Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘IPPG’

St. Thomas in the News

November 14th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

All of the major local news outlets covered the St. Thomas “closing” Mass today. Below are links to some video coverage:

The Mass was truly beautiful and celebrated with the honor and dignity due toward the holy sacrifice of the Mass. There were no liturgical dancers, no little Timmy and Bobby Sue processing with banners from a church anniversary, none of the showy garbage which has taken place at other closing liturgies. St. Thomas the Apostle, a 1,000 seat church, was filled beyond capacity. At least twenty people were forced to stand along the right side wall because of the amazing turnout in support of this parish community. Although Fr. Tanck may be calling this a “final” or “closing” Mass, the people do not believe this to be the case thanks to their faith in God that their appeals will be successful.

For the time being, St. Thomas will remain open for weddings and other special events. That is not good enough  since this could change at any time. The leaders of this diocese worship at the altar of the almighty dollar (metaphorically speaking), and to sell St. Thomas would bring in a pretty penny to keep afloat the other three debt-ridden Irondequoit churches. The only way to ensure that St. Thomas will be around beyond Bishop Clark’s tenure, and for it to return once again as a regular house of worship, is for the people to prevail in their appeal. Please pray that they will.

I will conclude with a scary, and hopefully not prophetic statement from Fr. Tanck as found in the NBC video coverage: “If we can do it, if we’re successful, maybe others will learn something from us.” Let us also pray that this will not happen, since success here could mean consolidations and closures elsewhere.

Today is the “Closing Mass” for St. Thomas the Apostle

November 14th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

A day we have long dreaded has finally arrived. Later this morning, at 9:30 AM to be exact, the “closing” Mass for St. Thomas the Apostle will be  celebrated. These closings Masses have become a regular fixture in the Diocese of Rochester as the diocese has contracted from 159 parishes in the mid-1990s down to 123 today. With all of these closings, there has been pain and sadness. To lose one’s church is like losing a member of your family. Our parish church has been the site for many of the memorable moments of our lives, including Baptisms, first Communions, marriage, etc. Today the people of St. Thomas stand to lose their home in the Catholic Church.

Unlike other closings in this diocese, where parishioners have accepted that their parish is going to close and that nothing can be done, the people of St. Thomas view tomorrow’s “closing” Mass a bit differently. In the words of an active St. Thomas parishioner, “I call tomorrow’s Mass our “temporary” last Mass.” This belief is shared by the congregation. When other DoR parishes have closed in the past, they often have a large meal afterward, much like when a family has a meal after a funeral. Following the St. Thomas the Apostle “closing” there will be no meal. Rather, the people will simply gather together for a coffee hour.

The people of St. Thomas have invested much time, money, and effort into the defense of their church’s right to remain open. These people firmly believe that their church should continue to exist, and they have proven that they are willing to challenge the bishop”s decision (or lack thereof) for as long as it takes. While we certainly don’t know how this appeal will turn out, we must have faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that the appeal will be successful, and that St. Thomas the Apostle church will continue to serve Northwest Irondequoit into the future. I repeat, we must have faith, for with God “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Msgr. Burns, beloved Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle who is buried outside this house of God, pray for us!

Through Your Sufferings You Find Christ

November 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of St. Thomas the Apostle as they prepare to “not close” their parish. I say “to ‘not close'” because the parish is technically still a consecrated Catholic church . . . just without Masses, a priest, parishioners, collections, confessions, or anything else. I call foul. The church is being closed, even if not in a legal, canonical sense. Perhaps this is the route being taken as part of some backroom plot hatched at the hands of our diocesan officials, or perhaps it’s a way of reaching out to the St. Thomas parishioners – we need to keep our minds open and not leap to conclusions, no matter how likely they may be . . .

This being said, I would like to give to you the following chapter from the Book of Jermiah for your lectio divina for this weekend:

1 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. 2 Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. 3 “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.

5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.

6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The LORD Our Righteous Savior.

7 “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.”

Lying Prophets

9 Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me;
all my bones tremble.

I am like a drunken man,
like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the LORD
and his holy words.
10 The land is full of adulterers;
because of the curse[b] the land lies parched
and the pastures in the wilderness are withered.
The prophets follow an evil course
and use their power unjustly.

11 “Both prophet and priest are godless;
even in my temple I find their wickedness,”
declares the LORD.

12 “Therefore their path will become slippery;
they will be banished to darkness
and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
in the year they are punished,”
declares the LORD.

13 “Among the prophets of Samaria
I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.

They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”

15 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets:

“I will make them eat bitter food
and drink poisoned water,
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
ungodliness has spread throughout the land.”

16 This is what the LORD Almighty says:

“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
they fill you with false hopes.

They speak visions from their own minds,
not from the mouth of the LORD.
17 They keep saying to those who despise me,
‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’
And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts
they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’
18 But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD
to see or to hear his word?
Who has listened and heard his word?
19 See, the storm of the LORD
will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind swirling down
on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes
the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send these prophets,
yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
yet they have prophesied.

22 But if they had stood in my council,
they would have proclaimed my words to my people
and would have turned them from their evil ways
and from their evil deeds.

“A More Vibrant Catholic Community”

November 4th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

“For many of you, this significant change will be viewed as a journey of hope taken together to build a stronger, more vibrant Catholic community in Irondequoit. For others, my decision may cause some disappointment, hurt or even anger. I pray that those who disagree with my decision will understand that it was not made lightly or without firm and compelling reasons.”

– Bishop Matthew H. Clark

Perhaps if His Excellency opened his eyes, he would see that there is already a “more vibrant Catholic community in Irondequoit.” All he has to do is reach out to them and stop scattering the flock. This photo is not evidence of a dwindling population or a dying parish. It is, however, evidence of the complete devotion of the parishioners of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha parish to the Church and Her Divine Creator.

Duplicity is the Sole Regent

November 1st, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

When I was having a conversation with a friend from St. Thomas the Apostle today, I was told of a very disturbing comment made to a fellow parishioner. When this family visited Christ the King, in the spirit of “sticking with the new parish”, they knelt after the Agnus Dei had been said. The Christ the King parishioners directly behind them remarked loudly enough to be heard, “See, they don’t even try to fit in.”

