," he said.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Two statues are stored in a closet at St. Louis Church in Auburn.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

St. Louis Church in Auburn features more than two dozen stained-glass windows.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

A final Mass at St. Louis Church in Auburn is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29.

The neo-Gothic landmark still sits just as it did when its last congregation gathered there in April. Stacks of spring fliers now gather dust on a table near the broad front doors facing Third Street. The grand nave — with its columns, arched ceiling and finely detailed stained glass — awaits a congregation and a priest’s message.

The church, however, may soon be gone.

Needed repairs to the brick structure and dilapidated roof are estimated to cost more than $1 million, far more than Auburn’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish can afford.

Bishop Richard Malone, who serves as the apostolic administrator for Maine’s Roman Catholic Diocese, has given his approval for the 98-year-old church to be torn down if a sale cannot be completed in a timely fashion, according to a diocese spokesman.

All that remains is a final decision by the Rev. Robert Lariviere to sell or raze. The priest, who took over the parish in June, has yet to make that decision.

“We will see what happens,” Lariviere said.

A last Mass has been scheduled for Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m.

For many families, it will mark an era’s end.

Remembering the heyday

Linda Bartlett recently stood a few feet from the pew where her family always sat — four rows back from the middle aisle — and imagined it might all be gone.

“You don’t think it’s ever going to happen to your church,” she said.

The 53-year-old director of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish grew up attending Mass here with her family and going to classes next door at St. Louis School.

“You went to school with the kids who came to church with their families,” she said. “Everybody knew everybody. This was a community.”

The church was created during a Catholic boom in Lewiston-Auburn. Lewiston already had St. Joseph’s, St. Patrick’s and St. Peter’s. St. Louis parish was created in 1902 and served the mostly French-Canadian neighborhood in New Auburn. Parishioners first gathered in the new church’s basement. Then, when they raised enough money, they set to work on the tall, two-spired upper church, designed by architect Timothy G. O’Connell. O’Connell designed St. Mary’s Church in Lewiston’s Little Canada neighborhood and would later design the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Lewiston.

Workers placed St. Louis’ cornerstone in May 1915.

As much as the new church changed the look of the neighborhood, rising above the houses, shops and tenements, it became the focal point for community activity.

At its peak, the church and its school served between 1,000 and 1,200 families, said Gerard Dennison, who grew up nearby. The adjacent St. Louis School, which burned in a catastrophic 1933 fire but was rebuilt the following year, had 500 students.

“My whole spiritual life has revolved around this church,” said Dennison, who was part of a second generation to attend the church and the school. He graduated from the kindergarten-to-eighth-grade school in 1962. His mother, Regina (Routhier) Dennison, was part of the school’s class of 1925.

“I remember serving Mass as an altar boy seven days a week,” said Dennison, who is now retired. “The church held about 900 people with a beautiful choir upstairs. I remember ringing the bells dangling from a rope on the third floor in the belfry 15 minutes before Mass to warn everyone in the neighborhood. We had three Masses on Sundays and the church was full. The kids’ Mass was at 8 a.m. Midnight Mass was live on the radio, and we had to sell tickets as there was so much demand.”

Bartlett remembered families crowding into the pews while people stood in the rear of the nave.

“You’d have maybe a dozen to 20 people standing in the back because there wasn’t any room for them to sit,” she said.

At its height, the parish had three priests and 20 nuns. There were clubs, plays, social events and sports. They even had a candlepin bowling league.

“During winter carnival, there was a father-son hockey game and mother-daughter broom hockey,” Bartlett said. “All the sports were run through the church, so there was never a conflict with Mass times, like there is now.”

Amid the activity, parishioners also found peace.

“After school, I used to stop by the church and go in all by myself,” said Rachel Duquette of Auburn. “As a young girl, I was awed by its magnificence. I would sit in the front pew and stare at the large cross in front of me that held the crucified Jesus. It made me so sad, but yet I felt a sense of peace and calmness there. I loved that alone time.

