Roscoe parishioners want Mass back at their church

January 21, 2013

On Sunday night, several members of St. Albert Mission in Roscoe and their children came to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church committee meeting carrying signs. They wanted to ask Father Charles Okonkwo why Mass was no longer given at the Roscoe Catholic church & asked that he give Mass to the parishioners once a week. (Photo: Tatiana Rodriguez)

During a regular committee meeting on Sunday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, several members of St. Albert Mission in Roscoe came into the meeting with signs and questions about their church's closure.
Several Scriptures in Spanish were written on the signs. Others read, "Reopen Saint Albert's" and "Our kids care, too." Several children also came in and also held signs. One child held a sign that read, "You shall not steal our happiness = St. Albert's Church."
When the regular meeting was over, members of the church asked to speak and wanted to ask the Father of the church, Father Charles Okonkwo, why Mass was not being given at the Catholic Church in Roscoe.
One parishioner of the Roscoe church, Maria Solis, addressed church members and the father. She stated that the people of Roscoe are not happy that Mass no longer offered at the church and that they want it back. She asked that the Father just offer one Mass per Sunday for the residents of Roscoe that attend the church. She said one per week was not too much to ask.
Solis stated that although it may be easy for some to drive all the way to Sweetwater for Mass, for others it is not. She also mentioned the children of the church not being able to attend CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes. Solis also said that church members are not even allowed to pray at the church, that it is closed.
She asked the Father to please respond to the parishioners.
Another Roscoe parishioner, Maria Saenz, also addressed the father. "There is a very low attendance at church from the people of Roscoe. It is too difficult for some of the members to make it to Sweetwater. It is hard for me to get someone to bring me to church as it is too much trouble loading my wheelchair and oxygen tank. I am begging you, please help me go to church on Sunday," she said.
Saenz stated that she only lives a block away from the church in Roscoe, and she could ride her power chair to church if Mass was once again given there.
Father Charles Okonkwo then spoke to the members of the Roscoe church. He stated that since he has been the Father in Sweetwater, Mass has not been given at the church, as it was when Father Michael Rodriguez was still the Father of the local Catholic churches that Mass stopped being given in Roscoe.
He also stated that each year, every church has to send in a practice analysis to the Diocese in San Angelo and a pastoral and finance council must be implemented in each church, meeting no less than four times a year. He said that these things must happen for a parish to continue.
Father Okonkwo told parishioners of St. Albert Mission to put their questions and concerns into writing and to bring it to the Immaculate Heart of Mary pastoral council before their next meeting, and they would be sure to get the correspondence to the Chancellor's office for review. He also stated that St. Albert Mission is not officially closed, as an official letter would have been written to the church about the closing.

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