Mailbag 23: Fans and Foes

The Project has had a high profile as of late, thanks in part to Inga Saffron's coverage of us. That means the old mailbag has been extra busy, and the e-mails are all over the place.

Mostly good, of course, such as from new fan Richard Binder:

I can't believe that I only discovered this today, thanks to Inga Saffron's article in the Inky. I've just spent hours going through your reviews and taking a virtual tour of churches that I've only seen in passing and wondered about. Member of St. Vincent's in Germantown and really thank you for your coverage of the edifices in that area....
...Of the churches you've covered thus far, I'm really impressed with your scope. For those few that I had some knowledge of, I think your reviews are dead on. Like Inga's column, I think you're doing an important service here. Churches have always defined the landscape for me, rural or urban. They truly are the most beautiful structures in most environs, and their losses are our losses.

Well put, sir, and thank you for the kind words. Germantown may very well be the greatest single neighborhood for churches in the city.

Or take this interesting idea from "NBT:"

This is a great site and I got a lot a chuckles from reading it. You must have gone to parochical school....Do you ever think of doing stand up.. you would be great.

Sadly, church humor is unappreciated in most mainstream clubs. The funny bones of John Q. Citizen and John Q. Churchgoer are very, very different.

Of course, this also means the wackadoos are coming out of the woodwork. Witness this gem from "Crotchety Old Lady of The Week" Rosemarie Colantuono:

I find your review of St Donato's Church disgusting. There are more people who come back to attend Mass who live in the suburbs than who live in the surrounding area. I have been a member of St Donato's since my Baptism Day July 1953. My mother recently moved from "the block" after living there for almost 60 years and the only reason she moved was because we had to downsize. It killed her to move from the block.
In September 2010,St Donato's Church celebrated 100 years as a parish. The Church was packed with standing room all the way up both side aisles. They had to turn people away.You should attend Mass on Christmas, Easter, or Holy Thursday when the Catholic traditions are very moving....and the Church is packed.
Father Buccafurni is doing a great job considering how small the parish has become.
Keep your small minded opinions to the richer Churches if you want to brag. I come from the suburbs at least 3 out of 4 weekends to attend Mass.

Either composition theory isn't your thing, or you should ask for a refund on that St. Donato parochial school education, because I'm not really sure what your beef is.

She's apparently mad because...we said the parish was small? Like it or not, it's true.

The parish does have attendance issues. On that point, it doesn't particularly matter where the parishioners come from, or that the church is packed on holidays and special occasions. The average attendance--the people who come week in and week out--is all that matters, especially where the Archdiocese is concerned, and that number is painfully low and continues to drop. She herself even admits it's a small parish, so why get mad at us for reporting information that is publicly available to anyone who wants it?

For what it's worth, though, a piece of advice, Rosemarie: you might want to do a little research before you flame someone's inbox without cause. If you'd spent any time at all on our site, you'd see that we love poorer parishes and abhor richer ones.

That's because, generally speaking, the parishes that do without are friendlier, more welcoming, and far more passionate. That experience is repeated time and time again in our reviews, which you would have seen if you'd bothered to check. Sadly, St. Donato was not one of them, but that's not our fault.

The Project brags about nothing. We have no home parish and are not on anyone's payroll. We simply chronicle these places, generate discussion and talk about what we see. There is nothing small-minded about what we do. There is something small-minded, however, in believing one's parish to be perfect and beyond reproach or constructive commentary.

(All of that for a church that we actually recommended. Yeesh.)