Cleansing Fire

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Goodbye, Nancy – Hello Barb

March 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

From a friend of the blog comes this little bit of news: Barb Swiecki has been named the new “leader” of the Rush Henrietta cluster, which comprises Good Shepherd, Guardian Angels, and St. Joseph’s in Rush. Mrs. DeRycke will be reassigned to another location. I fear deeply as to what this new location may be.

While Barb Swiecki is not as glaringly schismatic as Nancy DeRycke, the stark worship environment which she has cultivated at Guardian Angels is no shining trophy for either the loyal or the dissenting. However, I know several people at Guardian Angels who are firm, solid, orthodox Catholics who will do the right thing no matter how many women are vested and sitting in the sanctuary. Remember that Barb Swiecki is the pastoral administraitor (TM) who fired Fr. Peter Abas because it wasn’t in their budget to pay a priest. If this kind of logic is what will rule the cluster, I tremble to think of how those parishes will end up.

If anyone reading this goes to any of these three parishes, please leave a comment and give us your perspective. Will this be better? Worse? Same? What horror stories have you witnessed or heard?

The cluster is still “uncertain” as to who the “Sacramental Minister” will be.

Every time I type “Sacramental Minister,” a little piece of me dies. Can’t we just call them “pastors”? Why hire a lay person and a priest, paying two full-time employees? Hire one priest, and have people of the parish do the rest. They will step forward – it’s not as if we have an uncaring congregation in the diocese.

While doing some backgroung research, I stumbled across this on the website for St. Joseph’s:

Beginning in 2007, our Three Parishes will work together to: ?Continue those ministries described above, and look for ways to strengthen these and other ministries in which only two parishes currently collaborate. ?Begin work on a joint Social Ministry Committee to study the documents and promote the Diocese of Rochester annual agenda, as well as to coordinate and facilitate social ministry programs/outreach currently offered by the three parishes. ?Explore other needed social ministries. ?Work toward a ministry to alienated Catholics. ?Work toward greater collaboration with CYO (Catholic Youth Organization ? Grades 5-12 ) programs.. ?Share Pre-Cana Ministry. ?Continued collaboration on Lenten Retreats beginning in 2008. ?Explore ministry to Young Adults (18-35). ?Make Vocation Awareness a priority.

Does anyone else notice the absolutely massive flaw here? The cluster states that they need to strengthen and maintain their “social ministries,” participate more in CYO athetlics, collaborate on Lenten retreats, and “explore ministry” to young adults. Oh, and “Vocations Awareness” is a priority. Obviously not, if you list it after CYO and various other UNNECESSARY ministries. Sure, they’re wonderful. But the priesthood is necessary. Maybe if these clusters put more emphasis on that, we wouldn’t be in such a mess. Young men will answer the call if they’re not treated like afterthoughts.

Also on their website is this projection for what, exactly, will happen in this year’s assignments:

Number of Priests and Mass Schedules
2006-2010 There will continue to be 3 weekend Masses at each parish site.
2010: There will be two priests serving the three parishes.

?Before the reduction in the number of priests takes place in approximately June of 2010, all three parishes will reduce their Mass schedule to two Masses per weekend at each church site. ?The times of the Masses will be determined by the pastoral planning team using consensus (Yeah . . . like that will happen) with input of all three parishes. ?Daily Mass schedules will be determined in the same way at that time as well.

Anyone who has gone through a clustering process will know and agree that the debate over which Masses go and which Masses stay does two things: it serves to create a bitter and disunited congregation, and it breaks the resolve of those who fight tirelessly. By the end of this, there is too little steam left to actually push through any non-pastoral-administrator related matters. Do not waste your time bickering about Mass times – take what you get and save your strength for the coming fight, the future of your parishes.


Update 3/29/10 (Dr. K): Good Shepherd parishioners have contacted us with information claiming that Ms. DeRycke referred to Ms. Swiecki as the new “Pastoral Leader” and the to-be-named priests who will serve the parishes as “Assisting Priests.” Her departure is their gain.

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11 Responses to “Goodbye, Nancy – Hello Barb”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    I'm in shock, I thought Nancy had it all wrapped up.

    But Barb does have administrator seniority over Nancy.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    That's the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.

    I am completely shocked by this move. Nancy DeRycke is Bishop Clark's poster child for "proving that women can act like priests," more so than even Sr. Joan Sobala. Ms. DeRycke was just "installed" around a year ago, wasn't she? This is very confusing. Where might she end up? Are there any open parishes within the area? I think St. Agnes or St. Mary of the Assumption in Scottsville may have an opening, but would she go all the way out there far from Buffalo Road? I hate to say this, but might she end up at St. Anne/OLoL should Sr. Joan Sobala retire in the next two months?

    This is a very very VERY surprising move.

    Regarding the Mass times: They have already been decided upon. Each parish kept one Mass time, and received one new one. All three had to drop a Mass.

    ~Dr. K

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    "Make Vocation Awareness a priority"

    The last priority.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    The article in today's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper stated that only 200 parishioners attended the 11am Mass on Palm Sunday at St. Mary's Church in downtown Rochester. I thought that this was a liberal and progressive parish.

    Is this the best Bishop Clark can do for his personal agenda?

    Where are the 350,000 parishioners that Bishop Clark talked so much about, during his effort to convince people that it was OK to strip out Sacred Heart Cathedral during the so-called renovation?

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think perhaps Nancy did not want to stay.

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    Beat me to the punch, Anon 8:20. Well said.

    ~Dr. K

  7. avatar Dr. K says:

    Gen, any word on whether or not she'll assume Nancy's title of "Pastoral Leader"?

    ~Dr. K

  8. avatar Gen says:

    In the email, the phrasing said, "leader." In quotes, too. Of course, this may be some general label, i.e. "She'll be leading the parishes," but I wouldn't doubt it if the title "Pastoral Leader" is used in the future.

  9. avatar RochChaCha says:

    For a second I thought you were talking about the other Barb……Barb Hesenius who has found a very comfortable home within the DOR as 'pastoral associate'. Yes, this title gives her the special privilege of giving homilies….i mean 'reflections'. My opinion is that she is on the fast track to becoming a 'Pastoral Leader' like the original Barb.

  10. avatar Jenny says:

    Hmmm . . . too bad that the parish budget is set according to stewardship. If more people would participate in the life of the parish through time, talent and treasure maybe it would be possible to afford full time priests! As a member of Guardian Angels, I know first hand that Fr. Peter was only availble to the parish very part time. Why should the limited funds of a parish be used to pay full time wages and benefits for a priest who only makes himself available to the people of the parish a few hours a week and is not “available” for full time priestly duties?

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    Father Peter wasn’t even given a coat hook to hang his coat at Guardian Angels. He was told he wasn’t NEEDED…only for mass. He had no office. He was treated like an outsider….


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