“Then someone vandalized the church and the doors were kept locked,” she said, “It was a sad day for me.”

Times changed. Folks moved.

The school closed in 1969. That building survives as a rehab facility run by Catholic Charities. A three-story, white rectory behind the church was torn down for a parking lot.

And though the days of standing-room-only Masses were gone, the church continued to maintain strong congregations until this spring, Bartlett said.

Saturday afternoon Masses still drew 200 or more people, she said.

It was enough to keep a sound church building operating. But maintenance was deferred as collections suffered.

Cracks opened in the roof. Masonry crumbled.

“It’s such a tall building,” Bartlett said. “We only look from the ground up.”

Last fall, a parish analysis found severe structural problems in the church. Issues included large cracks down a tower, cracks in a concrete overhang and a deteriorating stone crown on the roof. This winter, the church took down one of the bell towers.

Finally, when a crack appeared near the front doors, the parish closed the church. Saw horses and caution tape blocked the stone steps.

It has remained closed since April.

The parish’s Finance and Pastoral councils have recommended that the church be deconsecrated and torn down at a cost of about $120,000.

The city of Auburn has talked with at least one developer who may be interested in reusing the church building, said Roland Miller, Auburn’s director of economic development.

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte hopes something can be done to save the structure.

“It’s no longer going to be used as a church,” he said. “That’s been the decision. But the building itself stands.”

LaBonte has met with the Rev. Lariviere as well as Monsignor Marc Caron, who leads Lewiston’s Prince of Peace Parish.

Caron is dealing with his own closures. In 2009, his parish shut St. Patrick’s and St. Joseph’s churches. The latter was recently purchased by Central Maine Healthcare, which announced Aug. 8 that it was rethinking plans to raze the Main Street church building for a parking lot.

LaBonte believes that any reuse of St. Louis Church must be quick, lest the weather and inattention take over.

“Windows get knocked out,” he said. “Elements come in. If you have a building that goes through five or six winters that way, forget about it.”

He also warned that the money that saved St. Mary’s in Lewiston — restoring its grandeur and remaking it as the Franco-American Heritage Center — will not be available for St. Louis. St. Mary’s used millions of dollars in federal grants that have dried up in recent years.

“It was in a very different era of free government money,” LaBonte said.

Keeping St. Louis

The mayor wants to be optimistic.

Though he attended St. Patrick’s as a boy, LaBonte often accompanied his grandmother to St. Louis. He knows what the church means to folks.

“This building stands for this neighborhood,” said LaBonte, who lives nearby.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Tate never saw the church in its heyday, but she wants city leaders to save the church she described as “a treasure in a sagging town.”

“As a child I went to Mass every Saturday with my family,” she said. “I was first amazed by the front doors, which seemed larger than life. Inside, my eyes were drawn to the deep dark wood detailing. However, of all the inspiring features of the building, the stained-glass windows were my favorite. One can simply get lost, as I often did, in the colors and i mages they contain, yet still notice something new about them every time.”

LaBonte walked through the building recently, still marveling at little details throughout the building. He stood in the choir loft and imagined the singers crowded onto the custom-made wooden benches.

St. Louis will soon stop serving as a church, but its work ought not to be finished, he said. Reopening the building in another form is a way of carrying on its heritage.

“I have hope because I’m an optimistic guy who believes in the community,” he said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Brian Franck's picture

Save this Church, and everything inside!

Concerned members of the parish and community need to make sure this time that the Diocese of Portland does not get away with removing the beautiful stained-glass windows and other items and furnishings of value, like was done at St. Joseph's and St. Patrick's Churches. We do not need carpetbaggers pilfering through this treasure trove to find items for sale to make a profit! Just remember that it was the residents of this community who paid for and supported the building of St. Louis Church, not some back office administrators operating out of the Chancery in Portland!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Don't those items belong to

Don't those items belong to the Catholic Church in the first place? How would you like people coming into your personal life telling you what you can or cannot sell of your own possessions?

