Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

St. Thomas the Apostle to Close

May 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

From the very first whispers even unto the present moment, not a single kindness was shown to the people of St. Thomas the Apostle. Their sufferings were mocked and magnified by the greed and callousness of their administration, especially Fr. Norm Tanck. I don’t care how many people say we shouldn’t single an individual out. When a wrong has been committed, it is the duty of the lay faithful to address it. This is what we are doing.

Fr. Tanck has lied and offered false truths to the people of St. Thomas. As their priest, he should have been leading their defense, but that task was thrown to the ground by his treacherous hands. We were obliged to pick it up, for the sake of genuine charity, caritas. Fr. Tanck will also be the new pastor of the St. Irondequoit community, as it’s been termed. He will be assisted by Fr.’s Horan and Leone.

As of now, the parish will be closed on September 1, 2010. This is not official yet, but we have it from a very reliable source. The diocese is certainly in a hurry to destroy the faith in Irondequoit. And I wonder why? Could it be that they see their political agendas and “renewal” efforts failing? Do they blame the orthodox members of the diocesan Church for this? Do the administrators of the diocese not realize that the people of St. Thomas and St. Salome have only followed the Church loyally? Why does the diocese root out the sane parishes, the kind and focused faithful, and the devoted laity, to bring down the hammer of their “leadership”?

The closing of these two parishes is nothing less than a political maneuver hidden behind a facade of people who have been made to feel important and righteous. The IPPG should be ashamed of itself. What Catholic, nay, what human, would willingly turn on his own family? Only the mentally infirm and the traitorously inept would even think to attempt such a thing. And yet these individuals have done more than formulate thoughts- they turned them into dangerous and daunting weapons of canonical destruction.

To the parishioners of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome – stop contributing to the weekend collections. If the diocese says you don’t have the money to support yourselves, don’t try to argue otherwise. Make them bleed.

Start getting organized to sue for your money back. Your renovation(s), repairs, enhancements, etc. are your own – you have a right to what you paid for. Do not give one more penny to the diocese, to your parish, or to the CMA. They do not deserve your money, nor are they worthy to sit at your feet and beg for the “scraps off your table.” They are the dogs that devoured your spiritual well-being. They deserve no special consideration.

Get to work, friends. Start writing to religious orders, other bishops, and friends who now people. We need to find a buyer for this property, or at least, someone who can take it over at no cost to the diocese. This is the job of another group separate from Cleansing Fire, so I will let them get to work on their own time.

God will not reward the impious. God does not give aid to those who desecrate His holy Church.

Our Lady of Divine Compassion, comfort us in our time of need and sorrow, and pray for the souls who have led us to our doom. They have more need of prayers than anyone else.

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28 Responses to “St. Thomas the Apostle to Close”

  1. Monk says:

    Thank you so much for all you have done for STA and orthodoxy in the DoR. Cleansing Fire truly refreshes our souls as we fear no evil. The Psalmist says that "goodness and kindness will follow us all the days of our lives"…..Today, Cleansing Fire is that goodness and kindness!

  2. Anonymous says:

    They are probably going to give a Protestant name for the new Irondequoit parish. The other one was called "Peace of Christ." How about they call this one "Piece of sh**."

    Because that's what this whole process has been. The fires of Hell have arisen in Rochester.

  3. Anonymous says:

    At this rate, the only parish that will be left is Sacred Heart.

    Bishop Clark will be the final bishop of Rochester. We're going to be carved up between Buffalo and Syracuse.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have a fitting name for the new church…how about, "St. Elsewhere."

  5. Gen says:

    How about "Our Lady of Fruitless Ecumenism."

  6. Anonymous says:

    When the Livonia and Conesus parishes were clustered then merged, they chose a new name – St. Matthew, after the evangelist. The diocese had plenty of St. John's, a St. Mark and the cluster in Geneseo took the name of St. Luke. I think it would be nice to call the new parish something like Our Lady of Grace or Holy Martyrs.

    As for the DOR becoming part of Buffalo or Syracuse, I don't think that'll happen. If Ogdensburg which is far smaller hasn't been eliminated, neither will Rochester.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I don't wish to judge Bishop Clark's soul, but if I had just done what he is doing right now, I would find a trip to the confessional to be vital for my eternal well-being.

