Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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“She’s Not the Only Lay Administrator”

September 27th, 2009, Promulgated by Gen

Thus was the claim of an anonymous commenter a while back in response to one of the stories about Sr. Joan Sobala. I thought it time to share with you an experience a friend had at St. Thomas More. He has asked for anonymity, and I will respect his wishes.

Below is his story:

I was asked to serve a benediction for a local prayer society, and St. Thomas More was selected for its location and size. We all knew that Mrs. Margaret Ostromecki was (and is) the administrator there, and that, while not as liturgically-flawed as other administrators, was still in the same boat.

The first indication that something was wrong was that she was supposed to arrive at the church at 7:00 to open up the sacristy, give us the key for the tabernacle, get out the monstrance etc . . . Well, she didn’t show up until about 7:45, when we were half way through a “prayer service” sans benediction. Since I was serving, I could clearly see into the sacristy. When I looked up for a moment, I saw a woman standing in the doorway waving me towards her. So I got up and followed.

When I got into the sacristy, she didn’t bother to introduce herself. The first thing she said was, “What do you guys need for benediction?” I told her that we needed the monstrance, the key to the tabernacle, a humeral veil, the thurible, incense, charcoal and the book containing the various prayers for benediction. Well, it was not going to be that simple. First, she got out the book and the incense components. However, she also got out a box of unconsecrated hosts. “Fine,” I thought. “She’s just getting ready for Mass tomorrow morning.” Oh, I was so wrong. She then came back into the room with the monstrance, and proceed to place an unconsecrated host inside the lunette, and then into the monstrance. At first, this didn’t even register, but then I thought to myself, “Wow. That’s really wrong.” So I said, “Ma’am, we need the key to the tabernacle so we can put a consecrated host in the monstrance.” She then looked at me and, with a look of absolute amazement said, “Well, if that’s the way you guys do it, go ahead.” I then asked her for the key, but she said she would just go out and get the host and put it in. I then told her that we have a priest who will do that.

After this showing of absolute sacramental ignorance, I asked for the humeral veil. In return, she got out a chasuble. I very nicely told her that a humeral veil is much different from a chasuble. At this point she said, “I don’t even know what a humeral veil is. You can find it then.” She left.

So, yes, the pastoral administrator at St. Thomas More thought that we would have Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament with the Most Blessed Sacrament, because, “It’s not the way we do it.” Thank God I’m at Our Lady of Victory where the administrator is a priest who knows where Jesus is (tabernacle) and where He is not (box of unconsecrated hosts).

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14 Responses to ““She’s Not the Only Lay Administrator””

  1. avatar Tmac says:

    You know guys….I really enjoy reading some of your blog posts even though I don't agree with your style of Catholicism. But I have to say that your disdain for the woman pastoral associates/ministers in this Diocese is disgraceful. Jesus is ashamed of all of you.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    Tmac, you don't find it atrocious what this pastoral administrator was trying to do? She was going to throw bread in the monstrance, and have people adore that! Not the consecrated body of the Lord Jesus Christ, but ordinary bread, simply because she didn't want to be inconvenienced and was completely ignorant about the central mystery of the Catholic faith. That you can even think of defending this pastoral administrator disturbs me.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    "Jesus is ashamed of all of you."

    More ashamed than He is of Margaret Ostromecki for even considering to allow people engage in idolatry instead of adoration of God?

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    A friend of mine told me that Margaret once said at a parish meeting that there were no Catholic schools in Poland where she grew up and their faith was strong so why were people so upset about closing our schools. I guess we all know what the fate is for Siena Catholic Academy. She'll probably close it the first chance she gets.

  5. avatar Persis says:

    Great post! It brings to light many questions for me and also causes me great pain. I am studying Pastoral Ministry, thinking about going into hospice work. I have long felt that I was being called to live my life in service to God and His people, and hearing of someone who is in a postition of "pastoral authority", have such an attitude disturbs me.

    I do not know exactly what transpirerd here, I was not there and do not know any of the parties involved. What I do know is that if this is how Ms. Ostromecki acted, I hope that it was repoerted to her supervisor and that disciplinary action taken.
    As a manager, I would have to discipline an employee who acted blantently against "company polcy".
    "Real Presence" is the "company policy" of the church!

  6. avatar Rob says:

    Wow…

    I think it's sick that she would play with people like that. These people are coming to adore the Lord. You can't just throw bread in the monstrance in order to fool people.

    I hope that someone, if not everyone, will consider contacting Ms. Ostromecki to try and get her rationale behind this, and reassurance that this will not happen again. I expect a DoR pastoral administrator to believe in the Real Presence of Jesus. This is just sick.

