This letter is my final attempt to hopefully change the fate of Ste. Anne’s Church. I am not very optimistic of making a difference but it is still not too late to try. I would consider it to be my final play, kind of my “Hail Mary” pass. Will it be caught? I pretty much doubt it.

The church is not “just a building,” as stated by the diocese. It is a very important place of worship for so many people.

During the Feast of Sainte Anne, busloads of pilgrims would come to pray for miracles in their lives, asking for Ste. Anne to intercede for them with novenas, prayers and sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. Some came to thank her for the help they received throughout their lives when all hope was gone and when they felt abandoned. These visits gave them the strength to continue and brought them through their faith, back to believing.

The church, as we all know, has been in need of repairs for over 20 years. At that time it could have been an easy and cost effective solution compared to what we have to contend with now. Instead it was neglected and not important to those who were in the position to help. Now we are faced with estimates of millions of dollars to correct a situation that should have never been. A little care and interest could have eliminated 20 years of ruin. Why didn’t anyone have the strong faith of all the people who came here?

Today we are told by the bishop and all the committees that St. Anne’s is no longer a parish that can support itself. There is just no money. It can’t continue. We must close. This too was brought on again by the diocese’s leaders, who had all the answers. They closed our school and with that destroyed the future of our parish. All the young parents and the children no longer came. For years now we haven’t had the support of the young and enthusiasm of people that once made us a strong community. We are now a parish for the old and tired. Can we afford to continue? I don’t know, but we are all willing to try.

Why couldn’t we continue in the lower church while plans are explored to correct the mistakes of the past? With a minimum investment the roof could be fixed keeping the weather from causing any further damage. This might work if given a chance.

To Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Bishop Edgar da Cunha, along with all our other clergy and educated consultants: Where is your faith? We all know you have more important areas in the church to contend with at this time than “just a building."

John J. Chicca

Fall River