  8. Jon says:

    Having gone to STA, this is terrible. Fr. Tanck should be ashamed. There is no justifiable reason for this. The three parishes being kept open are "Worship spaces" ::sigh::. We must be warriors of prayer.

    ~Jonathan Gillenson

  9. Anonymous says:

    My heart it breaking. Fr. Tanck gave us the news at STA at the beginning of Mass today, and I could barely focus for the liturgy. Plus the Mass was further disrupted by a camera man who had to be expelled by the ushers. I feel badly for the two families who had brought their new babies for Baptism today, that had to endure this drama on their joyful day. Just so very sad and disturbing, given that we are still a financially viable parish.

  10. RochChaCha says:

    I hope the good people of STA put up a good fight and do not give up. There will be a lot of support from the community if STA needs support, either financially or spiritually to stop this closure from happening.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Please don't get your hopes up. This is a done deal. There will be a lot of publicity related to the closure and the people will be heard in the media but , unfortunately, this is over. I hate to be frank but you are up against a vey cunning and detrmined individual. He will not be swayed by public opinion and Rome, nor the courts will do anything. We have to suffer for the 700 and some odd days left. I think the only reason for the delay was for them to think of a way to legally get the money from the benefactor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    everyone one of us should pile our way into Christ the King and fill the pews making it so crowded that the enemies of our church who are located there will feel the pain. But remember to send your envelope empty with proceeds going to another more deserving parish.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bishop Clark, Fr. Tanck and the people of the parishes are NOT your enemies. They are fellow Catholics with whom you have a major disagreement over administration and policy. Using the word enemy in your rhetoric is dangerous and can lead to the justification of physical violence. Disagree, petition, write to Rome, speak to the media, scream and shout – but remember that they are Catholic. The outrage is understandable, but:

    1. Parish closures and mergers are going on all over the country and, in fact, the world. On a recent trip to France, I read the same sentiments as I read here – bishops as the enemy of the Church because they close down parishes or are making one priest serve two or three parishes. I spoke to a French seminarian in Paris who said once he's ordained, he'll immediately be made pastor of at least four parishes in his diocese of Lyon.

    2. It is a done deal. The canonical merger has been enacted as seen below. The five parishes are suppressed and the new, one, parish is established with a name to be chosen by the end of the summer. The two sites will be closed. The canonical procedures were followed and the bishop has made his decision. Meetings, fundraisers, protests may make you feel better but they won't change the reality.

    3. The Church is not closed. We are Catholic, that means we are not Protestant congregationalists attached to one singular congregation. Our Church is not a building.

    4. Join your pain and your outrage with the countless hundreds if not thousands throughout the diocese. Think of the parishes that have closed recently such Holy Redeemer, Mt. Carmel, St. Francis Xavier. St. Anthony, Holy Name, Ss. Peter and Paul, St. Augustine, Good Counsel, Holy Rosary, St. Bridget, St. George's, St. Anthony's, St. Francis of Assisi, and Our Lady of Mercy which is soon to be closed. Think of the parishes that merged against their will like St. Thomas More, Lourdes, St. Anne's, Good Shepard, Guardian Angels, St. Joseph's in Rush. Think of the parishes that have adminstrators instead of priests like Resurrection, St. Mary's, Thomas More, Lourdes and on and on. You're not being singled out. None of the above parishes were happy when clustered, merged, closed, given an administrator. This is what is happening.

    5. I read that Brooklyn is getting ready to shut down one third of its parishes and clustering just as many in their pastoral planning which started last year. Pittsburgh closed tons of parishes about 5 years ago. Fall River, MA is doing the same. Low attendance, lack of priests, and parishes established in the 50's and 60's based on potential numbers and not real numbers are now the problems.

    Pray that somehow there can be a renewal of Catholicism all over the world.

  14. Gen says:

    "Bishop Clark, Fr. Tanck and the people of the parishes are NOT your enemies. They are fellow Catholics with whom you have a major disagreement over administration and policy. Using the word enemy in your rhetoric is dangerous and can lead to the justification of physical violence. Disagree, petition, write to Rome, speak to the media, scream and shout – but remember that they are Catholic."

