To Save the Saint Emery Church of Fairfield

The Honorable Daniel P. Malloy

Governor of Connecticut

State Capitol
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.

Béla Lipták


2011.04.28. 10:04:30 Eastern Daylight Time, 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.

 Best wishes.

David Bahlman

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) 256-2754

(860) 256-2811 (fax)

GOVERNOR’s LETTER St Emery’s Church, Fairfield

About Liptak

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Béla Lipták was born in 1936 in Hungary. As a Technical University student, participated in the revolution against the Soviet occupation, escaped and entered the United States as a refugee in 1956. In 1959 he received an engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, in 1962 a masters degree from CCNY and later did graduate work at Pratt Institute. In 1960, he became the Chief Instrument Engineer of Crawford and Russell, where he led the automation of dozens of industrial plants for over more than a decade. In 1969 he published of the multi-volume Instrument and Automation Engineers’ Handbook, which today is in its 5th edition. In 1975 he received his professional engineering license and founded his consulting firm, Béla Lipták Associates PC, which provides design and consulting services in the fields of automation and industrial safety. Over the years he lectured on automation at many universities around the world, including Yale University, where he thought automation as an adjunct professor in 1987. His inventions include the transportation and storage of solar energy and the design of safe nuclear reactors. His over 50+ years of professional experience included the automation of several dozen industrial plants, the publication of over 300 technical articles ( and of over 20 books, all dealing with the various aspects of automation, safety and energy technology. ( In 1973 he was elected an ISA (International Society of Automation) fellow, in 1995 received the Technical Achievement Award from ISA and in 2001 “Control Hall of Fame” award. He was the keynote speaker at the 2002 and the 2011 ISA conventions and in 2012 received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the International Society of Automation.
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