St. Therese Catholic Parish
St. Therese Catholic Parish in Albuquerque’s North Valley was once the largest in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, with a holy shrine and tiled-roof church considered one of the finest ecclesiastical buildings in New Mexico.
These days, the parish on North Fourth is one of the smallest and struggles to make ends meet. It is behind on its property insurance and in debt to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, owing more than a year’s worth of Sunday collection plate assessments, according to its pastor.
Its usual fundraising efforts crippled by the COVID-19 virus, the parish has taken to holding green chile roasting events to pay bills.
But sacrifice it will, as one of more than 90 parishes grappling with the archdiocese’s request to help pay a universal settlement in its Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization.
“We have very minuscule savings at the Archdiocese Savings and Loan Program at the Catholic Center (the headquarters of the archdiocese). The Archdiocese is of course welcome to take these meager funds,” St. Therese pastor, the Rev. Vincent Paul Chávez, wrote in a letter to Archbishop John C. Wester last month.
Nearly 400 survivors who were molested as children by priests and clergy in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe have filed claims in the settlement case, which has dragged on for two years.
Even with its insurance coverage and the potential sale of millions of dollars in archdiocese property considered nonessential to its mission, Catholic parishes across northern New Mexico have been asked to determine what “sacrifices” they are able to make toward the bankruptcy burden.