Shame on them. How dare they ostracize members of a parish which is in its bureaucracy-imposed death-throws? The people of St. Thomas (and soon St. Andrew’s and Our Lady of Perpetual Help) are experiencing daily martyrdoms, losing what has made them whole for their lives as Catholics. To criticize fellow Catholics for doing the right thing is not appropriate. It’s downright rude. It’s behavior like this that tears open the flesh of Our Lord anew, with our flagellating tongues and demonic misconceptions. If kneeling at a time when kneeling is wholly permitted makes one feel more spiritually alive at Mass, they should not feel burdened to change that, just to make other people happy.

I pray that the other parishioners of Christ the King do not share in this ignorant perception of their brothers and sisters at St. Thomas. May God bless the people of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, and open their hearts to the true King, Jesus Christ.

Priest Shortage?

October 31st, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

We have been getting several e-mails informing us that priests in Irondequoit have been concelebrating daily Masses. Today we have received a couple e-mails saying that a Sunday Mass was concelebrated today by Frs. Tim Horan and Norm Tanck CSB.

If there is a priest shortage, which was the major argument for closing St. Thomas, then why are priests concelebrating Masses in Irondequoit? There are some parishes in our diocese that have one Sunday Mass and only one or two weekday Masses. Here we are in Irondequoit with multiple priests present at Masses.

Come on.

“Eight Reasons Why Men Only Should Serve at Mass”

October 24th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I’m sure this is bound to ruffle a few feathers, but everything contained in this post is not a matter of opinion. This comes directly from the Vatican, the guardian of Sacred Tradition. This is not supposed to be a “knock” of female altar servers, but rather an analysis of the essence of ministering at the altar.

To raise the possibility of an all-male liturgical ministry is to invite tribulation. Those who prefer the traditional arrangement of male altar servers, lectors, and so on are nervous about vocalizing their convictions, let alone acting upon them. This in itself is significant: Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it should give us pause that many Catholics, from the pious in the pews to prelates in the Vatican, stand in fear of being stigmatized as supporters of a 4,000-year-old tradition, faithfully kept by God’s chosen people from the days of Abraham until the Catholic Church began changing its practices in the 1970s.

But let us have courage and look again with fresh eyes. Such an investigation is necessary, especially if we wish to continue admitting women into the service of the sanctuary. G. K. Chesterton once complained of would-be reformers that they “do not know what they are doing because they do not know what they are undoing” (well said, sir, well said). His grievance was that reformers either do not sufficiently study the original rationale for the thing they are dismantling, or they assume “all their fathers were fools.” Yet advocates for female liturgical ministers might go further and say that our fathers were not fools but worse: oppressors, sexists, misogynists (Now this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?). This forces us to ask: Are sins of bias the real reason behind an all-male liturgical ministry? What precisely are we undoing?

To address these questions, we turn to eight distinctions.

1. Allowed vs. Encouraged

The Holy See allows female lectors, extraordinary ministers of Communion, and altar servers, but it does not necessarily encourage them. Despite the fact that papal Masses have female readers, permission for this has an officially optional, provisional, and exceptional nature (see Canon 230.2). Strictures surrounding altar girls are particularly tight. According to the Congregation for Divine Worship’s 2001 letter “Concerning the Use of Female Altar Servers,” the general law prohibiting them remains in effect except in those places where the bishop uses the indult allowing them. A bishop cannot compel his priests to use female altar servers; and every bishop, even when using this indult, is obligated not to undermine the “noble tradition” of altar boys. (Undermining the “noble tradition” of altar boys can be seen in the treatment of the parish traditions of St. Thomas. You can bet those boys won’t have an easy time blending into the less-than-orthodox liturgical style of Christ the King.)

2. Liturgical vs. Non-liturgical

Saying that women shouldn’t serve in the sanctuary says nothing about women’s leadership elsewhere in the Church or other ministries open to them. Liturgy is a unique animal: It has its own rules, logic, and, as we shall see, symbolic demands. (Much like child-bearing is a unique thing. Sure, a man can have procedures done to make him become pregnant (and I don’t mean with Freudian overtones) but he’s still a man and, by his nature not able to bear a child.)

3. Holy vs. Sacred

“Holy” and “sacred” are not synonymous. To be holy is to be filled with and transformed by the Holy Spirit, whereas to be sacred is to be consecrated for special use. The opposite of “holy” is “wicked,” but the opposite of “sacred” is “profane,” a word that literally means “outside the temple” and has no necessarily negative connotations.

Both sexes are equally called to holiness, while they are called to different roles regarding the sacred. These roles do not prejudice the ability of one sex to become holy: As all the bad popes writhing in Dante’s Inferno amply attest, having a particular access to the sacred and becoming holy are two different matters.

Per Alice von Hildebrand’s The Privilege of Being a Woman, one way of describing the difference is that men are called to be protectors or keepers of the sacred, whereas women are called to be a particular embodiment of the sacred. Von Hildebrand, for instance, writes eloquently on how the female body is sacred in a way that a man’s isn’t. (Readers should note that Alice is a woman. She’s not a man defending a male institution. She’s a woman defending God’s institution.)

The distinction between holiness and sacredness also explains how the same St. Paul who declares that there is “neither male nor female” in Christ (Gal 3:28) can also prescribe very different kinds of comportment for men and women in liturgical worship regarding headdress, lectoring, etc. (1 Cor 11:3-12, 14:34-35). Contrary to popular historicist readings, Paul’s writings are not contradictory “products of their age” but a practical instantiation of the perennial distinction between holy and sacred.

4. Function vs. Symbol

The sexes’ differing relations to the sacred is connected to the innate typology of the Mass. For if men are the custodians of the sacred and women the embodiment, we should find this in the Church’s supreme act of worship.

