Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Crisis in Irondequoit

February 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Monk

In just the first few months of operation, Fr. Tanck has declared a financial crisis with his newly created parish in Irondequoit (see his letter to parishioners below).
Irondequoit parishioners were promised a “strong, new, vibrant” parish but in reality they are left with a destabilized faith community that will continue to see more downsizing and decline (and lost souls) in the years to come. Fr. Tanck and the IPPG committee ignored their own finance committee recommendations. The IPPG finance committee had analyzed every parish combination scenario in terms of financial viability. The scenarios that included St. Thomas the Apostle were always determined to be the most financially sound. However, the DoR and their proxy Fr. Tanck were determined to dismantle the orthodox parish of STA because it didn’t go along with their liberal agenda. Fr. Tanck is facing a CMA shortfall of over $100,000 and declining weekly contributions. It is fair to say that there are many unhappy Catholics in Irondequoit! Unfortunately, they will have to continue to deal with the painful reality of these decisions for years to come.

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17 Responses to “Crisis in Irondequoit”

  1. Dr. K says:

    Here is the blueprint Fr. Tanck will follow next:
    1. It is highly unlikely that Blessed Kateri parish will be able to eliminate the deficit, especially the one caused by the CMA tax.
    2. In order to eliminate this deficit, Fr. Tanck will propose cost-cutting measures to make the parish financially viable. As part of these measures, Fr. Tanck will propose eliminating unused or underused facilities in the parish. This will include the St. Thomas and St. Salome campuses. How convenient that would be since he eliminated all Masses there, making these churches underutilized.
    3. Fr. Tanck, in collaboration with hand-selected lay persons, will make a recommendation to the bishop that the STA and SS properties be sold in order to pay off the debts of the other churches in the parish. He will throw out the usual fluff, that we are all in this together as one parish, that we should all work together for the survival of Catholicism in Irondequoit, and that we can’t be paying to operate facilities we don’t need (again, it was his own doing that St. Thomas is not being used right now when it can and should be).
    4. Bishop Clark will support the decision by deferring to the recommendation of Fr. Tanck and his hand-selected lay persons.

    In order to preempt this likely progression of events, it is my opinion that parishioners of St. Thomas should recommend that STA be used in place of one of the other costly churches if the financial burden is as serious as it sounds. We knew all along that St. Margaret Mary and St. Cecilia were not financially viable.

    Also do not forget that costly expansion is still required at St. Cecilia. STA is ready to accommodate extra Catholics without any expansion. STA and SS should not be sold in order to (temporarily) bail out two debt-ridden churches. We’ll be right back where we are now in a few years, and the resentment this would cause will lead to even further departures and less collection income.

  2. Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Dr. K, you have summed up the situation pretty clearly. We need to start praying that the campuses of St. Thomas and St. Salome are not sold to pay off the debts of the cluster. Ironically, it was just a year ago this weekend, that many of the people from the Irondequoit parishes met as a body at St. Anne’s Community to try and make sense of out this impossible situation….none of the pastors listened, and here we are!

  3. Monk says:

    I agree Dr. K. He has already formed a committee to begin the process of selling “assets.” Also, he is facing the operation of a school (Christ the King) next year which will further cripple the parish financially. In reality, the CTK school doesn’t stand a chance of continuing under Fr. Tanck. He was rarely seen in the school and doesn’t appear to have much use for it despite being a Basilian priest, a teaching order. The Catholic church in Irondequoit is being dismantled.

  4. Ben Anderson says:

    Although our decline has not been as deep as projected, we will still be facing a financial crisis

    I’m confused by this statement. It sounds like they planned on having a crisis?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think most Irondequoit Catholics at this point are thinking, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame me!

  6. Monk says:

    I really think the DoR expected a financial problem in Irondequoit but that didn’t stop them from enacting their desired outcome, the elimination of STA. Fr. Tanck has been used by the DoR and is left to hold the (empty) bag.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I will say that Fr. Tanck has chutzpah! First he closes their parishes and walks off with their savings (including the Msgr. Burn’s fund) and then he sends them a letter asking for more money! Shame on him!

  8. Matt says:

    The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, and is lit with the skulls of their bishops.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The results of this parish “Merger” with the closing of two beautiful churches was, in my opinion, the WORST thing the Bishop could have let happen in our community.

    Since this has happened elsewhere and the Pope has reversed, why don’t we make an earnest appeal to the Pope to do likewise here. No one in our area feels comfortable or is happy with this situation! Certainly not now that the situation at Bishop Kearney is not up to par.

    St. Thomas was financially able to succeed. Is that a good reason to take away our finances along with our beautiful church?????

  10. Mike says:

    “It would be helpful to let us know if you have chosen not to continue with us in our journey of faith.” – Fr. Tanck

    It most certainly would! CMA assessments are based on both the number of households registered with a parish and the zip code of each household. Former STA and SS members, by registering as members at another parish (or by merely informing BKT that they are no longer members there), get removed from the BKT rolls, this reducing BKT’s CMA assessment.

    The longer these people wander around checking out other parishes, the more it costs BKT.

    That said, it cannot be the entire story behind BKT’s current $100 K CMA shortfall. Last year’s CMA assessments for STA and SS were $43,602 and 26,860, respectively. So even if no one from those 2 parishes donated a nickel to the CMA (which I feel is highly unlikely), the shortfall would be about $70 K. Something else must also be going on here.

  11. Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Question for Anon 1:22 p.m. What do you mean about the situation at Bishop Kearney not being up to par?

  12. Monk says:

    The folks at St. Margaret Mary can’t be too happy about the entire situation in Irondequoit. There is still the lingering resentment over the closing of their school. The recent sale of their school and convent has left their campus with no facilities. Also, some of the sale money was used to pay off St. Cecelia’s debt to the DoR (the DoR always gets their money!). All this can’t sit well with their parishioners.
    Overall, very few Catholics are happy with the consolidation thrust upon them. Terrible parking, standing room only Masses, priests that move around every weekend….not a pretty picture!

  13. Dr. K says:

    Based upon the various recommendations made prior to the IPPG consolidations, if another church is to go in Irondequoit, then St. Margaret Mary would be next in line.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dr. K. I agree. Fr. Horan has done nothing to stand-up for his parish. It has evaporated right under his nose!

  15. Mike says:


    What does SMM have left, property-wise? Anything that would function as a parish hall? Meeting rooms? Etc.?

  16. Monk says:

    They have the church and rectory, that’s about it. Also, I understand they bought a house on Schofield Rd adjacent to their property. (They were scolded by the IPPG for purchasing the property during the planning process). They are so tight for space that they have meetings in their sacristy! I believe one of the reasons the retired priests were asked to vacate the rectory was so that they could use some of the space in the rectory for meeting rooms. There is a rumor that they are going to be renovating the house on Schofield for their religious ed classes despite the fact that STA recently renovated the entire spacious second floor of the their parish center for religious ed classes and it now sits empty! What a waste of resources.

  17. Mike says:

    Wow, Monk, it sounds like they’ve really gutted that property.

    FWIW, I just found the January, 2011 BKT Parish Council Faith Formation report online. Item #4 says,

    March 1 deadline for evacuation of the SMM site Faith Formation building (former convent): Charlie Prindle, Mary Ann Obark and Fr. Norm will be meeting to discuss alternatives

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