Just because the community helped pay the electrical or heating bill does not mean they have right to the contents. The same goes for people paying me rent, they have not right the property.

Brian Franck's picture

No! These items belong to the Diocese of Portland now, but...

it were the individuals who lived around St. Louis Church and/or attended Mass there many years ago who paid for the construction of the building, not the Diocese of Portland nor any of its administrators. What about the possible new owners? Would they like to see the building stripped of everything beautiful that is inside, i.e. the stained-glass windows and the fine woodworking? Only cheapskates would take everything not nailed to the floor with them when they sell their house. It is always a courtesy to leave the new owners at the very least, the refrigerator and stove.
Finally, I hope that I never have to pay you rent, because you would probably suck the life's blood out of me financially just out of spite!

 's picture

To suggest that the church

To suggest that the church would or should strip the building before selling it is crazy talk. Doing that would devalue the property to the point that they would have to give it away. Even the salvage value would be destroyed. The church is considering spending $120,000 to have the building demolished. If that happens I hope the church sells whatever they can to offset the expenses of the demolition. Considering that the building needs $1 million+ in structural and roof repairs and then some major remodeling for a new purpose I don't see anyone buying it and saving the structure.

Brian Franck's picture

That is precisely what they did...

before selling St. Joseph's Church. The stain-glass windows were removed and still, Central Maine Healthcare Corporation bought the land and buildings! You obviously read my letter to the editor back in June. In that, I compared the Diocese of Portland's plan to remove all of the sell-able items from St. Louis Church in order to pay for the demolition, to the Romans asking Christ to pay for his own crucifixion. You "don't see anyone buying it and saving the structure". Why don't we adopt a "wait and see" attitude regarding this and leave the dreary wintry forecasting to the Farmers' Almanac?

 's picture

Central Maine Healthcare

Central Maine Healthcare didn't want the building. They wanted to build a parking lot. By selling the windows the diocese was able to sell the property for a lower price. A win-win situation. I did not read your letter in June but I will ask you two questions. How would you pay for the demolition? What would you do with the windows, leave them for the wrecking ball? A wait and see attitude will only result in further deteriation of the building and unsafe conditions for the neighbors. The building should be repaired or razed promptly before things get worse.

Brian Franck's picture

I would not pay for the demolition!

That is not even on the table for discussion! Don’t you get it? Where have you been? The goal is to save both St. Joseph’s and St. Louis Churches. There is no “win-win” here, only a tragic loss for the community. Since the objective is to preserve both buildings, there is no need to remove the stained glass windows from St. Louis Church. They add to the overall interior beauty of the building if you had bothered to look at the outstanding accompanying photography to Sunday’s feature story. It is unfortunately too late for St. Joseph’s Church. The stained glass windows have already been removed and, I presume, sold. And, where do you get your information regarding the condition of St. Joseph's Church? Obviously, it is not from speaking with Gil Arsenault, the code enforcement officer for the City of Lewiston, as I have done. He would have told you that St. Joseph's Church has not "deteriorated" and is in stable condition. That would seem to negate your presumption that the building should be "razed promptly". Do your homework before you make comments!

 's picture

I should have been more

I should have been more clear. I wasn't refering to the condition of St. Joseph's as deteriorated. I meant St. Louis. I don't know the condition of St. Joseph's but I do know that Central Maine Healthcare didn't buy the property for the building. They wanted the land to build a parking lot. Assuming that the diocese knew that when they sold the property why shouldn't they have sold the windows. It didn't have any effect on Central Maine health's plans. As for the St Louis building, it is unstable and unsafe. That's the reality that you can't seem to grasp. Delaying the repairs is only going to make it worse. Whether it is repaired or destroyed something should be done before someone is hurt or killed because of the condition of the structure.