And we do. Since every Mass is a mini-Incarnation, a re-actualization of the great event that took place when the “yes” of the Blessed Virgin Mary ratified the divine initiative and made God really present in her womb, the sanctuary in which the Mass takes place is effectively a womb. This is why the traditional configuration of a church sanctuary is uterine (there’s a beautiful meditation for your Sunday morning!). With its demarcating border of altar rail or iconostasis, it is an “enclosed garden” (Sg 4:15), a traditional image of maidenhood. (Note that the sanctuary is, at its core, a feminine thing.) And whereas the sanctuary is feminine, her ministers, as representatives of the sanctuary’s divine Husband, are masculine. (For more on this crucial point, see Jacob Michael’s outstanding “Women at the Altar.”)

This is obvious in the case of the priest, the indispensable stand-in for the Groom (unless you’re in Rochester where albed-nuns will suffice) who fructifies the sanctuary-womb by consecrating the Eucharistic elements (whereas a female priest is as impossible as the conjugal union of two women). But is it true for the other liturgical ministers? No and yes: No, it is no more essential for a priest to be attended by males in the sanctuary than it is for a groom to be accompanied by groomsmen in order to validly marry. On the other hand, yes, it is highly appropriate for a priest to be assisted by males in the sanctuary, just as it is highly appropriate for groomsmen to accompany a groom.

And thus our fourth distinction, between function and symbol. From the very first Mass in the Upper Room, which deliberately took place during the ceremonially rich Passover, the liturgy has never been a matter of pure utility. Everything in liturgical tradition has deep significance: In this case, the maleness of its ministers is an icon of the nuptial embrace between Christ and His Church, a dramatization of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

5. Mars vs. Venus

Male custodianship of the sacred is also linked to sacrifice. Although offering oneself as a sacrifice is equally incumbent on both sexes (Rom 12:1), men are the only ones in the Bible who offer physical immolations. Scripture doesn’t say why, but we may hazard a guess. Men after the Fall are the violent sex, more likely to have recourse to bloodshed as a means of obtaining what it wants. While this does not deny that women can also be violent, it does explain the causes of war, the population of our prisons, and the consumer demographic of video-game players.

God’s strategy appears to have been to channel the postlapsarian male’s propensity for violence away from murder toward animal sacrifice as a way of helping him recognize his devious impulses and repent. “God in his seeming bloodthirstiness,” Patrick Downey writes in his superb Desperately Wicked, “is actually more concerned with curing us of our own.” This strategy culminates in the New Covenant, when its High Priest, rather than committing violence, allows Himself to be victimized by it. God’s final solution to the problem of man’s deicidal heart is to give him exactly what he wants. (Let that sink in. Re-read that.)

But the cross is a true sacrifice, as is the sacrifice of the altar which re-presents it. Thus, it remains linked not only to the darkness of the human heart but to the specific problem of male violence. Serving on the altar is actually a healthy form of humiliation for men and boys, for it constitutes a confession of their wicked hearts; God’s restriction of sacrifice to males in the Tabernacle, Temple, and beyond is a back-handed compliment.

6. Good for the Gander, Not the Goose

Altar service is also good for males because it encourages religious vocations and teaches all men to serve chivalrously and to respect the feminine, which is sacred, with reverence and awe. (I know not of a single priest who cannot look back at his altar-serving days and recall an epiphany reached while kneeling in humble service before his God and King.) It is not so for girls. Let us be honest: When we allow a girl to serve at the altar, we are lying to her. We place her in the courtly role of page and tell her she can never be a lord. And we are not encouraging vocations to the convent: For a nun, as Rev. Vincent Miceli persuasively argues in “Sisters as Symbols of the Sacred,” is called to be sacred, not a knightly protector of the sacred.

7. Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up

But wouldn’t the Vatican’s prohibition of female liturgical ministers invite howls of protests from those keen on tarring the Church with the dread label of sexism and the terrifying metaphor of “turning back the clock”? Undoubtedly, but change needn’t happen by centralized proscription. There could be a grassroots movement in which parishes or dioceses restore the nuptial signs of the Eucharistic sacrifice for themselves (St. Thomas, Our Lady of Victory, Latin Mass, Abbey of the Genesee, Carmelite Monastery, etc.). Such a movement could grow organically until it transformed the way the faithful approached liturgical worship.

8. Thermometer vs. Thermostat

Some think we should downplay our hoary traditions in order to fit into our democratic, egalitarian society, as this would render us better citizens. But the opposite is true. The more we differ from society, the more we have something to contribute to it. The last thing our culture needs is more Yes Men bowing before the gender idols of the age (Pray for our bishops); it needs Dutch uncles informed by a loftier view of things. Borrowing a distinction from Martin Luther King Jr., Catholics need to be a thermostat setting the temperature rather than a thermometer reflecting it. An all-male liturgical ministry would be an effective way of preaching the Good News about the higher meaning, so tragically overlooked now, of the noninterchangeable dignity of our sexual natures.

Irondequoit Parish Staff – Deacon Beck is Out

October 22nd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

It is announced in this weekend’s Christ the King/St. Thomas the Apostle bulletin that Deacon Walter Toot of St. Cecilia will be the deacon for Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha parish. This means that Deacon Thomas Beck of St. Thomas will be reassigned by Bishop Clark.

For those keeping score at home, St. Thomas the Apostle still has only one person on the new Irondequoit staff of 19 people, and that person is charged with business duties. There is not a single St. Thomas parishioner on this bloated payroll who has been given a “pastoral” position (i.e- religious education, pastoral associate, youth, etc.). How fitting that after this long and shameful pastoral planning process where St. Thomas was often under (and poorly) represented, that this unjust treatment will continue into the foreseeable future.

Updated staff list:


Fr. Norm Tanck CSB [CTK]
Fr. Morgan Rice CSB [CTK]
Fr. William Leone [SC]
Fr. Timothy Horan [SMM]

Various retired and retired-in-name-only priests serve under these four.


