Cleansing Fire

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Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me–Part VII–The Off-Key Shepherd

April 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris
This entry is part 7 of 21 in the series Zeal for Thy House

In Part VI, we described Fr. Robert Ring’s efforts to raise $30,000 from St. Jan’s parishioners, and the mis-attribution that such fund raising was required by the Wegmans (untrue) to supplement their donation (untrue) of $270,000 to $300,000 (untrue) for an altar/sanctuary memorial to Bob Wegman (untrue). However, at the time of the fund raising it would still be 7 months before parishioners would know the truth. In Part VI, we also described the definitive work of a parishioner group (which produced survey results consistent with a prior newsletter survey),  proving that the ratio of parishioners in opposition to the Sanctuary Renovation to those in favor was approximately 3:1 against. That careful parishioner survey work was also validated by an outside consultant.

Meanwhile through summer 2010 and into the fall, the “Concerned Parishioners” and the Newsletter It Really Matters continued efforts to expose the truth.  This Part VII summarizes some of what was written in the newsletter, and illustrates some of the work that might be taken on in a community when its shepherding fails, or is terribly misaligned to (i.e. out of tune with) the flock.  Hate the architecture or love it, but please at least respect it means so much to those who have worshipped there  and supported their church for so many years.

Here are just a very few of the articles and actions over summer 2010.  First, in June 2010, there was clarification in the Newsletter that what was being said misrepresented the USCCB’s “liturgical requirements.” That article in Vol. 5 #6 said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                One member of St. Jan’s, JH, took the initiative to interview parishioners about their feelings about the proposed Sanctuary demolition/renovation, and shared his results which we publicized in It Really Matters. We were also told that Fr. Bob Ring did not receive well this input.  He refused to consider the comments without the names of those who commented but, because of what had happened with the mis-use of the mandater list six months earlier, Fr. Ring was not trusted with those names. 

 

We also wrote about the basic flaw of cluster pastoral council decisions:

“The debacle of the Parish Council vote to change the sanctuary at St. Jan’s is a prime illustration of what is wrong at Parish Council, especially Parish Council for a Cluster.  A Parish Council is only advisory to a pastor anyway.  It’s not as if they have any power.  But those who take a seat at the table do have a responsibility, and that is not just to rubber stamp what the pastor wants.  He still has the power to do what he wants, but that doesn’t entitle parish council members to avoid doing their homework, listening, speaking the truth and realizing the responsibility they have to other parishioners.  Otherwise, when all is said and jack-hammered, the pastor can always say that no one on the rubber stamp council ever objected.  It might be true.  For the most part, they are his hand-picked “me-too-ers.”

 

Then we wrote about “The Real Tragedy” and how the misuse of funds to remove cement steps flies in the face of a true sense of priority, especially considering the plight of Catholic Schools:

 

Over the intervening months, many points of argument appeared, all to be ignored and the people to be “lorded over”  by the powers that be.  In concern for the scandal of such a waste, and for the greater need, we wrote:

All input from newsletters, surveys, petitions, and quiet / respectful parishioners beseeching for pastoral care were again ignored, as rights were trampled in another headlong thrust to spend other people’s money, to do unnecessary damage, to deeply divide community.  That has been the track record of the pastorate so far, and it was still going to be.  The only thing missing was Bishop Clark’s anointing of the irresponsible behaviors of a shepherd in effect singing off key, or at least in a different key than what most of his flock were baa-humbuging.  The anointing was yet to come.

In the next installment, we’ll revisit what Bishop Clark had to say, when implored by parishioners not to let this travesty occur.  And we will see the persistence of excuses, not reasons, for the damage being done to a House of God.

As of this writing, the jackhammers have  arrived, and the side “shrines” by a local artist have already been destroyed, dragged off for someone to use in his or her garden.  The organ is still there, covered.  We hope when the cover is taken off that it will still be there, and concrete-dust free and unaffected.  La Bella still doesn’t have a building permit, but it has a demolition permit, and perhaps that is what it is all about anyway. 

It calls us all to contemplate what kind of pastor, after nearly 10 years of his pastorate, does this to his own people 73 days before he leaves, destroying their Sanctuary and place to worship in time for Holy Week and Easter?  May God have mercy on his  soul. 

And may the next shepherd have a heart attuned to the flock, and a voice which they can trust and follow. 

Series Navigation<< Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me – Part VI –Truth and ConsequencesZeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part VIII — ‘By the Letter’ >>

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4 Responses to “Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me–Part VII–The Off-Key Shepherd”

  1. avatar Salt says:

    Weak men.

  2. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Prayers for the people of St. Jan’s. Diane, thanks for your relentless work to get the story out.

  3. avatar Dew says:

    Young men do not aspire to be men such as this. They are not good examples and are worse. They seek obedience and throw their weight to require it, when they themselves do not display this obedience they seek of others. They say ‘my calling is to the poor’ when they gorge themselves with the vanity and materialism of nonnesessity ie. the cathedral. They rationalize the polls show this and the numbers show this so we must do this. Then hence, Diane’s package, and St Thomas, ect, etc. It shows the hypocritcal nature that cannot fully be hid. The young and old see this. They are more like maneuvering politicians carving out this or that district to assure this or that outcome. They chuckle at this, eat and exchange honors and awards, etc, etc. Young men do not look up to men like this nor seek to be in their company for such a high calling. They recognize the phoniness and double talk from their childhood games and laugh because they know it’s bankrupt. Obedience my child? They couldn’t look him in the eyes and ask without guile or a grin. Wisdom is known by her children. What you see is men and women acting like a pack with their leader in a rebellious house. He pays them off so they can thrive for their self-interests and personal ambitions. He knows this. They know this. However much they rationalize or intellectualize around these deeds, they are vexed. They are esteemed and flattered for how creatively and subtly pull this or that off. The multitude of staged photos the bishop has plastered of himself in front of this youth or that child is ghastly superficial and rings hollow. The image factory at Buffalo Rd cannot hide what is under the veneer, the children know it in their heart of hearts. He reveals it to babes. They are not drawn to them. The children do not want to play around him. He can’t claim to say, “suffer the children.” They are not that kind of men. Pray for yourselves.

  4. avatar Eliza10 says:

    You are right, Dew. I second what you say, especially surmised in these comments of yours:

    “They seek obedience and throw their weight to require it, when they themselves do not display this obedience they seek of others.”

    “They say ‘my calling is to the poor’ when they gorge themselves with the vanity and materialism of nonnesessity ie. the cathedral.”

    “They are more like maneuvering politicians carving out this or that district to assure this or that outcome. They chuckle at this, eat and exchange honors and awards, etc, etc.”

    “…What you see is men and women acting like a pack with their leader in a rebellious house. He pays them off so they can thrive for their self-interests and personal ambitions. He knows this. They know this. …”

    “…They are esteemed and flattered for how creatively and subtly pull this or that off. ”

    “…The multitude of staged photos the bishop has plastered of himself in front of this youth or that child is ghastly superficial and rings hollow. The image factory at Buffalo Rd cannot hide what is under the veneer, the children know it in their heart of hearts. He reveals it to babes. They are not drawn to them. The children do not want to play around him….”

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