Cleansing Fire

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The People of St. Thomas Begin Their Fight

July 29th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Eugene Michael over at Rochester Catholic has posted the text of a letter that was distributed to St. Thomas the Apostle parishioners in order to raise awareness of the growing movement to fight to keep their parish open. Here is the letter, dated July 15th:

Dear Fellow St. Thomas the Apostle Parishioner,

?The most fundamental right of a parish in canon law is the right to come into existence, be acknowledged and continue in existence (c.374.1). Once a community of faith is formed and recognized it becomes a ?juridic person? which by nature is perpetual unless it is legitimately suppressed or stops all activity for 100 years (c.120.1). To be suppressed, the impossibility of continued life must be clearly demonstrated.?

In the context of the above statement, prayer, and discussion, a number of us have concluded that the diocese does not have legitimate cause to close St.Thomas the Apostle church.

? We have not had yearly financial disclosures as required by canon law.
? We have stable rental income.
? We are best situated to serve northern Irondequoit.
? We have the largest building and best parking in the Cluster.
? We are home to the gravesite of Msgr. Richard K. Burns.
? We are home to the Knights of Columbus? Memorial to the Unborn.
? We have a property that is unique and irreplaceable.

One parish may not be closed due to the financial difficulties of other parishes, or the diocese at large. In any case, we believe it is foolhardy to pursue a course of action of this magnitude and this permanent, based on the present economic environment.

We have a rich history of tradition and faith, built and maintained by the loving sacrifice of those that came before us. We feel we have an obligation to our past, and to the Irondequoit community of today and tomorrow, to stand in defense of our beloved parish.

Time is short. There are only ten days from the notification of closure within which to file an appeal. With that in mind, after prayerful discernment, the enclosed letter was sent to Bishop Clark.

Our plan is to pursue actions intended to save St. Thomas. If you would like to join our efforts, first pray, and then feel free to contact any of us.

Rochester Catholic also reports that there is a St. Thomas parish council meeting this evening. Let us hope that the council will reject the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group’s recommendation to close their parish. This largely symbolic action would reveal to the people of the diocese that this proposal is not at all supported by the parishioners of St. Thomas, despite the IPPG’s best attempts to claim that a “consensus” was reached.

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10 Responses to “The People of St. Thomas Begin Their Fight”

  1. avatar Sister Emily says:

    82 more days and we will be in the 3 digets !!!!!!!!!!

    My prayers to the people of St Thomas

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    I'm very excited about that, Sr. Emily! Soon the real countdown will begin. The days are numbered for the current administration. In less than three years we will have new leaders to try and fix the mess we're in here in the DOR. Please bless us Lord, for we have suffered much.

  3. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Prayers for the people at St. Thomas.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    When was the last time you heard that Bishop Clark went to a parish that was being considered to be closed, and ask the parishioners to go out and evangelize the neighborhood around the parish for new parishioners or raise money to keep the parish open? Never.

    Bishop Clark is wearing out the old excuses of the priest shortage, no money in the parish savings account and the roof needs to be replaced. A Catholic Courier article published about 5 years ago stated that Priests from around the world were contacting the Diocese of Rochester about the opportunity to work here.

    My closed parish has been sold twice already. The new congregation is less than a quarter of the size of our congregation, when Bishop Clark closed our parish. These new congregations don't have the financial resources to continue the ministries that we served for so many years.

    When our parish was closed, we had a Priest, 2 Deacons, 1 full time secretary, 2 full time employees for parish ministry and a part time maintenance man on the payroll. We were known as one of the poorest parishes in the City of Rochester, but we were a very "vibrant" parish. We had the largest number of children making their First Holy Communion and Confirmations in our cluster of 4 parishes.

    Bishop Clark stated in his decree in eloquent terms, that our parish was financially broke. I never believed another word that came out of Bishop Clark's mouth, after a parish council member gave me a copy of the financial report stating that we had $278,000 in the parish savings account. (two hundred and seventy eight thousand dollars)

    Bishop Clark refused to tell us about the contents of the parish safe. I happen to know that a parishioner had left the parish $65,000 in Kodak stock and a parishioner secured a savings bond for the parish.

  5. avatar St. Thomas parishioner says:

    "Bishop Clark is wearing out the old excuses of the priest shortage, no money in the parish savings account and the roof needs to be replaced."

    1. Just because there is a shortage of priests does not mean St. Thomas could at least have 1 weekend Mass per week. St. Thomas could even remain open as a mission church, couldn't it?
    2. St. Thomas has plenty of money available. Until they release financial reports saying otherwise, I have no reason to believe anything other than the IPPG is lying right to our faces because their agenda is to keep Christ the King open and make it stronger, and the expense of St. Thomad and St. Salome. Well, you know what folks? These people aren't going to Christ the King, so forget about that idea.
    3. The needed repairs to Sacred Heart Cathedral didn't result in that church being closed, but rather experience the most expensive wreckovation in diocese history.

  6. avatar Bernie says:

    It is my firm belief (no direct proof; I can only point to what appears to be the fruit of these actions) that the clustering policy and parish closings blamed on the priest shortage are all a ruse. The strategy is simply a way of totally disrupting normalcy for the purpose of replacing priests with lay leaders. The priests are more and more marginalized and relegated to mere functionaries. That is to our liberal brothers and sisters liking as it will eventually be very easy to have a non-ordained person (especially a woman) take over a mere function. All of this is simply nothing short of an all out assault on the ordained male priesthood. Be sure to get a copy of the Bishop's soon to released book on the "successful" lay leadership model used in the Rochester Diocese and then read between the lines.

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    CLEANSING FIRE!!!! Please send us another amusing video. This situation (StThomas is revolting) auick pick me up would be nice!!!!

  8. avatar Dr. K says:

    "The strategy is simply a way of totally disrupting normalcy for the purpose of replacing priests with lay leaders."

    You're not the only one, Bernie, to think that this is what's going on. I've been very suspicious, especially when the Bishop claims that the priest pastor is his preferred option, but then does not allow one to apply to certain area churches.

    The book hasn't come out yet, has it? I've been checking the Library Web site waiting to pick up a copy as soon as it appears in the directory. No way am I going to pay for one.

    ~Dr. K

  9. avatar Mary Kay says:

    Dr. K, you can get a preview, not of the book, but similar content here:

    http://tinyurl.com/n35m5r

    Mary Kay

  10. avatar Dr. K says:

    From the book: "Still another need is for structures of communion that foster recognition of lay ecclesial ministry, including a ritual for designating a person as an ecclesial minister."

    Might this ritual be the Installation Masses that we saw for Sr. Joan Sobala and Nancy DeRycke?

    Thanks for the link!

    ~Dr. K

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