The heart of every Catholic parish is the church itself. It is a place awesome beyond compare, the very dwelling place of God and the gate of heaven on earth. We are, therefore, going to build a church and campus that reflects, reinforces, and teaches these realities.I've got to assume the sketch of a gothic style church on the page is just clip art, as farther down, actual planning of the church itself is left to Phase II in the indefinite future. Normal truth in advertising would, of course, require that some sort of statement be made that would reflect this. And the building depicted in the sketch would probably cost more than the Our Lady of Walsingham cathedral itself, since that has a definite air of cheapness about it. Compare the Episcopalian Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York:
There's another issue that's just as important, which is that Houston simply doesn't have the staff resources to supervise a project like this. The two church building projects that were built new under the Pastoral Provision, Walsingham and Our Lady of the Atonement, were supervised by dioceses that had building departments and other staff who could make sure the project was done properly. This would certainly include approved consulting firms that could ensure fundraising was properly handled and that the area population justified projects of such a size.
And it's worth pointing out that Our Lady of the Atonement currently faces financial disaster, paying for school expansion that was never justified and with a shrinking parish. And in fact, this goes to another question, Houston's apparent reliance on the Phillips model of church expansion, when Houston is simultaneously forcing Fr Phillips into the distant background himself.
What's taking place is a continuing attempt to poach diocesan Catholics with conservative liturgy, which was justifiable when Our Lady of the Atonement was a diocesan parish. But now diocesan Catholics are being told that a new "Catholic church" is going create "a place worthy of the mysteries with which we’ve been entrusted", not like St Whoosis that has Mexicans and Filipinos and such riff-raff. But the proposal in Woodlands conceals that they and their sacrificial giving are not going to their bishop or diocese. Indeed, if the smarter ones see this, they're being told with a wink and a nudge that it's OK to bypass their bishop.
My regular correspondent notes,
Somebody really wants a Catholic alternative in The Woodlands, TX. Original spin was that these are current OLW parishioners but cannot see any OCSP benefit in splitting their most successful parish unless it would enable them to poach Catholics in the new location.I think the problem we overwhelmingly see is that even the Phillips "beauty of holiness" poaching model works only mildly well when it works at all, with the Holy Martyrs Murrieta parish still stuck with a brutalist interior with HVAC ducts showing on the ceiling in a rented former health club. Other full parishes like Our Lady of the Atonement and St Luke's are clearly shrinking, while yet others are barely holding on. As they say about insanity, it's trying to do the same thing over and over expecting a different result.