Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1817).
With all that is happening in the Church, especially our Diocese, stories of hope are around us if we take the time to look for them.
One of these is the story of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Cheboygan. Sold in the 1980’s and then vacant after that for years, this former jewel of the Diocese of Gaylord was laid for waste; but not permanently.
A Catholic layman, Bill Price, took the initiative to buy and virtually singlehandedly begin to restore this Church over two years ago. Work is still underway. It took him five months just to clear out and prepare the building before any restoration could begin.
According to LifeSite News, which produced a news clip on the project, “Price said he initially approached the Gaylord Diocese about St. Charles but they responded that they weren’t interested.”
But last week, a Mass was held in the Church to recognize its resurrection. In a way, the restoration efforts of Mr. Price represent the hope necessary for the Church in the future. Absent in the celebration were any representatives of the Diocese of Gaylord. Why not? What have they done to promote this restoration? Certainly, the priest shortage in the Diocese makes opening another Church problematic, but could this building not be considered a chapel for the Diocese, possibly to be opened for certain occasions (weddings, funerals, etc.)? Is the acknowledgement and celebration of Catholicism in the history and development of northern Michigan communities not worth promoting? Instead of having clergy from the Society of St. Pius X celebrating the Mass, could there not have been representatives of the Diocese provided?
For those interested in the restoration of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Cheboygan, please note the following links which are worth watching:
A church rises from the ashes: Latin Mass returns to church abandoned by diocese in 1980s
Toast Our Town: Celebrating and Preserving Cheboygan’s Historic Landmarks