    I agree that the people of the parishes involved are not the de facto enemies of STA and SS. However, Bishop Clark and Fr. Tanck have shown outright contempt for the people of these two parishes. If they aren't "enemies" in the truest sense of the word, I know not what they are.

    And I sincerely doubt that anyone would resort to "physical violence." I know the people of STA, and the angry comments here are the farthest any of them would go. To think otherwise is to presume that they have ceased to be Christian.

    Regarding your four points, we have them covered. What is seen on the blog is just the tip of the iceberg. We aren't angry because parishes are being closed. We know it's a reality. We know that many places are doing it. HOWEVER – there is no reason that a parish like STA, which has no debt, and had no attendance problems pre-clustering, should be closed over a parish like St. Cecilia which is dying naturally. That's the key. If a parish dies naturally, there's no problem, but when a group of lay people tell the bishop outright lies about the parishes involved, and bring about an artificial death, that's the real travesty.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Anon 11:01 –

    I will concede to you the facts of dwindling priests and for the sake of argument the need to close parishes. Can you explain, then, why you would close one of,if not THE, largest church in the diocese? If we are destined to mega-churches why close the largest one in Monroe County? Wouldn't you want to keep it open to house the faithful when we only have four churches in the diocese? Or, perhaps, just perhaps, there is another reason for the closure? Because logic does not follow.

  16. Anonymous says:

    "but remember that they are Catholic"

    Really? They don't act like it. This is the work of Lucifer himself.

    "Parish closures and mergers are going on all over the country "

    The difference here- This parish is drawing 500 people, and there are many, MANY parishes in the area drawing far less. Take for example the southeast Irondequouit parishes in "Peace of Christ." Clark's motives are clear as day. Besides, next to CTK, STA has the best facilities in Irondequoit.

    "It is a done deal."

    Hardly the case. Read the decree again. The people have a right to an appeal. We have hired a Canon lawyer, and will indeed file a canonical suit against Bishop Clark and the Diocese of Rochester. If Clark is going to shut this parish down, he is not going to do it with the simple stroke of a pen. It will drain him and the diocese to defend their case.

    "The Church is not closed. We are Catholic, that means we are not Protestant congregationalists attached to one singular congregation. Our Church is not a building. "

    We're not using a capital 'C.' And your method of thinking is quite in line with this diocese. If the church buildings are so insignificant, and we're only choosing the best churches for future worship, then St. Cecilia and St. Margaret Mary would be CLOSED. It's so much more than the buildings, it's about the way we worship, the way we receive our Lord, and the overall reverence of the Mass. It's the difference between a VII Church and a Spirit of VII Church.

    "Holy Name"

    To the shock of many, Holy Name has not closed. They draw 370 people each week. Where is the justice?

    "None of the above parishes were happy when clustered, merged, closed, given an administrator."

    I don't buy it. Parishes like St. Mary and Lourdes are thrilled to have an administrator. You get a good number of former Corpus Christi people attending these parishes. To have a woman run the show is paradise to them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The incident with the news reporter and cameraman comes down to a parish that has no leader and is rudderless. Fr. Tanck announces the closing of the parish and then runs away. There is no plan to address the distraught parishioners concerns, answer questions etc. This was a problem waiting to happen. STA has not seen Fr. Tanck on the weekend in 8 weeks! There was no authority present. How can you operate a parish with hundreds of people coming and going every week and not expect problems to arise when there is no leadership present at all?

  18. Louis E. says:

    Can the sale of the building somehow be postponed until Bishop Clark is no longer in office?…or a buyer happy to flip it back once he's gone found?

  19. Ludwig says:

    Not to divert focus away from STA, but I was curious: if a new parish is going to feature wandering-priests (Frs. Tanck, Leonne and Horan), is it possible that parishioners would know ahead of time who will be at which church each week?

    I love Fr. Leonne (who married my wife and I) and Fr. Horan (who will baptize my first child next year). I would find it extremely satisfying to follow them between SMM and St. Cecilia each week, and refuse to be subjected to Fr. Tanck.