    Emails of her two parishes:
    stm@dor.org <- St. Thomas Moore
    rourlady@dor.org <- Our Lady Queen of Peace You may also want to try e-mailing one of our Vicar Generals. I don't know if they will take action, but they will listen to your concerns. This can not be allowed to continue.

  7. avatar Kelly says:

    Hi Tmac:

    Why is there a need for lay Pastoral Administrators? Please, consider the question and prayerfully discern the answer. In the Diocese of Buffalo, there is one PA at a small linked parish and he is an ordained Deacon. The Dicoese of Buffalo has approximately 703,000 registered parishioners. The Diocese of Rochester has approximately 360,000 parishioners. If you part the dust and smoke, you will find the heart of the matter – and truth. A shepherd who supports female ordination and appoints these women to head parishes – when priests are set on the sideline. PAs who give homilies while a priest (or two) and a permanent Deacon sit in chairs with hands folded. PAs who 'preside' over baptisms with a Deacon holding the Sacramentary waiting for her to give her spiel so that he can perform the Baptism.

    Do you realize that an 'installation Mass' for a layperson as PA is found only in the DOR?

    Do you think that a Pastoral Administrator should understand what is needed for a benediction? Do you think that such a person should know that a consecrated host is placed in a monstrance? This is a person chosen to lead a flock of Catholics.

    What exactly is the 'Cleansing Fire' "style of Catholicism"? I'm curious, really since there is only one Church.

    You say that Jesus is ashamed. I think Jesus understands the hurt and frustration thousands have endured in the DOR for decades. When He was to be adored, an unconsecrated host was to be a stand-in by the hand of a perhaps well-intentioned, albeit misinformed layperson, in a role she really is not qualified to be placed in.

    Jesus is the ultimate judge of souls, but there is nothing wrong with judging the actions of others and speaking out against atrocity.

    I hope you respond to my post because I sincerely wish for a dialogue of understanding.

  8. avatar Anonymous says:

    You hit the nail on the head, Kelly.

    Really now, if a P.A. wants to act like a priest, they should at least understand basic tenets of the Catholic faith (such as consecrated host = real presence = Jesus).

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    This is the worst thing I have ever heard happening within the Diocese of Rochester. A letter to the bishop needs to be written. She was about to have people worship bread. Laziness and ignorance are unacceptable. This is idolatry.

  10. avatar dave says:

    Tmac,
    I looked at your profile and noticed that you list both your zodiac year (rat) as well as your astroligical sign. Catholics do not or should not take any stock in such matters. You sound more superstious that catholic. Try reading the cathecism instead of your horoscope and you will see why so many are offended by the increased role of "priest wannabe" P.A.s

  11. avatar Gen says:

    Let it be known that we do not hold disdain or contempt for any person, let alone the "popular" female administrators. We hold, however, a great deal of disgust and disappointment in their actions and the liturgical abuses which they permit and actively cause.

    By the way, I should like very much to know how you got the telephone call from Jesus saying, "I'm ashamed of Genjlcgettys, Dr. K and Choir." Do you have a red phone connection to heaven? If so, please let me know at the earliest convenience.

  12. avatar Bernie says:

    O dear, I think you've got it wrong. I don't think the lady who showed up was Margaret Ostromecki. I was the organizer and leader of the K or C Rosary and Benediction for an increase in vocations in the Rochester diocese that night and so was out in the body of the church and did not meet the person but I'm pretty sure someone else was dispached to the church after I waked over to the office to ask for someone to unlock the doors and help us. (Only the person who does the laundry was there. She called someone. Margaret, I believe was not available.) I did not meet the person who came. It is, of course, disheartening that anyone connected with the staff would not know the essentials for Benediction and Exposition but not really surprising considering the orientation of our diocese away from Eucharistic adoration. (I know a deacon who did not know what a monstrance is.) I think what troubled me more was that I never received a call or email from the pastoral administrator apologizing for the oversight (especially since I made several contacts with her –right up to a few days before– to make sure someone would be there to open the church, turn the lights and sound and help us locate the necessary items for Benediction.) I have not organized another Rosary since that night.

  13. avatar Gen says:

    From what I have heard, the description of the woman involved matched Mrs. Ostromecki. When the account was emailed to me, there were certain details I chose to omit for brevity's sake. Evidently, when she came into the sacristy, a STM parishioner said, "Hello Margaret." Of course, it is a common name, but I would wager money that the woman with the keys and the name was in fact Mrs. Ostromecki. If not, it is indeed a gross oversight to have someone that blind to reality with keys to the church and the tabernacle.

  14. avatar Gen says:

    I've looked into it a little further, along with the original source. Half the people swear it was her, some don't know her name, and some say she was out of town that night.

    I think the truth will rest between God and Mrs. Ostromecki in this one.

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