Rev. Mr. Walter Toot [SC]

Lay staff-

Donna Moll (Pastoral associate) [SS]
Mary Ann Noto (Pastoral associate) [SC]
Donna Walker (Pastoral associate/senior) [SMM/St. Anne community]
Mary Ann Obark (Faith Formation) [CTK]
Charles Prindle (Asst. Faith Formation) [SMM]
Jean Grizard (Music) [CTK]
Sarah Mancini (Asst. music) [SMM]
Jack Fianacca (Asst. music) [SC]
Kevin Spears (Youth) [SMM]
Karin Spears (Youth) [SMM]
Ruth Bailey (Youth) [CTK]
Jeff Bailey (Youth) [CTK]
John Luken (Business manager) [STA]
Mary Merkel (Asst. business manager) [CTK]

The number of staff members, incl. priests and deacons, per Irondequouit Pastoral Planning Group parish:

SC 4
SS 1

Note:  One could be a stickler and say “wasn’t Fr. Tanck pastor of St. Thomas?” True, but he was pastor of Christ the King long before he was asked by Bishop Clark to also lead St. Thomas and St. Salome. CTK is run by the Basilians, and that is the parish to which Frs. Tanck and Morgan are assigned.

The New Irondequoit Parish Staff

October 12th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Fr. Tanck has released the names of the people who will make up the staff for the newly created Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha parish in Irondequoit (comprising Christ the King [CTK], St. Thomas the Apostle [STA], St. Salome [SS], St. Margaret Mary [SMM], and St. Cecilia [SC]).

Below is the list of the staff members, along with their church affiliation (excl. maintenance crew):

Donna Moll (Pastoral associate) [SS]
Mary Ann Noto (Pastoral associate) [SC]
Donna Walker (Pastoral associate/senior) [SMM/St. Anne community]
Mary Ann Obark (Faith Formation) [CTK]
Charles Prindle (Asst. Faith Formation) [SMM]
Jean Grizard (Music) [CTK]
Sarah Mancini (Asst. music) [SMM]
Jack Fianacca (Asst. music) [SC]
Kevin Spears (Youth) [SMM]
Karin Spears (Youth) [SMM]
Ruth Bailey (Youth) [CTK]
Jeff Bailey (Youth) [CTK]
John Luken (Business manager) [STA]
Mary Merkel (Asst. business manager) [CTK]

The number of staff members per Irondequouit Pastoral Planning Group parish:

SC 2
SS 1

So much for Fr. Tanck’s claim that he wishes to “combine(s) all the best of the five former parishes into a new, stronger and unified community.” Ten of the 14 staff members for Blessed K. T. parish are from two of the five churches. Surprise surprise, Christ the King is out there in front with five, while STA is bringing up the rear with only one staff member.

I also wish to point out the positions being filled by these staff members. St. Thomas the Apostle does not have a single staff member in the areas of music, faith formation, youth “ministry,” or as a pastoral associate. The only position given to a St. Thomas parishioner is the job of business manager. If it wasn’t obvious before that the diocese had an agenda to eliminate St. Thomas’ traditional practices, it should be apparent now since STA does not have a single staff member in a position of influence pertaining to the celebration of the liturgy or education of the congregation.

The DoR Can’t Play Ignorant Anymore

October 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

If one wanders over to the Diocese of Rochester Mass times page, you will probably notice the following in big bold letters and highlighted in yellow:

Clicking on the link will open a press release which mentions the name for the merged Irondequoit parish, as well as the new Mass times and “last Sunday Mass” dates for St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle churches. If you recall, Bishop Clark stated in his official response to the St. Thomas appeal that, and this is a word for word quotation:

“My decree of May 26, 2010 addresses only the consolidation of the parishes. Should the Diocese of Rochester decide, in the future, to remove the church building as a place of worship, you will again have the opportunity to voice objections and propose recourse.”

If it is the case that Bishop Clark’s decree of Mary 26th, 2010 addressed nothing more than merging the five parishes into a single parish, then how can the DoR explain the following from their press release:

Bishop Matthew Clark recently approved the move to a new, single parish encompassing all the former Irondequoit parishes with three worship sites (Christ the King, St. Margaret Mary and St. Cecilia). As part of that transition:

  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Salome will be celebrated on at Sunday, Sept. 26, at 2 p.m. followed by a reception at the church.
  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle, followed by a reception, will be on Sunday, Nov. 14, at a time to be announced.”

Bishop Clark claims that his decree only address the merger of the five parishes. However, the Diocese of Rochester has posted to their own website that Bishop Clark has given approval for two churches to be eliminated from the newly formed parish. The consequence of this is that two churches will cease to function as a “place of worship” since no Masses will be offered there.

A few comments:

1. Bishop Clark’s decree did not call for St. Thomas and St. Salome to be excluded from the merged Irondequoit parish. If this is not the case, then Bishop Clark lied in his response to the STA appeal when he states:

“Objection 1 asserts that the consolidation of the parishes in Irondequoit penalizes St. Thomas the Apostle above the others. That is not the case since the decree treats each of the current parishes in the same manner.”

This statement from Bishop Clark would be false since St. Thomas and St. Salome are not treated in the same manner if these two churches have all their Masses terminated while the other three do not.

2. If Bishop Clark granted approval to close St. Thomas and St. Salome at some point in time after the decree dated May 26, 2010, then he has failed to properly notify those effected through written decree that he has decided to close St. Thomas and St. Salome as “places of worship.” No decree has been publicly issued which calls for the closure of either parish. A decree must be issued so that the people of St. Thomas can appeal the move to eliminate St. Thomas as a Catholic church.

3. To eliminate Masses at St. Thomas and St. Salome without, or prior to the issuance of a decree from Bishop Clark is an assault on the rights of the lay faithful and a very un-pastoral action.

Fr. Tanck says in the news release, “These can be times of sadness and change but get ready!” The ones who should get ready are Fr. Tanck and the Diocese of Rochester. These shameful actions to backdoor close St. Thomas and St. Salome will surely be challenged. I firmly believe that the cause to save St. Thomas the Apostle will prevail if the parishioners fight it out until the end.