Brian Franck's picture

If you are so concerned about....

your personal safety, you can avoid walking around that area! Obviously, it did not bother our mayor. He was content to even go inside the building and be photographed for the Sunday feature story. Central Maine Heathcare Corporation has no interest in St. Louis Church. Are you an engineer or architectural expert? I "grasp" full well the "reality" of the building's condition, Mr. Rossi. I saw the pictures like everyone else. I am just not "hot-to trot" to tear down the building like some others are. There are highly skilled architects in the community who want to see the building saved. And these individuals are as aware as anybody concerning the building's safety and condition. I cannot understand why you are so concerned about the disposition of this particular building.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Moreover Mr. Frack, CMMC just

Moreover Mr. Frack, CMMC just has to wait until the elements make keeping St. Joseph's untenable. Razing it will be the only option.

Brian Franck's picture

More "Flak" from the Gravelpit!

I bet you are chomping at the bit to see that church torn to the ground! Are you going to get a front row seat to watch the wrecking ball start in? You had better wait a very long time though, because the building is currently in a safe condition now! You just love playing the part of "Dr. Destructo" don't you?

 's picture

Mr Franck has one fact right.

Mr Franck has one fact right. "Central Maine Heathcare Corporation has no interest in St. Louis Church."
The St Louis church did not fall into its current condition overnight. It is the result of years of delayed maintenance. At some point water started entering the building and that's when things start to get bad. Now the roof is shot, there are cracks in the stucco and the masonry joints are crumbling. Water is entering the building in multiple places and damaging the structure. Repairing it will cost more than the church can afford. Usually it's a lack of money that allows a building to fall apart. The diocese has more buildings than it can afford to maintain. If they were to spend $1 million+ to fix St Louis that means $1 million would not be available for other chuches in the diocese. There are enough churches to serve catholics in the Lewiston/Auburn area without the St Louis Church. The $1 million to fix the St Louis building would be better spent to save the only Catholic church in a dozen or so smaller Maine towns. I don't like seeing any building go into a state of decline and in most cases I don't like seeing a sound building destroyed to make room for other development.

Brian Franck's picture

I have more than one fact correct!

You sound like a construction expert. I will bet that is your trade. I am not denying the condition of St. Louis Church. I am painfully aware of its physical problems, but I do not want to see the building torn down either, as the only solution. Some people are just too quick to jump to the "let's get rid of it" as an easy fix.
Mr. Rossi, have you seen how gorgeous the interior of that building is from the photography taken for Sunday's feature story? Those pictures alone should make anyone want to run from the wrecking ball and find the cure! I would rather get rid of that "pup-tent" gothic imitation of a church out there on Route 4 heading towards Turner, before eliminating St. Louis Church! Modern architecture for church design just does not cut it when compared to the grand old structures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 's picture

You win that bet. My primary

You win that bet. My primary business is painting contractor but in the process of prepping a building for paint I often discover water damage and rot. Usually I'm the one who fixes those problems before I continue with my original job. Gothic style masonry buildings like St Louis are not my area of expertise. The only work I have done on a building like that was restoring stained glass windows. Most of the churches I have worked on are the wooden structures that are typical of protestant churches from the first half of the 20th century. The best view of a small town is from the top of a steeple.
If the money is there to repair the St Louis church, do it, but do it soon. If the repairs are delayed conditions can quickly change and what would cost $1,000,000 today can later cost $3,000,000. The worst thing that can happen to a building like that is if it goes through one or more winters unheated. I guess my faith is not strong enough to believe that the money will become available to save the structure.
If the structure can not be saved let me offer another way to preserve the memory of St Louis, St Joseph and other churches. Start a "Lost Churches Museum" that features paintings and photographs of the buildings' interiors and exteriors. There could be displays of the stained glass windows and architectural features salvaged from the buildings. Of course the museum would have to be housed in one of the old church buildings. This might even be the project that could save your beloved St Louis Church.

Brian Franck's picture

You got that right!

