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Three church properties in Auburn have been put up for sale by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.

Holy Family Church School and St. Alphonsus Church School and Rectory were listed as part of the Diocese’s Pastoral Plan, an ongoing effort to shore up its resources in the Auburn region in response declining church attendance, shortage of priests and other parishes. life trends.

The plan was announced by Bishop Salvatore Matano, who last August asked local parishes to “divest of unnecessary properties and use only those facilities necessary to meet the religious, pastoral and spiritual needs of the faithful.”

Both schools were listed by Clare Real Estate, which posted signs in front of them. Auburn Catholic Church officials confirmed they and the parsonage were for sale, but declined to comment further.

St. Alphonsus School, formerly St. Joseph School, is listed at $790,000. The 46,812 square foot school located at 89 E. Genesee St. was built in 1949 and served as St. Alphonsus School until it merged with Sacred Heart and Holy Family Schools in 1973 to form the school Blessed Trinity. In 1996 the school merged with St. Mary’s School and was renamed St. Joseph. The diocese closed the school in June 2020 due to declining enrollment and financial difficulties.

Among the school’s most distinct features is a 1950s-style soda fountain in its basement that St. Alphonsus Parish has attempted to raise funds to restore in recent years.

According to a 2021 report by a local pastoral planning committee, a building condition survey revealed that the school’s roof and windows needed to be replaced, which would cost approximately $1,098,000.

Bishop Salvatore Matano placed the fate of Auburn’s Catholic churches in the hands of their parishes.

A listing for St. Alphonsus Rectory at 10 S. Lewis St. could not be found online. According to Cayuga County property records, the total market value of the two-story, 8,594-square-foot building is $604,700.

Holy Family School, meanwhile, was listed for $299,000. It opened in 1928 after the original schoolhouse, which opened as the original Holy Family Church in 1834, was struck by lightning and caught fire. The school at 85 North St. closed in the early 1970s and has since served as an emergency homeless shelter, community event space and alternative place of worship for the church.

According to the Pastoral Planning Committee report, replacement of the roof at Holy Family School is “urgent”, drainage is “a major concern” and insulation needs to be added. The masonry of the building, including its cast stone and lintels, has deteriorated over the years due to water infiltration. Inside the building, the finishes are “in poor condition”.

The report also states that all proceeds from the sale of real estate owned by the Catholic Church, and any additional remaining financial assets, are retained by the surviving local parish.

It is not certain that the three properties are the only local ones offered for sale by the diocese. Matano’s original announcement asked the pastoral planning committee to recommend the closure of churches in the area. After a long period of review, the committee recommended closing St. Alphonsus along with St. Francis of Assisi and Holy Family in Auburn, and St. Joseph in Weedsport.

However, over the objections of local parishioners, the bishop refused to order any churches closed for the time being. Instead, he asked parishioners to divest of “unnecessary properties” and present those efforts to the diocese by September 1.


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