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CHEBOYGAN, Michigan, July 30, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In the 17th century, French Jesuit priests like Fr. Jacques Marquette arrived in Northern Michigan and converted thousands of Native Americans to the Catholic faith. Today, towns across the region have historical markers and monuments erected in his honor.

Much like the wider Church, a crisis of faith shook the Catholic community in Northern Michigan following the Second Vatican Council. Eventually, the Diocese of Gaylord was forced to close several churches, including St. Charles Borromeo, one of the largest in the area, in the 1980s.

St. Charles, which was built in the early part of the 1900s, was eventually sold to a group of Protestants. Decades of neglect finally caught up with the building. By the mid-2000s, it had become practically unusable due to water damage and structural issues.

Bill Price, a former Marine, saw the church was listed for sale in the 2010s after he and his wife, who grew up in Cheboygan, were visiting the town. Price told LifeSite he was “inspired” to purchase the property because of what it represented to the area.

In 2019, Price purchased the dilapidated church, which can hold upwards of 500 people, for $25,000, eventually taking out a mortgage on it. Since then, he’s been essentially single-handedly restoring it to its former glory. A small group of volunteers have helped install air conditioning and other amenities.

In recent years, Price has done extensive work patching up holes in the roof to prevent further water damage. He’s also built the base of the altar, fixed the windows, and installed donated altar rails.

While financial support has generally been sparse, Price told LifeSite he’s received several donations higher than a thousand dollars, which he immediately put back into the building. There is currently a GoFundMe site to help Price pay for the restoration. (Click here if you would like to help restore St. Charles to its former glory.)

Although there remains much work to be done, including the installation of new floors and bell towers, Price announced the grand re-opening of St. Charles on Sunday, July 11. Traditional Catholics from across the state, including some from Cheboygan who attended and were married at St. Charles before it closed, responded to the announcement with much celebration.

Five choirs from various Latin Mass churches in Michigan, along with approximately 300 laypersons, attended the liturgy, which was offered by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, who in turn was assisted by several others. It was the first Latin Mass offered at St. Charles in over five decades. Price said he initially approached the Gaylord Diocese about St. Charles but they responded that they weren’t interested.

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LifeSiteNews will hand-deliver this petition to the Holy See, recording the moment traditional Catholics from around the world stood up for the Traditional Latin Mass.

Pope Francis has issued a new decree, "Traditiones Custodes," severely restricting the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition with other Catholics, and ask the Pope to reconsider this new and divisive Motu Proprio.

Pope Francis' decree clamps down hard on the TLM. In it, he effectively does away with Pope Benedict's protection of it, handing bishops in every diocese the right to suppress it, while demanding new priests get permission from their bishop and the Vatican to offer the Mass of the Ages. 

As Catholics who value Tradition and know the place of the Magisterium in safeguarding the Deposit of Faith, it is time to speak up and have our voices heard

Francis has decried rigidity and intolerance for years, but now is showing intolerance and rigidity himself by forcing his very narrow understanding of liturgy on one of the true sources of good fruit in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

Our Lord said that "a bad tree cannot bear good fruit", and yet we see more and more souls drawn to Christ through the TLM, with marriages dedicated to God and open to many children, and vocations also abounding in traditional seminaries, orders and priestly societies.

Indeed, the Traditional Latin Mass has been a source of unity for the Catholic Church for more than 1500 years, producing great saints, repentant sinners, and souls won for Christ across the world. *Read below how Benedict XVI decried attacks against the TLM and its adherents.

To attempt to restrict the Traditional Latin Mass, as a new generation are rediscovering the treasures of God's Church, will inevitably cause further division and hurt among the faithful, risking the loss of some souls who will regretfully turn away

Souls are now at stake with this Motu Proprio, as some will drift away from the Deposit of Faith in disillusionment, while others that are far from God will never be touched by the profound beauty and reverence found in the Traditional Latin Mass. 

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition to Pope Francis, urging him to reconsider his decision, not least for the good of souls and the glory of God, and making sure as many cardinals support the TLM as possible. 

Click "Show Petition Text" on the right to read the letter to Pope Francis.

Finally, please pray, fast and do penance for the salvation of souls, including that of our shepherds, during this turbulent time in Church history.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'BREAKING: Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict’s universal permission for Old Mass' - www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-abrogates-pope-benedicts-universal-permission-for-old-mass

'ANALYSIS: Pope restricts ‘divisive’ Traditional Latin Mass, says 52-yr-old Novus Ordo is ‘unique expression’ of Church’s liturgy' - www.lifesitenews.com/news/analysis-pope-restricts-divisive-traditional-latin-mass-says-52-yr-old-novus-ordo-is-unique-expression-of-churchs-liturgy

* Pope Benedict XVI (Spirit of the Liturgy, 2000):

"For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in valid use up to 1970 [the older Latin Mass] should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church’s whole past. How can one trust her at present if things are that way?"

**Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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Fr. William Kimball told LifeSite that the restoration of St. Charles is similar to the restoration to the church as a whole, explaining that the building is still marred by decades of poor treatment and that it has scars from the past, but that it’s still the Bride of Christ and that God will restore it in due time.

College student Erika Grondin, who attends a Latin Mass in Grand Rapids, which is nearly four hours from Cheboygan, drove to St. Charles with her boyfriend Xavier Webster for the Mass. Her father had been baptized at the church as an infant. She told LifeSite she “had to come” to the re-opening because of what it meant to her family, as well as what it means for tradition.

“During COVID, it became clear the mainstream church viewed the sacraments as disposable. I hope more young people will see the sacrality of the Latin Mass and appreciate the effort these priests are making to bring the faith to us during these times.”

Price said he’s excited about the possibility of other priests who want to say the Latin Mass coming to St. Charles. He had special praise for Fr. James Altman, who he said is more than welcome to visit St. Charles any time, as well as all priests who defend the Latin liturgy.

If you would like to help complete the restoration of St. Charles Borromeo, there is currently a GoFundMe page setup. Click here if you would like to help restore St. Charles to its former glory.

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