Two Ulster County churches are up for sale by Archdiocese

By Jay Braman Jr.
In the latest chapter of local downsizing, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has put two area churches up for sale in the Saint Francis De Sales Parish, which covers a vast area between Highmount and Woodstock.
In January 2007 the Archdiocese announced plans for a major realignment that called for the closure of some churches, parishes and schools. St. Francis De Sales was listed as a parish that would disappear once the plan was finalized. That would have meant the closure of the main church in Phoenicia and the two mission churches, one in Boiceville and one in Allaben.
Upon hearing word of a plan to eliminate the parish, members of the congregation formed a committee to convince the Archdiocese to reconsider. Despite strong and persistent lobbying efforts by the committee, the Archdiocese decided to close the parish’s two mission churches, Our Lady of Lourdes in Allaben and Our Lady of La Sallette in Boiceville. However, it was also decided that the parish would be saved and a full complement of daily services at the Phoenicia church would be retained. This plan was put into action immediately and remains today.
At the time the decision was made there were no plans to sell the mission churches, but on Tuesday the father at Saint Francis De Sales, Phillip Tran, said the Archdiocese has changed its mind.
The Our Lady of La Sallette Church in Boiceville sits on one-and-one-tenth acres and has a list price of $179.000. The Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Shandaken sits on about three- fourths of an acre with an asking price of $129,000. The latter church was built in 1879 and is listed as one of the Town of Shandaken’s historic structures.
While no one wants to see the churches sold, Tran said his parish would at least reap some of the benefits of the sale.
“Part of the money would come back to our church,” he said. “I’m not sure what percentage though.”