The Honorable Daniel P. Malloy
Governor of Connecticut
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Dear Governor, Dear Mr. Malloy,
As a Stamford resident, over the years I have seen your caring work in my city and because of that, I would like to ask you to take up yet another cause. This has to do with the protection of our cultural environment, the protection of our cultural heritage.
I do not need to tell you that Connecticut was built by the hard work of the emigrants from Hungary, Poland, Italy, Ireland, Greece, etc. Among other symbols, their memory is kept alive as we dive by their beautiful churches which were built by our grandparents as they built these churches by collecting their pennies and by working weekends to build them late at night after coming home from the steel mills and other factories of Connecticut.
This letter of mine is about the Saint Emery church in Fairfield. Before coming to the purpose of my letter, let me note that America is unique in that it has been named after a saint, and thus it has a patron saint. America’s name comes from Amerigo Vespucci and it’s patron saint is Vespucci’s own patron saint, the Hungarian Prince, Saint Emery (1007~l03l) –Imre in Hungarian, Emericus in Latin, and Amerigo in Italian. So much about the name of this church.
Today, in Fairfield, in a neighborhood where the street names still carry the memory of its past residents, a Hungarian Catholic church named Saint Emery is about to be sold and will probably be torn down and replaced by a gas station or a supermarket. In a way this is understandable because the Catholic Church is in financial difficulty, the grandchildren of the builders of Saint Emery have moved away and keeping the church doors open is expensive.
This is the fate not only of this church, but of hundreds of other churches around the nation. By allowing this to happen, we are allowing part of America’s heritage to be erased, yet in my view, it is not only the Statue of Liberty should remember of our heritage, but the thousands of Saint Emery churches throughout America also.
I am writing this letter, because you know more about these things than I, you know more about what can be done, if anything? My question obviously is: Do you see a way to help? Is there a possibility for the government to sit down with the representatives of the church (their main problem is probably just operating cost, they do not want to make money on the pennies of past parisioners) and agree on a reasonable price which the community or the taxpayers could raise with the help of the government and thereby save the statues, paintings and the beautiful building itself, possibly to become a heritage museum or a cultural community center.
If you Governor (possibly with the help of our Senators and Bishops) could figure out a way to do this, the precedent of saving this one church might give an example for the whole nation and could point the way to save thousands of other churches of many fates of many religions and ethnic communities that add up to the American heritage.
Please think about this.
2011.04.28. 10:04:30 Eastern Daylight Time, David.Bahlman@ct.gov writes:
Greetings, Mr. Liptak.
Please find the attached letter in response to your email to the Governor’s office.
Hard copy will be in the mail today.
Director, Historic Preservation and Museum Division
Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer
Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism
One Constitution Plaza, 2nd Floor
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 256-2811 (fax)