A Sunday school lesson in mortgages

The spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.


Doug Krizner: New York hasn't escaped the mortgage crisis unscathed. Parts of the city are experiencing rates of default and foreclosure as high as any in the country.

The government's not helping much, so the Catholic Church is stepping in.
Parishes are adding Sunday school lessons in mortgage finance to their weekly masses.
Jill Barshay reports.

Jill Barshay: The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn started holding its new "Housing Crisis" workshops yesterday.

Monsignor Alfred LoPinto is the vicar for human services:

Alfred LoPinto: Between Brooklyn and Queens, we're anticipating in excess of 10,000 possible foreclosures before this year is out. We're very concerned about that because of the impact it has -- not only on the homeowner, but on the homeowner's family and the community at large.

Priests won't deliver this sermon. LoPinto's brought in outside housing experts. They'll teach parishioners how to modify their mortgages before the foreclosure notices arrive.

LoPinto: The idea is to use the churches and making it as convenient as possible by having them right during the Sunday services.

That followed complaints by church officials that their neighborhoods could revert to the urban blight of the 1980's.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.


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