  20. Ludwig says:

    Incidentally, I also feel horrible for the folks at St. Cecilia. They are an elderly, traditional church. They are about to get a baseball-bat to the head with Fr. Tanck.

    However, I fear for the folks at SMM. They already have a "contemporary" mass at 9am on Sundays … although done as tastefully as one can be I suppose. They may ignorantly, and happily swallow Fr. Tanck's progressive agenda.

  21. Nerina says:

    Anon @ 11:01 – Regarding your 3rd point:

    Words have power. To refer to a "worship community", as such, is different from saying parishioners from St. Patrick's CHURCH. I understand that the former term is preferred by progressives since it connotes a certain image as a group of believers whereas they feel "church" refers only to a physical building. I find this argument insulting to my ability to understand and interpret the English language.

    Truly, how many people hear "church" and think only of the physical structure? We think of the people inside, the history, the shared experiences all housed within the building. The physical matters. God certainly knows this and created us to enjoy physical and sensory experiences. That's why so much of good worship includes all of our senses – the "smells and bells" if you will. This is exactly why the physical building of the church matters, too. It is not simply a matter of being attached to a building, but to what that building has represented for so long to so many people.

    Think about moving from a beloved home. A home where children were welcomed and raised, parties given, tears cried, holidays celebrated. Why shouldn't the people of STA and other churches closed mourn these losses? Why shouldn't they be attached to the buildings? They have welcomed new Catholics, mourned the death of others, witnessed new lives in Baptism and the joining of two people in Marriage. It is a very sad day to see any of our churches closed and the fact that Bishop Clark continues to listen with a tin ear to the laments of his sheep speaks to his hardness of heart. Where is the pastoral care in this particular move?

  22. Anonymous says:

    As to the fates of SMM and St. Cecelia, I for one, do not shed many tears. Their members of the IPPG were more than happy to throw STA & SS to the alligators. This result is what happens where there is a lack of charity or selfish acts motivating a committee. Ultimately you will reap what you sow.

  23. Ludwig says:


    Do we know what went on behind the scenes of the IPPG? Isn't it at least possible that Fr. Leonne and Fr. Horan are as saddened by this as the rest of us, but did what they had to so that CtK wasn't the ONLY church left standing?

    Could it have been the case that STA and SS were on the chopping block from day 1, and that SC and SMM had to either get on board or be gone with them…?

    I found CleansingFire a little late, so maybe there's an answer somewhere that I'm unaware of.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ludwig – The priests of the Parishes were not involved in the formal recommendations. But a gander at the minutes of the meetings will answer your questions to the motives of the members of the IPPG. Ask your IPPG representative for a copy of the minutes of the meetings for the past three years. Sadly you will find STA underrepresented at the meetings and the STA "representatives" willing and active participants to the demise of the parish. As for going along to stay alive, History has shown that is not much of a defense. Fr. Leone has been tremendously supportive of STA and SS and a vocal critic of closure. As for Fr. Horan, I have not heard any utterances in support of STA or SS, nor have I heard any against them. He has, as far as I know, been neutral.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Ludwig….Fr. Horan was very active in supporting the entire IPPG proposal. In fact, I would consider him one of the chief architects of the plan to found one mega parish in Irondequoit and close STA and SS. Simply read the IPPG meeting minutes posted at Also, find the previous post on Cleansing Fire that has an entire article by Fr. Horan, "No Catholic Left Behind." posted Tuesday May 11that basically explains his philosophy of church as it relates to the IPPG plan. He is a key player in this treachery!

  26. Gen says:

    But, to be fair, he got sucked into it. It's a situation more of Bishop Clark's making than Fr. Horan's.

    There's plenty enough blood to go around.

  27. Anonymous says:

    If God wants STA to remain there is nothing Bishop Clark can do to stop it. If he wants it to be closed then no one can keep it open. Let us pray for Bishop Clark as our leader. Any in-fighting will only loose the real truth that God is in control and He wants a worship of pure heart not stained glass windows.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 9:46, Have you not heard of man's free will? Man does many things that saddens God, but he doesn't interfere. The stained glass windows are not "worshiped." They are there for the honor and glory of God.

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