With Baltimore-area temperatures topping 100 degrees, July 23-24 was not an ideal time to be without air conditioning. That’s exactly the predicament parishioners of Our Lady of Hope found themselves in, however, as the Dundalk faith community lost power and could not restore its church’s air conditioning even after power came back online.
Father William Franken, pastor, said the morning temperature in the empty church stood at more than 90 degrees.
“You add people to that and there wouldn’t be enough ambulances to take people away,” he said with a laugh.
Parish leaders made the best of a difficult situation – moving Masses to the air-conditioned school and transferring a scheduled baptism from the church to the convent chapel. Father Franken stood outside the church directing parishioners to the hall and Deacon Herman Wilkins posted a sign in his car to help get the word out. Signs were also posted on the church doors.
Father Franken said worshipping in the hall was nostalgic for many parishioners who remembered attending Mass in the hall decades ago before the church was built.
“I had people come up to me and say this is where they made their first Communion,” the pastor said. “I heard those types of stories.”
While air conditioning is up and running in the chapel, it was still not functioning in the church as of July 25. Father Franken is praying that it will be repaired in time for the next weekend liturgies.