The best view in the house is from a church steeple. My understanding, from being around these type of buildings all my life, is not so much the continuous unheated building but the turning on and off of the furnace or boiler. Any water trapped inside a building becomes ice when unheated. Turn the heat on and, of course, the ice melts. That is where the damage can really occur, the back forth action of on and off again heat. I know this from a former career built around playing old antique pipe organs, of which there are plenty in Maine. The turning on and off of the heat can wreak not only havoc with the pipe tuning, but can also play a critical role in the life of the organ's windchests which expand or contract depending upon the amount of humidity or dryness in the building. This can cause cracks in the toeboards of those chests.
Your suggestion is excellent about the museum, one that I have already made regarding St. Joseph's Church, a much better use of the building than a parking lot! There is a prominent architectural firm in Lewiston looking into the possibilities for saving St. Louis Church. Another option for such a building would be a woodworking shop. I had a friend from my days at the University of Michigan who purchased an old Catholic church in Detroit. He was in the business of repairing and restoring old pipe organs. A big church would be a great place to lay the longer pipes out or stand them up, plenty of room there! Unfortunately, he died some 20 years ago from complications due to AIDS. There were not the medicines and treatment techniques in those days that exist today.
The list of long gone church buildings in Lewiston is staggering! We had at one time: the Bates Street Baptist Church, the Bates Street Universalist Church, the Pine Street Congregational Church, the Park Street Methodist/Episcopal Church (where Victor News is now), the Bates Street Free Baptist Church and the Hammond Street Methodist Church.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr. Frack, The solution is

Mr. Frack,

The solution is for you and a group of investors to buy St. Louis and quit panhandling others.

In other words, piss or get off the pot.

Brian Franck's picture

Hey, "Flak"head! Do you see me out on the street panhandling?

No, because I am in here at my computer arguing with "dimwits" like you! I was on the pot already, earlier today. Boy, you are starting to get vulgar! What put you in a foul mood?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr. Frack has an ability to

Mr. Frack has an ability to ignore inconvenient facts. Just wait for the response.

Brian Franck's picture

And, he got it!

Now, you will get yours. The facts are that you, Mr. St. Jean, Mr. Theriault and now Mr. Rossi are "naysayers" par excellence! You all love to antagonize and counter attack those who want to see these wonderful old church buildings saved. Your kind constantly uses the aging condition of these buildings to harass supporters and justify your secret desire to get rid of them.
All one has to do is go to Lewiston City Hall and view their marvelous collection of historic photographs of old buildings that existed at one time in the city but are sadly, now gone, to become thoroughly convinced of the vital mission to save them. Once I saw those beautiful and imposing pictures, it was very easy to jump on the bandwagon, so to speak, and vigorously advocate for those treasures that are still here, to see that they remain here. I can do nothing less than that!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Perhaps you are seated at the

Perhaps you are seated at the wrong table then. Typically there are different menu items available when you are seated at the child's table.

Brian Franck's picture

But, I am not sitting at the "wrong" table!

I think most adults would prefer to have children seated at the table with them, so as to keep a better eye on their behavior. In your case, we can just have you stand in the corner with all of the other "dunces", Mr. Gravelpit!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I'm not worried because you

I'm not worried because you cannot afford the rent I charge (>$2k/month). I only rent luxury homes.

Brian Franck's picture

I do not need your kind of luxury!

That must mean you earn a lot of money. Great, then you can buy both St. Joseph's and St. Louis Churches and donate them back to a caring organization which will preserve the buildings! Thanks a bunch, Mr. Gravelpit, oops!! I mean moneypit.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Could also mean I have lots

Could also mean I have lots of bills Mr. Frack or is it Frick.

Brian Franck's picture

Frack or Frick, what difference does it make?

Because, all I get from you is "Flak" to add to your useless dribble!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

It makes no difference, both

It makes no difference, both are assholes.

Brian Franck's picture

And you are not?

Actually, you are the biggest and stupidest one of all!

 's picture

Religious people get too attached to buildings.