A Party in Irondequoit

September 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Monk

Fr. Tanck’s hand-picked Irondequoit Transition Committee is busy planning the final chapter of St. Thomas the Apostle’s parish life. The final Sunday Mass will be November 14th followed by a “reception.” I heard someone say that it is analogous to family members planning the euthanization of their grandma (against her will), standing around her bed while it is carried out and then all going out and having a party! How can one participate in this injustice?.
Fr. Tanck assured concerned St. Thomas parishioners that the transition team would be different than the IPPG committee and they would have equal representation as the other parishes – two members from each parish. St. Thomas was under represented on the IPPG committee with only one member (a hand-picked parishioner leading the charge for some strange reason to close STA). So the two members Fr. Tanck picked for the transition committee were #1 – He told Fr. Tanck he would not be available for meetings for the entire month of August. Fr. Tanck said “no problem, welcome aboard.” August was the month that most of the committee’s decisions were made. #2 – A St. Thomas parishioner that spends half the year out-of-town. She stood in front of fellow distraught parishioners at the recent listening session and proclaimed what a “terrific” decision it was to close the parish – one she worked at for over 20 years! The insensitivity towards her fellow parishioners was astounding! So much for Fr. Tanck’s assurances…..this entire process has been nothing but a sham with Fr. Tanck having no authority to effectively close St. Thomas the Apostle (or St. Salome) by eliminating their Masses. Shame on him.
Fr. Tanck’s transition committee can plan HIS party but STA parishioners aren’t going to dance on Msgr. Burn’s grave!

LTTE Defends Church Mergers

September 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the letter’s to the editor section of today’s Democrat & Chronicle comes this unnecessary criticism against those who “have spoken about the merging of churches” –

Churches merging out of necessity

People who have spoken about the merging of churches must realize we cannot go back in time. In past years, churches were full. The contributions help pay the upkeep of the church. Now the attendance has declined; where is the money to keep up with expenses? One more very good reason: fewer priests.

Be glad you are able to attend Mass — at available churches.


What purpose does this letter serve? I do not think Ms. Kowalczyk has any business criticizing those who complain about church mergers/closures when she demonstrates a clear ignorance about the subject.

Let us look again at the St. Thomas situation:

1) STA is not in debt. St. Thomas has large sums of money available in the forms of the Msgr. Burns fund and the large (150K+) donation made recently by a former parishioner. This parish is financially stable, and should be for years to come.

2) There is still a surplus of priests in Irondequoit. Currently, the Irondeqouit parish has four active priests: Fr. Tanck CSB, Fr. Rice CSB, Fr. Horan, and Fr. Leone. If each of these priests offers three Masses per weekend, then 12 Masses should be possible every weekend in Irondequoit. The new plan of Fr. Tanck, which calls for three worship sites, only has 10 Masses per weekend (3 @ St. Margaret Mary, 3 @ St. Cecilia, 4 @ Christ the King). This means that two Masses that could be said are not being said. These two Masses, heck even one of them!, could easily be offered for the 450+ people at St. Thomas the Apostle. This number of four active priests does not take into account the five (or is it six?) retired priests who offer their services to the Irondequoit parish. So what we’re dealing with in Irondequoit is ten priests offering ten Masses. Doesn’t sound very efficient to me. Take into account that some people have written us saying that priests are concelebrating weekday Masses in Irondequoit and one can see that something is not right here.

Ms. Kowalczyk, learn the facts before you write letters to the editor defending church mergers/closures. And by the way, we don’t all live in the town with one of the largest parishes in the DoR who enjoys the luxury of having three priests on staff.

Fr. Tanck Feigns Compassion

September 23rd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the keyboard of Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB, pastor of the five Irondequoit churches:

What a joke.

How can we take any of these “kind” words from Fr. Tanck seriously when he, and so far he alone, is the driving force behind this attempt to close St. Thomas and St. Salome without any decree issued from Bishop Clark? I will say this once more; a priest has no authority to close churches, only a bishop can do this. Bishop Clark has not issued a decree to close St. Thomas or St. Salome. The only decrees issued have dealt with the merger of the five parishes into one, and the assignment of a name to the parish. Fr. Tanck is attempting to close these churches on his own.

Fr. Tanck and Buffalo Road (who is conspicuously silent about what is going on) will not prevail in these backdoor attempts to close St. Thomas and St. Salome. Truth and justice will prevail. While the DoR has been able to play games with other parishes they has wished to eradicate before, the people of STA are far too aware of the diocese’s tactics, and are willing to fight this to the end.

Below is the decree approving the new name for the merged Irondequoit parish:

A reader sends along this interesting query to the Canon lawyers at EWTN about giving a parish a name different from the church building(s). This part in particular seems applicable to the DoR’s recent habit of giving names to parishes with multiple churches:

“”It is often done under the pretext of giving a parish a name that is distinct from the name of the church buildings. However, nothing in canon law authorizes the giving of a parish a name, yet I have seen this abuse repeatedly. Only Church buildings are to be given a name (or title). It is part of the dedication or consecration of the sacred place.””

Let’s be honest….

September 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Monk

Fr Tanck stated repeatedly during the IPPG planning process that all the parishes in Irondequoit would suffer loss in the new parish configuration.  He stated some parishes would suffer more loss than others but that it was important that they “all die together.” Looking at the new Irondequoit parish Mass schedule, it appears that Fr. Tanck’s home parish has suffered little indeed! Christ the King entered the IPPG process with four weekend Masses, two daily Masses, and a Saturday morning Mass. They also had a resident pastor (Fr. Tanck). Hey, guess what? After the IPPG reconfiguration. Christ the King has four weekend Masses, two daily Masses, and a Saturday morning Mass. Fr. Tanck continues to be the resident pastor. It appears that Fr. Tanck has taken care of his home parish very nicely as he slams the doors shut on St. Thomas and St. Salome.  In reality, St. Margaret Mary and St. Cecilia parishioners will also experience little change in their day-to-day practices. How can all Irondequoit Catholics believe Fr. Tanck when he states that “we are going forward as a new vibrant faith community?”

