Cleansing Fire

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The Irondequoit Priests (A Math Lesson)

December 5th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

What logically should be:

[Step 1] 4 active priests X 3 weekend Masses for priest per Bishop Clark’s regulations = 12 potential weekend Masses.

[Step 2] 12 potential weekend Masses + 3 “retired” priests who can reasonably be expected to contribute 1 weekend Mass per week = 15 potential weekend Masses.

What actually is:

(3 churches X 3 Masses a piece ) + Christ the King “family” Mass = 10 total Masses

Analysis:

15 potential – 10 actual = 5 weekend Masses that could be offered which are not being offered

St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome churches were closed by Fr. Tanck and the diocese largely due to a shortage of priests. With 4 active and 3 retired priests serving Irondequoit only offering 10 weekend Masses when 15 are reasonably possible raises serious questions about whether there is truly a priest shortage in Irondequoit. I think it’s clear that there is no real priest shortage. If the so-called shortage of priests was a driving force for closing these churches, shouldn’t they remain open with this configuration of priests being in place? Instead of having frequent concelebrated Masses in the merged Irondequout parish and having priests sit on their duffs, let’s restore weekend Masses at St. Thomas the Apostle and use our available priests efficiently.

Also, don’t forget that Fr. Peter Abas could have been another priest offering three weekend Masses in Irondequoit if the diocese hadn’t driven him back to Borneo with their mistreatment by using him as a pinch-hitter in random parishes.

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13 Responses to “The Irondequoit Priests (A Math Lesson)”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget the 6:30 am Masses that Fr. Robert Bradler contributes to Christ the King a couple of days during the week, who I’m sure would be able to help out at the weekend Masses.

  2. I would say that come next June, Fr. Horan will be named pastor for another church.

  3. avatar Monk says:

    And don’t forget Fr. Erdle who recently left SMM rectory. The word is that the retired priests at SMM were all told to get out of the rectory because they need the space for offices!

  4. avatar Faithful says:

    I understand your frustration. However I think it is unfair to rely on retired priests to keep parishes going, or provide mass coverage.

    When a retired priest agrees to provide Mass coverage or help out at a parish that is a gift. That priest is under absolutely NO obligation to do so, and owes that parish nothing. At any time he is free to say “I am retired. I put my time in. I worked hard. While I must offer or go to a weekend Mass, I don’t want to be roped in to a schedule. My time is my time. These problems are not my problems anymore.”

    Given this, I think things are best planned around the priests in ACTIVE ministry. I think that is the most prudent course of action, and the most fair, for it does not unfairly rely upon priests who have worked all their lives and now deserve to spend their remaining years if they want to pursuing their own interests, hobbies, etc, and not worrying about problems that are not their’s anymore. Retired means retired.

  5. avatar dmf says:

    Let’s forget about the retired priests for a moment. As Dr. K pointed out, the 4 active priests represent 12 potential weekend Masses. Right now, there are 10 which means 2 could be said at STA. (Of course, if things were equally distributed, one of the 4 CTK Masses could be moved to STA so it could have 3 total.)

    I’d like to see an objective analysis as to why keeping STA open is not in the best interest of the new Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha parish.

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    Faithful, I refer you to what dmf said. Even if you ignore the retired priests, the active priests have available Masses that could be offered at St. Thomas.

  7. avatar anonymous says:

    To faithful: retired or not retired the problems concerning Jesus and His Church are always the problems of faithfilled Roman Catholics.

  8. avatar Sfomo says:

    The snow is putting me in a bad mood, but I have to wonder about priests retiring. It’s a vocation. Do mothers and fathers retire? Husbands and wives? When there is a real need for priests and they are healthy, shouldn’t they want to continue with their vocation? Skip the administrative duties, but say Mass? I’m hoping someone will put me straight.

  9. avatar anonymous says:

    To sfomo: Those are my exact thoughts as you said. My idea of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ is a lifelong vocation that the priest should feel honored and blessed by the Lord to continue to serve Him and the people even after retirement. It was never meant to be a 9 to 5 job. A vocation is a vocation, it is your life. We have so many priests of the old days who knew what their vocation meant and served to the fullest even after their retirement, for the love of the Lord, His Church and the people. Sadly now it seems to be a half hour day job and then it’s off to the golf course. Our poor Lord.

  10. avatar Dr. K says:

    Aren’t priests strongly encouraged to offer Mass every day? Does this end when a priest reaches retirement? If no, then what is so unreasonable about a 70/1 year old priest offering one weekend Mass each week?

    The retired priests in the Irondequoit parish have been concelebrating Masses!

  11. avatar Persis says:

    Regarding Retirement~
    yes, the priesthood is a “vocation” and you retire from that as much as a mother retires from being a mother. 😉
    I know a few retired priests, and what they have “retired” from is the the “bureaucracy” of being a parish priest, with schedules and meetings and the like, and are now able to pursue their vocation in new ways. Some teach, become spiritual directors, hospice chaplins, the ministries are endless. Some of these ministries would not have priests involved at all were it not for “retired” priests.

    Now, I am not saying that retired priests should not help out, but it needs to be on their terms, not mine. And while I agree that what is happening in Irodequoit is is shameful, I think we also need to be very careful of what our expectations are, especially concerning priests who have had no say in what has happened there, but have stayed to minister to the people during their time of need.

  12. avatar Faithful says:

    Perhaps I might put it like this: “A priest never ceases to be a priest, yet it does not follow that all retired priests want to remain in active ministry.”

    It is not such a stretch to ask a retired priest (who should celebrate a Mass daily anyway) to help out with weekday Masses, or weekend Masses. My point was that I do not believe it should be expected, given their retired status, nor do I believe pastoral planning should be built around that.

    That is just my opinion. Rochester is not my Diocese, and may I remind you I am not necessarily speaking to your situation, I am speaking to an a general attitue I have encountered; an attitude which seems to expect retired priests to be everything but retired.

    You also forget that in the old days, an older priest would be made pastor of a parish of three or four assistants. In some dioceses this was considered a sort of active retirement, becasue pastors could delegate much of the work to their assistants. In short, the priest might be 80 years old and not formally retired, but practically retired.

  13. avatar Louis E. says:

    With regard to the canon I mentioned earlier that requires the church building of the oldest of a set of merging parishes to be the “head” of the merged parish,without being renamed…which parish (and building) is so distinguished for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish?

    I am not sure how closely this is observed…I note that after Hurricane Ike,the nine parishes on Galveston Island were consolidated into one,
    and the the Cathedral (website http://www.marycath.org/ ) of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston,which is among them,remains shuttered.But if anything required of Bishop Clark is not being done then the STA appellants should be aware.


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