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Comment on "Public Notice Regarding Historic Review of the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, 5500 Paris Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana with linked PDF attachments "
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Name: Name redacted at the request of the author
City: not provided
Cabrini, 5500 Paris Avenue, 70122
Comments: Subject: Minutes of June 28 meeting concerning SFC parish

To: St. Frances Cabrini Parishioners and School Families (from Jan. 2006 reunion)

Cc: Most Reverend Alfred C. Hughes, Archbishop of New Orleans
Very Reverend Neal McDermott, O.P., Executive Director, Dept. of
Christian Formation
Reverend William Maestri, Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools
Dr. Judy Mulla, Deputy Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools

Members of SFC Pastoral Council and SFC Finance Council were called on Friday, June 23, to attend a meeting on Wednesday, June 28, concerning the future of St. Frances Cabrini parish. Following are minutes from the meeting from notes taken by Michael Foltz, Pastoral Council member.

Please share this information with other St. Frances Cabrini families that did not attend the Jan. 15 reunion at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish. Please send these additional persons' current contact information to us so that we may expand on our database.

Any comments, please reply to Michael Foltz at this email address. Your comments will be directed to the appropriate parties for consideration.
Meeting Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Meeting called by: Archdiocese of New Orleans
With: St. Frances Cabrini Pastoral Council
St. Frances Cabrini Finance Council

Topic: Proposal by Holy Cross High School

Presenters: Fr. Neal McDermott, O.P.,
Executive Director, Department of Christian Formation
Fr. William Maestri,
Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools
Dr. Judy Mulla
Deputy Superintendent, Office of Catholic Schools

Cabrini present: Dr. Frank Incaprera, Winston Falgout, Aloma Lykes, Roy Winand, Leatrice & Lloyd Coleman, Greg & Maureen Wright, Michael Foltz, Theresa Connick, Ray Augustin, Fred & Rosemary Favalora


(The presentation which follows was presented to this representative group from SFC as a preliminary gauge of acceptance of a proposal by Holy Cross High School. Fr. McDermott indicated that there would be subsequent meetings before everything is finalized. The Archdiocese and the Office of Catholic Schools were trying to see if the parish could come to a favorable consensus regarding this proposal.)

Holy Cross High School is interested in purchasing the land where Redeemer-Seton High School and St. Frances Cabrini Parish is situated.

Holy Cross does not want SFC parish suppressed.

They would maintain their current program of grades 5-12.

Holy Cross would build a gymnasium first which would double as church on weekends that would hold 1200-1500 people. Then other buildings would come online afterwards.

Their old campus was about 20 acres, which is the same area as RS and SFC. The City of New Orleans has talked about giving Holy Cross the street in between (they would then have an L-shaped campus), with egress to cars from Prentiss Avenue to provide access to Cabrini Court.

Holy Cross is currently operational in temporary buildings on their original site, but the area around them isn?t doing anything ? at this stage they are losing students. Redeemer-Seton/Cabrini site is a more likely site to develop than in the Lower Ninth.

For the upcoming school year Holy Cross would move into the upper floors of Redeemer-Seton and rebuild part of downstairs as a temporary campus while demolition of SFC buildings is taking place.

Truax &Truax appraisers were sent by the Archdiocese to appraise SFC and Redeemer-Seton but they could not give a valuation.

Fr. Maestri said that a $1 million figure was used as the price of the land (same figure proposed for land purchase in Kenner) ? otherwise there is the possibility that the City of New Orleans could devalue the property to a lesser figure and there would be a loss right off the bat. Proceeds of the sale would be divided between R/S and SFC.

Fr. Maestri stressed again what Holy Cross said ? they don?t want to lose SFC as a parish (they don?t want to see it suppressed) ? and to show good faith they would build another church for SFC on the corner of Prentiss and Paris Avenues. The church building probably would be downsized to 600-900 capacity. Because there would be a church, the parish would need to have a parish center and a separate rectory. Holy Cross would purchase land across the street as land became available and build the two additional parish buildings. Holy Cross would own the buildings and SFC would maintain them.

The question was asked if this situation had ever happened before - where a school owned church parish buildings (usually the other way around).
Answer: No, but for impetus of revitalizing the parish and area, it would have to be done in this order rather than the traditional way.

Father McDermott stressed the point that, as schools reopen in an area, that area experiences revitalization. With St. Mary?s Academy at St. James Major and Holy Cross at R-S/SFC the archdiocese is hoping that the presence of these schools will encourage revitalization of the whole area.

(SFC group talked privately (without archdiocesan officials present) for about 20 minutes and came up with the following questions, mainly about parish responsibilities and finances, which were proposed toward the end.)

What happened to parish debt?
Fr. McDermott said ?whatever you had you still have?

Couldn?t give direct answer ? but again, ?whatever had, should still have.?

School endowment?
?Should still be there.?

(He will ask Peggy LeBlanc, former principal of St. Frances Cabrini School.)

He said audits are done every year in February, so can go back to
the one from Feb. 2005 and find out.

Possibility was brought up that the refunds the school had to disburse due to Katrina could have come from the endowment fund.

(Again, a question for principal.)

As a graduate of Redeemer and former school board member of Redeemer-Seton, Ray Augustin asked what would happen to Redeemer-Seton students? Fr. McDermott said the boys would be able to apply to Holy Cross, Brother Martin, Jesuit and the African-American girls could apply to St. Mary?s Academy.

Why tear down the church?
Because of all the things wrong with it, it would not be economically

Who was invited to this meeting?

Fr. McDermott said they were trying to get in touch with pastoral and finance councils, but anyone who was in any of the parish organizations could have come. Was told of list obtained from gathering at the January 2006 Reunion Mass.

Suggested that to help show SFC is striving to be a viable parish, we should be meeting more often ? suggested contacting Msgr. Doskey at St. Pius or Fr. Cisewski at St. Leo and scheduling - at a minimum - a monthly Mass for SFC parishioners. This would get SFC parishioners meeting regularly and talking face-to-face. This is being done with some other parishes. These Masses would be dedicated to SFC parishioners.

Holy Cross would be spending $26-28 million to develop the school and SFC parish. They would not be spending that money if they did not expect the area to rebound.

SFC parishioners will be a mix of current parishioners and the families of Holy Cross.

When SFC has built up enough the Archdiocese could than appoint a pastor, either a diocesan priest or an order priest.

McDermott said he would talk to Archbishop Hughes about having Deacons Martinez or Rizzo (Deacons assigned to Cabrini pre-Katrina) appointed as administrators.

Sacred items in the church ? responsibility? Answer: Archdiocese.

SFC representatives expressed the wish that when the new church is built, the altar and statues recoverable from the old church should be used in the new SFC church.

When will the Archdiocese take care of what was in the church?
Didn?t have an answer ? 32 churches in same predicament.

(Michael assumes it is a combination of lack of manpower and money).

Question raised concerning parishioners helping to clear the church ?
Answer: not an option with the conditions in the church and school.

Fr. Maestri and Fr. McDermott stressed again the importance of trying to create footholds in different areas of the city using the schools as a draw to help grow the city.

Wanted to know consensus ?
The group thought it was viable project and that the Archdiocese should proceed with contacting Holy Cross.

When Holy Cross approached archdiocese, they already had sketches of placement of all buildings on the new campus.

This meeting was cordial.

The Office of Catholic Schools was trying to figure out what SFC position would be to this proposal. When whole proposal was explained, it made sense.

Respectfully Submitted by:

Michael V. Foltz, Pastoral Council member

June 29, 2006