New Irondequoit Mass Schedule

More Lies From Fr. Tanck

September 7th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Check out the bunk in the latest Christ the King/St. Thomas the Apostle/St. Salome bulletin from the Irondequoit parish pastor, Fr. Norm Tanck. In this passage, Fr. Tanck attempts to justify his rather rash decision to close down St. Thomas and St. Salome without any decree of closure issued from Bishop Clark:

That’s a lie, Fr. Tanck. Bishop Clark’s decree states that the five parishes will merge into a single parish. There was not one word from the bishop to the effect that churches will be closing. In fact, Bishop Clark went out of his way to clarify this in his response to the St. Thomas the Apostle appeal.

Below is the relevant excerpt from the bishop’s response:

“My decree of May 26, 2010 addresses only the consolidation of the parishes. Should the Diocese of Rochester [Not Fr. Norm Tanck] decide, in the future, to remove the church building as a place of worship, you will again have the opportunity to voice objections and propose recourse.”

These words above are from the horse’s mouth. Bishop Clark has proclaimed that his decree did not call for the closure of any church buildings. Fr. Tanck, defying the authority of his ordinary and violating the Code of Canon Law, has taken it upon himself to close down two churches. A priest can not do this!

A D&C Article with Balance

September 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Something I don’t get to say very often.

Today the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle published an article about the recent decision of Fr. Norm Tanck to shut the doors of St. Thomas and St. Salome churches beginning this fall. Unlike previous articles in this particular publication, opinions from both sides in the matter were received and printed. Instead of using, say, Margi Ochs as the voice of STA, the D&C selected a parishioner who actually wants to see their church stay open (there are over 400 who do).

A couple of items caught my eye in this piece. The first is Fr. Tanck’s comment below:

“The status of St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle is unclear. The Rev. Norm Tanck, pastor of the clustered churches, said that after the announced dates, “We will not be having Masses for the time being.” He said the parish will be able to hold funerals at the churches, and a chapel at St. Thomas will be useable. He also said the churches will not be used for daily Masses after the announced dates — but reiterated that the parish is not saying the churches will close.”

So now the two churches are not “closing”? This is the same little game the IPPG, influenced by Fr. Norm Tanck, has been playing all along. At every step in the process, the leaders would say “no decision has been made” and “no churches are closing.” However, as each step in this process has unfolded, we get closer and closer to that ultimate reality predicted from the beginning. Deny it all you want, Fr. Tanck, but your true intentions are clear. To suspend all Masses at St. Thomas and St. Salome is to effectively close these churches. You are attempting to show that these churches are unnecessary for the survival and good health of the Irondequoit parish. Boy, are he and the diocese going to be in for a rude awakening after they celebrate these “final Masses.”

I encourage the people of St. Thomas to NOT attend an Irondequoit parish church (Christ the King, St. Cecilia, St. Margaret Mary) after Fr. Tanck closes the doors on STA. Find a parish outside the IPPG sites (such as OLV, St. Stanislaus, Holy Cross).  Do not let this little experiment being carried out by the diocese succeed in any way. If minimal losses to attendance occur, then the diocese and Fr. Tanck have justification to close STA and SS. They will be able to claim that neither worship site is really necessary, and most people have easily made the transition to the new parish. If you do not proceed to the new Irondequoit parish, however, then their experiment will fail and they have nothing to point to to suggest that permanently closing STA and SS is a wise and pastoral decision.

There is one more passage in the article I would like to touch upon:

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has largely kept out of the dispute, saying Bishop Matthew Clark accepted recommendations from a planning group of members of each parish.”

Once again, Bishop Matthew Clark and co. are holding their hands up in the air, trying to convince you that they are clean of the blood of this atrocity. One can easily see the red liquid dripping from their finger tips. Who appointed Fr. Tanck in charge of STA and SS? Bishop Clark. Who has ignored the complaints of the people about Fr. Tanck’s  shabby pastoral care and obvious desires to shut down these two burdens placed upon him? Bishop Clark. Who signed a decree calling for the merger of the five parishes into one? Bishop Clark.

The bishop is very much involved in this dispute, and he has been from day one. He and Fr. Tanck can try to hide behind these hand-picked lay committees all they want, but it is their will which is being carried out, not that of the people. To all the lay committee folk making the bishop’s decisions: how do you sleep at night knowing that you are just being used pawns in Bishop Clark’s chess game? The only reason you people were selected is because the diocese and pastor found they can manipulate you to get the outcome they desire. Do you honestly think you would have been appointed if they expected any kind of disagreement to the plans they already had in mind? You were selected because they knew they could use you, and you would smile and enjoy the power trip of being on a special planning committee. Enjoy the fun while it lasts. You’ll probably be appointed to committees in the new parish too. Good for you and God bless you… I hope you’re happy with what you have done.

Bishop Clark and Fr. Tanck, own up to your own decisions and stop hiding behind your hand-picked laypeople. If you want to play games with 800 souls, then at least play fair.

Fr. Tanck Attempts to Close St. Thomas and St. Salome

August 31st, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Cleansing Fire has received a copy of the letter which the Irondequoit parish leaders are about to send out to their parishioners concerning the Mass schedule for the newly merged parish (now titled “Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha”). If you wish to read the letter in its entirety, and I encourage you to do so, please click here for the PDF file. In the letter, Frs. Tanck CSB, Horan, Leone and Rice CSB state that the churches of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome will close. The St. Salome closing Mass has already been scheduled for September 26th at 2 PM. The St. Thomas Mass is presently scheduled for November 14th, but as we know, a challenge to the Vatican is undoubtedly going to come from the Save STA effort. This appeal could take up to a year or longer, depending on the resources of those appealing the decision and the willingness of the Vatican to listen.

The interesting thing about all of this is that no decision has been made by Bishop Clark! There has yet to surface any public decree from the desk of Bishop Matthew Clark with his signature which calls for and provides reasonable justification for the closure of St. Thomas the Apostle or St. Salome. However, here are the priests and the hand-picked lay transition committee effectively making the decision to close churches on their own. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that such an action is a blatant violation of Canon Law. Priests and laypersons possess no authority whatsoever to close a church. Only a bishop may carry out such an action, after careful consultation with his council of priests. Has either occurred?


