[StBernard] letter to the editor re: St. Marks

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Sun Sep 27 10:34:58 EDT 2009

I was reading some of the letters and saw this one. I wasn't a part of that
parish and am not sure what the original letter writer wrote, but here is a
reply from Fr. Lomax:

Pastor responds

By Letters to the Editor

September 27, 2009, 1:20AM

I was pastor of St. Mark Church in Chalmette from April 1976 to March 2006.
Please allow me to address some of letter writer's James F. Phillpott's

That St. Mark had raised almost $1 million to upgrade our church: Our plans
for a campaign to raise money for a new church were shelved in 2001. The
accounts were posted in church every year for parishioners to inspect. There
was no fund with $1 million to build a new church.

That test pilings were driven before Hurricane Katrina, and construction was
to be started within weeks: There were no test pilings or plans for

That insurance money and Road Home aid to rebuild St. Marks building was
applied for and given to the archdiocese: We had no flood insurance. There
was some money from wind damage, but this was minor.

As the dean, I prepared a report and submitted it with the recommendation
that St. Marks be closed.

I hope Mr. Phillpott and others will understand that the actions of the
archdiocese were right and generous in providing pastoral care.

The quick restoration of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church and School, which
now serve the area formerly served by St. Mark's, is a blessing for the
Catholic community in St. Bernard Parish.

The Very Rev. Mark Lomax, V.F.

Archdiocese of New Orleans

East St. Tammany -

Washington Deanery

Faithful are feeling neglected
By Annette Sisco
September 16, 2009, 3:47PM
As a practicing Catholic and a product of 12 years of Catholic education, my
faith has been severely battered by the actions of my former archbishop. I
look to the promise of my new New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond to right
the wrongs in St. Bernard Parish.

Before Katrina, St. Mark Parish in Chalmette had raised almost $1 million to
upgrade our church. Test pilings were driven and construction was to be
started within weeks.

After Katrina, St. Mark Parish was disbanded without notice. Insurance money
and Road Home aid to rebuild St. Mark's buildings was applied for and given
to the archdiocese. This money went to a parish outside of St. Bernard.

Four other major Catholic churches were demolished by FEMA. Our one
remaining Catholic church is led by one priest. Before Katrina, there were
14 priests in St. Bernard Parish. Have we been downgraded to a mission? Have
we not suffered enough?

Our faithful Mass attendance is increasing. According to Post Office
figures, two-thirds of the population has returned. Our children's needs are
not being met. We need guidance before the waves wash us away.

James F. Phillpott


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