Whenever a church is closed or torn down people like Brian get all whiny about it. The residents of the neighborhood who paid for and supported the building aren't around any more. The neighborhood hasn't paid for or supported the church for a long time. That's why the building is in its current condition. The diocese absolutely should sell the stained glass and anything else of value before the building is razed. And it most likely will be razed. No sensible investor or buyer will want to spend the money to repair and maintain it. It's too bad the congregation let it deteriorate to this but apparently they didn't care. Don't worship the building. Go worship God in another building.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

All valid points David.

All valid points David. However, Brian does not have the capacity to understand. Just ask Brian a simple question: Where will the money come from to restore and maintain St. Louis? He has no answer, but jumps up and down in a fit like fashion screaming the church should be saved. He is unwilling to open his own wallet to donate - that speaks volumes.

Brian Franck's picture

No, David, these are all invalid points!

You are absolutely right on one point though, Mark. I do "not have the capacity to understand" stupidity, and boy, have I seen a lot of it here coming from you and now this David Rossi! What "volume" were you referring to? I guess that I forgot to buy that book, just like Mark Gravel has no answer for me as to why he is so concerned about the fates of St. Louis and St. Joseph's Churches. Nothing is ever "simple" unless it comes from an idiot! Does that sound familiar?

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Easy question: Where does the

Easy question:

Where does the money come from?

Brian Franck's picture

Easy answer!

From you, since you only rent luxury homes!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Where does the money come

Where does the money come from to restore and maintain your art?

You do know that most art is privately own, so should your favorite church be privately owned if you want them as art.

Brian Franck's picture

Is there anything else you think about other than money?

You must be a boring conversationalist! And what about the art in museums. They are not privately "own". I think turning a former church into a museum is an excellent idea! Thanks for the suggestion, Mr. Gravelpit!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

With all your self-claimed

With all your self-claimed intelligence, I would think you know private and public owned art collections circulate through different museums. That is, all that you see in a museum is not owned by that museum. More over, not all museums are publicly owned. Drive through Bath and visit a number of those nautical museums to see what I mean.

Brian Franck's picture

I know all that stuff!

What are you lecturing me for? There are plenty of other people who know how intelligent I am. The only thing important here is that I am more intelligent than you!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

P.S. Those voices in your

P.S. Those voices in your head don't count.

Brian Franck's picture

I don't have any voices in my head!

I only have nightmares imagining what kind of "lunacy" you will come up with for your next comment!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Where are they, certainly not

Where are they, certainly not here?

Brian Franck's picture

What are you talking about?

Again, Mr. Gravel must venture into the unknown world of the bizarre!

 's picture

If you are so intelligent why

If you are so intelligent why are your rants based on emotions instead of facts?

Brian Franck's picture

I do not rant!

I speak with the utmost authority based upon the facts! It is only the lowest common denominator which declares all supporters of saving closed, decaying churches are speaking from "emotions" rather than the intellect. When you deal with "imbeciles" on a daily basis, you must sometimes "rant" rather loudly and with deep emotional fervor to get your point across, or more bluntly, into their thick skulls!

 's picture

Sounds like a rant to me.

Sounds like a rant to me.

Brian Franck's picture

If the shoe fits, wear it.

The old saying paraphrased: when dealing with that ignorant lowest common denominator then one must be willing to get his or her hands dirty and grovel with the masses. Are you admitting that you are one of those imbeciles? I certainly hope not!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Sure is not a Frack quality

Sure is not a Frack quality home....

Brian Franck's picture

No, it is a "Frick" quality-built home!

They build the best new homes in the United States.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yea, your home could use

Yea, your home could use fresh white paint, your garage is not square, and the front-yard needs some work.

Brian Franck's picture

Yea! So, are you offering to do the work, for free?

Dementia is beginning to set in. Your asinine comments are really getting bizarre!

Brian Franck's picture

Religion has nothing to do with it!