1. Bishop Clark has failed to consult the presbyteral council concerning the closure of St. Thomas and St. Salome. His previous consultation with the council concerned the merger of the five Irondequouit parishes into a single parish.

2. Bishop Clark has failed to issue a decree which calls for the closure of St. Thomas and/or St. Salome. A decree is required by Canon Law. You can not “backdoor” close a church by suspending Masses as the Irondequoit Transition Team, headed by Fr. Norm Tanck, is attempting to do. Bishop Clark even stated in his response to the previous appeal that should closure later be necessary, that he would issue a decree which could then be appealed. Where is this decree? The Irondequouit leaders are making decisions about closing Masses before any closure has even been ordered. Who does things like that?

So what needs to happen before STA can even be considered for closure? The bishop will need to meet with the prebysteral council on this matter, he needs to consider their advice (which from what we have heard about the previous meeting, was in favor of keeping STA open), then he needs to issue a decree which the people of St. Thomas can appeal. How can the diocese even think it will get away with closing these churches without permitting an appeal?

Below is the proposed Mass schedule:

Saturday: 4:00 PM Christ the King
4:30 PM St. Margaret Mary
5:00 PM St. Cecilia
Sunday: 7:30 AM Christ the King
8:30 AM St. Cecilia
9:00 AM St. Margaret Mary
9:30 AM (Until Nov 14) St. Thomas the Apostle
10:00 AM Christ the King
10:30 AM St. Cecilia
11:00 AM St. Margaret Mary
5:00 PM (To be added on Nov 28) Christ the King

Monday – Friday: 6:30 (CTK), 8:00 (CTK), 9:00 (St.C), 11:30 (St.MM)
Saturday 8:00 (CTK), 9:30 (St.C)

According to this schedule, St. Margaret Mary and St. Cecilia will both have three weekend Masses, while Christ the King will have FOUR. Is it unreasonable to have this fourth Mass at Christ the King be celebrated at St. Thomas the Apostle? Additionally, Christ the King will continue to have two Masses per weekday. Could not one of these be offered at St. Thomas each day? Why should CTK have 2 daily Masses?

One more time, let’s review the facts concerning St. Thomas the Apostle, and try to determine if their is reasonable justification to close the church:

-STA has a congregation of nearly 500 persons. No parish of comparable size has been closed in the Diocese of Rochester. The next highest number was in the low 300s (Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Holy Family). The diocese currently has several suburban Monroe County parishes drawing the same or less attendance than St. Thomas. These include Our Lady Queen of Peace, St. Thomas More, Church of the Resurrection, Holy Name of Jesus, and Our Lady of Lourdes. None of these have even been rumored for closure.

-STA is financially stable. Unlike the other three churches slated to remain open in Irondequoit, STA has no debt and even has a significant amount of money in reserve. STA also has perhaps the most valuable property of the IPPG sites. The former school is rented.

-STA has a perpetual adoration chapel on campus.

-STA has adequate parking.

-STA has the largest church building in Irondequoit, and perhaps even the diocese. This church is appropriate for  “fewer, larger” churches.

-STA requires no capital expenditures such as renovations or additions. St. Cecilia will require expansion.

-STA contains the buried remains of Msgr. Burns within feet of the church building.

-STA has a shrine in honor of the unborn.

-STA is the only parish in the entire diocese to utilize an altar rail for a Novus Ordo Mass.

-STA’s attendance has stabilized over the past year, while St. Margaret Mary’s continues to plummet.

-The diocese and the pastor have done little to strengthen STA or St. Salome. The diocese discouraged St. George Lithuanian from selecting STA as its new worship site. The pastor has been abrasive toward the people of STA (driving many away), and has gone to great lengths to avoid celebrating Mass there. For a couple months this year, he did not make a single appearance for Mass (according to parishioners). Fr. Tanck is also reported to have deprived the people of the Sacrament of Confession once in pettiness.  His bulletin articles have been condescending, including the one where he calls his parishioners “negative, vehement, and organized” (August 23rd, 2009 bulletin). Let’s not forget his appearance in a CBS/Fox piece with a local Sikh reporter that portrayed the good people of St. Thomas as insensitive. The people have received poor pastoral care from their “pastor.”

This whole thing is corrupt. I do not wish any particular success to Fr. Tanck and co. with this new Irondequoit parish. This parish might as well be called Christ the King, because once again, that’s where the pastor’s loyalties will lie. To borrow a quote from Rush Limbaugh, “I hope he fails.”

My prayers for the people of St. Thomas and St. Salome. You have all been treated like dirt by your pastor and the diocese. This is not right, and I wish you the best in your appeal (provided you even get the chance to make one). This reckless endangerment of souls that the diocese is engaged in needs to stop. The political games against the traditional Catholics of St. Thomas is deplorable.

If any of our readers wish to make a contribution to the Save STA effort, you can send money to:

P.O. Box 17664
Rochester, NY   14617
I imagine that they will protect your anonymity if you so desire. Remember to pray, pray, pray. Not only for the people of STA, who desperately need assistance, but that this scary diocesan trend is quickly put to a stop.

Gather Them In – the St. Thomas Situation

August 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

We have received the new schedule for Masses in the Irondequoit cluster. The last Sunday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle is scheduled for November 14th, 2010.

Here are some of the pieces mentioned by Fr. Tanck in the announcement.

  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Salome will be celebrated on Sunday, September 26, at 2:00 PM followed by a reception at the church.  A group at St. Salome has been working on preparing that liturgy and reception.
  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle and social reception will be on Sunday, November 14.  A committee at St. Thomas will be established to work on preparing for that day.  Until November 14 there will be a 9:30 AM Sunday Mass at St. Thomas.
  • A 5:00 PM Sunday Mass, at Christ the King will be added to the regular schedule of weekend Sunday Masses on the First Sunday of Advent, November 28.  It is hoped that this Mass would become a special community Mass followed by such things as youth group meetings, young adult gatherings and pot luck dinners.

