The last mass: La Milagrosa will close its doors Sunday

Parishioners from La Milagrosa fight to keep their parish open. (Credit: Charles Mostoller, Metro)
Parishioners from La Milagrosa fight to keep their parish open. (Credit: Charles Mostoller, Metro)

La última misa está aquí. The last mass is here.

Latino church La Milagrosa is slated to close its doors Sunday after desperate pleas, vigils and legal representation apparently haven’t been enough to stop the sale of the more than 100-year-old church.

“We’re coming down to the end of our fights,” said 20-year parishioner Miguel Ortiz. “And it seems like we’re losing it.”

Ortiz is helping to lead the committee “Salvemos La Milagrosa” that are making one last plea to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to save the church.

“It has been very emotional,” Ortiz said, who’s been outside the church with a dedicated group of parishioners every day for a week, praying.

La Milagrosa at 1903 Spring Garden St. has been owned by the Vincentian Fathers since 1912, according to Kenneth Gavin, communications director of the Archdiocese. Last fall, the Archdiocese found out the Fathers planned to sell La Milagrosa. Since the Archdiocese never owned the building, Gavin said, they could not prevent the sale.

Ortiz however said he thinks the Archdiocese could have stepped up to either work to stop the sale or buy it.

“The Cathedral parish is not really thinking about their parishioners,” Ortiz said. “They are just thinking about the closing of the building.”

Gavin has said the Archdiocese cannot afford the building due to its “well-known financial challenges.”

Despite community efforts by Ortiz and dozens of others, La Milagrosa’s last mass is scheduled for Sunday morning. But big questions still loom. If La Milagrosa’s sale is out of the hands of the Archdiocese, why won’t they meet with the committee to hear concerns? Why have the locks of the chapel been changed? And, why is the Archdiocese planning on selling the chapel artifacts?

The latter question is a big concern for Ortiz, who said he was told last month the parish agreed the community would get the chapel’s artifacts. Ortiz just found out the Archdiocese would get the artifacts.

“The vast majority of the artifacts will be taken to the Cathedral parish (Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Race Street in Center City),” Gavin said.

When a church building closes, Gavin added, the archdiocese distributes religious artifacts to other churches in the Archdiocese. For the remaining items, an open house is held for priests who may want them in their churches.

“It’s policy they don’t go into private hands,” Gavin said, adding it’s entirely possible Ortiz was misinformed.

As far as the chapel doors being locked, Gavin said he wasn’t aware of door locking outside of the normal security measures.

But the biggest question that is on Ortiz’s mind is what would have happened if he and others stepped in earlier. Would the sale have been prevented?

“Maybe the story would have been different,” he said. “It’s happening because I guess it was meant to happen. Maybe this is going to bring something more powerful.”

After Sunday’s last mass at Milagrosa, parishioners there can attend the Cathedral starting June 30, when a Spanish-speaking priest will hold Mass.

“It’s sad it’s coming—the 23rd will be the last day,” Ortiz said. “I’m sure it’s going to be very emotional.

Through all of this though, Ortiz hasn’t lost his faith.

“My faith in God is becoming stronger but my faith in man is down the drain,” he said. “We’re fighting man, not God.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.