Another naysayer, anti-religious, anti-art person, that is all we need! Whenever somebody decries foul at the thought of a religious building being torn down, that individual is immediately categorized as "whiny". If we subscribe to Mr. Rossi's way of thinking, then we should celebrate and wholeheartedly support the destruction of works of art and buildings with architectural merit so as not to be labeled a "wimp".
Obviously Mr. Rossi does not get the point I was trying to make, so I will explain it a little more clearly for him. It was "local" money that paid for the construction and ongoing support of St. Louis Church, not some bureaucrat working behind a desk at the Chancery in Portland, detached, uninterested and with no material investment in its preservation. Those, whose parents or grandparents invested time, money and effort in the creation and life of this church should not accept a third party, disinterested, raping the building of its treasures for the purpose of monetary gain which will ultimately not make its way back into the local community.
We know now that Mr. Rossi is very "sensible", thanks to his telling us, and would advise anyone against buying this property. He has ascertained the facts for certain and determined that the members of the congregation "didn't care" about the building and caused it it to deteriorate by their intentional neglect. I would like to know where he got his information on that one.
Apparently it is a crime, or sin, in Mr. Rossi's book to "worship the building". Just simply go somewhere else, he says. Mr. Rossi is most encouraging and full of wisdom in his suggestions, but then, all naysayers are like that!

 's picture

I have nothing against

I have nothing against religion or art. Even though I am not a religious person I find religion to be a fascination subject to study. That's true for Greek and Norse mythology to modern cults. I like knowing what makes people tick. As for art and the St Louis church building I can appreciate the design and craftsmanship that went into that building. It is a shame that the building was allowed to decline to its current condition. Even a church has to face reality and the reality of this situation is a building like that is a money pit. Even if the church received a donation to cover the cost of the needed repairs the shrinking congregation wouldn't be able to pay for the ongoing maintenance. The people of Auburn's St. Louis church need to move on. Mr. Franck, if you decide to buy one of the stained glass windows I can restore it.

Brian Franck's picture

They have moved on!

It is the architects, art historians and other cultured individuals who will fight to keep the building intact. For my part, I want all of the stain-glassed windows to stay exactly where they are!

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr. Frack (or is it

Mr. Frack (or is it Frick?),

The answer is really simple. If St. Louis has such a high level of artistic value to you and others, group private investors to buy the church. I'm sure the Diocese will be willing to sell it to you and your group of investors.

You can worship the building all you want when you own it. Otherwise, don't expect the public to finance your hobby. After all, art is in the eye of the beholder. Moreover, money is a scarce commodity for both private individuals and the public. Money would be better spent on the living, not an object of your affection.

I challenge you to get off your ass and buy the building. Stop your whining.

Brian Franck's picture

Boy, Mark Gravel is really hot today!

I wonder what got his dander up, and I should thank him for giving back my connection to the wealthy philanthropist, Henry Clay "Frick". I have just got to visit that museum in Manhattan some day. By the way, Mark, what got you involved in this discussion? I was not addressing you. I was responding to Mr. Rossi for the same kind of asinine comments you write so prolifically. He seems to write with the same commanding authority of "useless dribble" as you do. In fact, I was wondering if you two were somehow related, perhaps a pair of "dunces".

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Mr. Frack, The connection

Mr. Frack,

The connection between you and Henry Clay Frick is mere imaginary, perhaps masturbatory based on your description.

Again, let's address one simple question - where will the money come from?

Lastly, perhaps CMMC is waiting until the whiners get focused on another moving ball before moving forward with their initial plan. That is what I hear from the inner circle.

Brian Franck's picture

I knew that you would have to bring.....

a "sexual" connotation into the discussion at some point. This only proves that you are running out of fuel for this debate and coasting on fumes. Better retire soon before you are completely out of gas! For the "money" question, you will have to read my answer above. While others will move on to the new wrecking ball location, I will keep my eyes focused on Central Maine Healthcare Corporation in case they try to pull a fast one!

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