I think they’re hoping that if they shove cookies at the undernourished souls of St. Thomas and St. Salome everyone will be peachy-keen about the changes. Well, that’s just stupid. Do the folks on the PTT (Parish Transition Team) really think that people are going to go to the new Mass(es) at different worship sites, just because they’re being given community-friendly Mass? I thought the new parish was supposed to “incorporate” the worship styles of each community – where’s the Mass with the communion rail? Will there be one neume of Gregorian Chant? We know the answers to these questions. And so does Fr. Tanck. A pastor is a shepherd of his flock, one who is entrusted with their spiritual well-being. Where’s the comfort for the parishioners of St. Thomas and St. Salome? Is it in the heart of Fr. Tanck, or in the hearts of those who spend their nights on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament in St. Thomas’ adoration chapel?

I can’t say that I’m surprised by the bluntness and lack-lustre “charity” of the announcement. You know, one of the most frustrating things about the whole situation is that the people say “no” and their own priests, with one obvious exception, say “no” too. The priest council debated the point, and there were several priests voicing their praises of St. Thomas. But, alas, they’re closing. Does the Bishop not care that reality is in favor of keeping St. Thomas open? St. Margaret Mary’s received the kiss of death from Nancy DeRycke. St. Cecilia’s is dying off very quickly. Christ the King is stable, but has a reputation for heterodox teaching and liturgy. St. Thomas was perfectly stable before the IPPG got their grubby paws on it, pushing her into a marriage she didn’t want.

The best metaphor I could really conceive on the spur of the moment was the following scene from the Patriot. The people of St. Thomas are sticking together, like the colonists. Like the colonists, the parishioners wanted to trust their leadership, but received nothing but condescension and spiteful words and actions. When they tried to deal with the British military/IPPG and the British commanders/Bishop Clark, Fr. Tanck, all they received was hostility. Now, when they’re confronted with their moment of truth, their choice to yield or resist, the people of St. Thomas must stay together, at all costs, to fight off the wolves who are tightening their circle around them. While the patriots in the film were burned to death by British brutality, I pray that the people of St. Thomas endure through the smoke which is rising around about them. After all, we’re the ones with “Fire” on our side. All they have are pushy nuns, folk hymnals, bongo drums, and felt banners. Not an impressive arsenal, that.

It has been said that the Church is nourished by the blood of the martyrs. I’d like to remind all of us that this blood isn’t just the literal scarlet flood, but the spiritual anguish of our own hearts. The people of so many parishes and schools in the DoR have been oppressed, wounded, and suffered grievous transgressions. Look around you, and you see the monuments to Rochester’s suffering. Our orthodox parishes are targeted for no other reason but for humble obedience. Just as St. Anne was immolated upon the altar of feminism, so too may St. Thomas be grilled over the coals of progressivism’s scheming. Anyone who has the gall to love Tradition in Rochester walks around with a target on his or her heart, just begging to be pierced by the Bishop’s rancorous lance. Let’s not disappoint, shall we? Wear your target with pride, and when your soul is pierced, find joy in knowing that just as you suffer, so too did Our Lord suffer. Couple your sorrows and your anguish to his. In doing this, there can be no defeat, no lasting bitterness. It is a joyful thing to be able to suffer for the Church, and at the hands of the Church’s own shepherds. It is a purifying pain which, when held and examined yields the fruits of Christian charity. Bear all things patiently, with longsuffering, and do not cease to pray. Your ordeal isn’t just your own, but Our Lord’s as well. And let me tell you, friends, He will not permit Himself to be offended forever.

We are praying for you,  just as you have prayed for us.

Weekday Morning Masses Suspended at St. Margaret Mary’s

August 29th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The following is taken from St. Margaret Mary’s “The Monitor” –

Important Notice
FYI The 8:30 morning Mass has been discontinued at St.
Margaret Mary’s. Early morning masses are celebrated at
Christ the King @ 6:30 & 8:00 AM M-F, Sat: 8 AM; at
St. Cecilia’s @ 9:00 AM, Sat: 9:30 AM; at St. Thomas the
Apostle’s @ 8:00 AM M-S. Watch for further updates.

I really don’t know what to think about this. SMM will still have a mid-day Mass at 11:30 AM, but still . . . to strip one of the Irondequoit worship sites of half of their Daily Masses and point to St. Thomas as a replacement . . . there’s something going on here. If the IPPG proposal, i.e. “close St. Salome and St. Thomas,” is to be accepted by the Bishop, isn’t it a tad irresponsible to direct the faithful to a parish which, in theory, won’t be around for very long? It’s amazing how the entire situation in Irondequoit is cloudy and uncertain, with one priest contradicting another, the Bishop distancing himself from the problem, and the people simply wanting answers but getting questions instead. Our prayers are with all those involved in the consolidation process in Irondequoit, especially those who are beginning to taste the bitter fruits of a lack of priestly vocations.

It’s In the Mail

August 29th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

It was confirmed at this weekend’s Masses in the IPPG parish that the newly merged community will be named after Blessed (not “Saint”, so don’t say “saint”) Kateri Tekakithwa. Cleansing Fire reported on this a couple days ago.

Also announced at Masses in Irondequoit is that a new schedule has been developed and approved for the parish. Rather than announce the schedule at Masses or include it in the parish bulletin, it will be mailed to each parishioner. Thus, we do not yet have a copy of the schedule in our hands. I hope that one of our readers from the IPPG parishes will send us a copy as soon as the letter arrives. One can not expect good things for St. Thomas or St. Salome when they weren’t even included on the survey asking parishioners what church they would like to attend:

Flawed IPPG survey

To the IPPG priests: St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome are not closed. Bishop Clark has never decreed their closure. If you fail to include these two churches of some 800 people into the new Mass schedule, you will have committed a pastorally irresponsible act against 800 souls.  Show some compassion. Both of these churches should have at least one Sunday obligation Mass per week, and preferably not scheduled at 4:30 in the morning.

Beware folks, as we said before, the diocese is going to try to backdoor close St. Thomas and St. Salome. Cutting weekend Mass offerings will be the first action taken in this process.