November 17, 1912: Iron bars must be used to prevent the old wooden church walls from collapsing, and the people are told that Mass can no longer be celebrated in the church.
The School Hall was then used for Mass by Holy Rosary Parish for the next nine years.
(Firmly Rooted: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish in Tacoma, 1891 - 2016)
November 16, 2018:
Due to extensive water damage in the church, we are not allowed in the church building until further notice.
Weekend Masses are held in the School Auditorium.
Daily Mass is canceled until further notice.
While we hope this is a temporary situation, it's interesting that 106 years ago, on this very weekend, we found ourselves in a similar situation.
But let us as a community always remember, "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" (Matt. 18:20).
Dear Parishioners of Holy Rosary,
Since last November, when we learned that pieces of the ceiling had fallen, an all-hands-on-deck response of parish leadership, Pierce County deanery leaders and archdiocesan staff has set a course to assess the condition and safety of your beautiful church building. As part of this assessment, we have become more aware of current challenges to the vitality of your parish, including the inability of the parish to cover the cost of day-to-day operations. These realities make the situation much more than a matter of raising funds to stabilize and repair a building; in reality, they present an important opportunity to discern where you are as a parish. I would like to discuss with you my understanding of how we got where we are, and a plan going forward.
As recent news stories illustrate, many people are interested in the future of your iconic church building. There is no doubt; Holy Rosary Church is a beautiful house of God! Yet the roof, which is 25 years old, overlays an even older roof, resulting in significant water damage. Furthermore, unreinforced brick masonry used in construction a century ago has also incurred significant water damage and does not meet today’s seismic standards. These are just a few of the factors which will be shared in more detail in the coming weeks.
Holy Rosary Parish is unique historically, liturgically and in other ways, and naturally you love your church building and parish community. At the same time, your parish is confronted with what many other parishes have experienced, a dramatically changing demographic in the area it serves. These are simply the realities of our day, based on shifting economic and sociological conditions. These factors may also be why the regular income of the parish does not make ends meet and has not done so for a long time.
Going forward, archdiocesan staff will continue meeting weekly with Deacon Jim Fish. Deacon Jim will in turn meet with the finance and parish councils on a regular basis. These discussions will allow parish leadership the opportunity to thoroughly review the data regarding the condition of the building, explore options and assess any and all groups who are offering financial support for the church building. These discussions will occur through the month of April. At the end of April, Deacon Jim will meet with parish and finance councils and archdiocesan representatives to formulate feasible options for the long-term future of the building and parish. On May 15, there will be a parish-wide informational meeting to discuss the state of these deliberations.
In the meantime, I want to assure you of my prayers and support. I know that these months have been incredibly difficult and an emotionally charged time for you. It is very apparent to me that you are deeply concerned, and so am I.
Sincerely in Christ,
J. Peter Sartain
Archbishop of Seattle
We’ve been in the news a little lately: from KIRO TV to the News Tribune, to the Seattle Times. All the attention online, from blog postings to FB, have focused on the closure of the HR church building. That’s all great – but resolving that crisis is beyond us right now.
A church is not a building, it’s a group of people committed to Christ Jesus, who are hospitable, joyful, forgiving and merciful, welcoming of the stranger, inclusive, committed to justice and service with the poor, to spreading the gospel, and becoming missionary disciples of God’s kingdom, open to prayer and worship in any space - even this auditorium