Fall from grace
Re: Detroitblogger John's "Losing grace" (Metro Times, Oct. 31), I attended the closing of St. John's, and, besides attending a funeral, it was the most difficult event that I have ever been to in my life. In fact, it was a community's final funeral, and those affected lives will never be the same again.
Friends of mine were lifelong parishioners at St. John's, and it was heartbreaking to see so much history just being pushed into the ash heap.
St. John's was a vibrant and healthy community until very recently. A new priest helped to make sure that it wouldn't survive long. He reduced the number of Masses and closed the social hall, which put St. John's on the road to its premature death.
The reduced numbers of priests that the Catholic Church is facing is drastically affecting its mission, and it isn't spoken about as a root cause of the changes the church is facing. Due to the reduced numbers, they have had to place one priest over two to four parishes. The affected parishes suffer and slowly die from the lack of attention needed to keep a community alive. St. John's suffered this illness.
At St. John's, it was the central point of a dispersed community that got together at the church and social hall. Now, they can't and they won't be able to anymore. At the last Mass, the agony was apparent on everyone's face at the church. They were going through the death of their community, and the church was one of the last vestiges of community service in all of Delray.
With our suburban sprawl diluting our city and inner-ring suburbs, this closing is just the beginning of another wave of church closings. What the Catholic Church doesn't understand or want to understand is the psychological cost that this action has on its members. The Catholic Church can say that they tried to reach out to St. John through a couple of sermons right before the closing, but it was only lip service.
There are many examples nationwide of churches threatened with closure that have revived themselves and become the centers of a renewed community. The Archdiocese of Detroit had better do some more studies on how best to handle the demographic shifts under way, or they will lose a lot of disgruntled and angry former Catholics. —Arthur F. Mullen, Grosse Pointe Park
Don't pick on HIM
It has long been said that those who can't do, criticize, and your review (Spun, Metro Times, Oct. 10) is only further evidence in proving that theory. Do you really believe that people will buy or ignore a CD based solely on your opinion? Ville Valo is a brilliant lyricist, whose darkly romantic poetry (along with the musicianship of his incredibly talented bandmates) has gained his band, HIM, legions of fans around the globe, including an ever-expanding fan base here in the United States. Unlike many of the performers in this country who can't even perform their own songs live on a stage or don't even write their own material (i.e.: all the cookie-cutter, prefabricated crap with no real depth or substance on American radio that the record companies see fit to assail our ears with), Ville should be recognized as the true artist that he is. You only need to look up his name on YouTube to discover the thousands of postings and tributes to the man from HIM fans everywhere.
As far as your "Johnny Depp look-alike" comment: While I will admit that Johnny Depp is my favorite actor, Depp is nowhere near as attractive and definitely and not even remotely as sexy as Ville Valo. —Kerri-Ann Lopez, Jersey City, N.J.
Re: "Long shots" (Metro Times, Sept. 12), our son, Alex, is a junior at the University of Michigan. We found your article on the 25th anniversary of Title IX to be well-written and informative. There is no doubt Title IX has been extremely positive for women athletes — our daughter is able to compete in varsity volleyball, softball and basketball as a high school junior.
Yet, we could not read without making comparisons to the U-M men's crew team, of which Alex is a third-year member. The team is "club varsity" status, while the women are "varsity." Members pay more than $1,000 in dues per year to represent their university. They must purchase all their own uniforms and apparel; they travel in groups of five or six in minivans, making 12-14 hour drives to the East Coast and the South, and they stay on church floors, the YMCA, etc. Parents provide all the food and monies to feed the team at their race events. This is a direct result of the team only receiving 6 percent of its budget from the university. Sounds familiar? Just like those women's teams of the past!
We are told it is not out of the question that the men's team may be able to attain varsity status eventually. Of course, it will be too late for our son and all the athletes before him to receive that varsity letter. They have certainly worked hard enough and achieved enough to merit one!
Again, we enjoyed your article but wanted to provide you with "the other side of the coin" as it is in college athletics today. —Beth and Joe Kastl, Twin Lake, Michigan
Give 'em enough rope
Dolores Slowinski's review of Orly Genger's crocheted rope installations really brought her work to life for me. I now appreciate the effort expended to transform two local spaces.
I liked the mention of several other related textile exhibitions in the area too. I hope we'll be reading more about the local art scene from Dolores' unique perspective. —Jennie Williams, Marysville
Erratum: In "It's Easy Being Green" (Home Universe, Metro Times, Oct. 31) by Kelli B. Kavanaugh, we incorrectly identified a photograph. The Roffey-Danto residence in Corktown features a scenic wall created with reclaimed bathroom glass.
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