Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘STA’

Update on Latin Mass Community / STA

December 15th, 2014, Promulgated by Diane Harris

These updates on the Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle Church ScreenShot368 are only temporary until that community has its own website. Then we will add their website address to the “links” here.

(You might want to revisit the “Useful Links” if you haven’t been there in a while.  Basic resources, in particular, have been updated. Suggestions are welcome.)

Meanwhile, as a community service, here is some information announced yesterday, Dec. 14, at Mass at STA.

1. Registration:  Those who previously registered at St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish and now want to be members of the Latin Mass Community (which includes the English Mass at 9AM and the Latin Mass at 11:15AM each Sunday), and have their donations counted for that Latin Mass Community and receive a year end contributions statement,  should put name and address on the bright colored registration forms found at STA, and write in large letters across the form “Latin Mass Community.”  They need not fill in anything else, and they will be transferred at St. Kateri to the Latin Mass Community registration.  They should also use the Latin Mass (blue) envelopes in all collections.

2. Mass Scheduling:  To have a Mass said for a particular intention, call 585-484-1810 (or email ) and leave a message including the name of the person for whom the Mass will be offered, if the person is living or deceased, date and time of Mass desired (9AM or 11:15AM) and a phone number to reach you.

3. Christmas Confessions: Will be held at STA on Monday, December 22, 2014, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM.  Confessors will include Fr. Bonsignore, Fr. Helfrich, and Fr. Van Lieshout.

In other news, children’s clothes and toys for ages newborn to 14 years will be collected on December 21st at the STA entrances. Info: 467-8747.  

St. Thomas Parishioners Locked Out

July 31st, 2013, Promulgated by Gen

Just when it seemed that the situation in Irondequoit had reached some sort of equilibrium, Fr. English reminds us that this is not the case. After having instructed parishioners of St. Thomas (sorry…St. Kateri Tekakwitha at St. Thomas the Apostle) not to pray their daily Rosaries there, the administration of the “parish” decided to change the locks on the doors to the church. This was done without any prior notification of the parishioners, adorers, or other visitors who sought to visit Our Lord in His holy place. 398574_10150600168381842_509333251_n

Simply put, Fr. English has locked his own parishioners out of their own church. Remember: St. Thomas the Apostle has not been closed. It is an open church, consecrated and fully able to minister sacramentally to the people of the city, presuming, of course, that her priest(s) choose not to shirk their duty to do so. The parish has been stripped of its Masses, its confession schedule, and all devotions, and for no other reason than a warped sense of political expediency. This is not pastoral planning; this is pastoral vengeance.

The people of St. Thomas have been fighting for years to maintain a presence in their own church. They ought never to have needed to do so, based on their stable finances, demographics, and campus upkeep. Indeed, of all the Irondequoit parishes, St. Thomas was in the best position to facilitate a gentle transition to a prosperous worship community. This was overlooked by many, though. Every individual in a position of authority lorded that authority over the people of St. Thomas, and did this only because of one reason: St. Thomas the Apostle rejoices in its Catholic identity. The same cannot be said of Christ the King, where the casual observer finds himself asking, “is this really a Catholic church?”

The willful and deliberate targeting of St. Thomas has been an unquestionable trend for the past several years, and this most recent transgression refreshes in our minds the memories of past injustices. The manner in which the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle has been “dealt with” bears a striking similarity to the Jews’ treatment of Our Lord in his final days. The Diocese, like the High Priest and his minions, hides behind flawed interpretations of Canon Law, and bends the Law to suit its own agenda. The machinations of the priests took place in darkness, hidden from the light of day, from the light of Truth. Fr. English, I think it is fair to say, is not acting entirely dissimilarly in this matter.

76079_461342011841_6916584_n We should ask of him several questions, to see what possible justification he might have in locking his parishioners out of their worship site. Primarily, why now? What happened to prompt him to seal shut the doors of one of his own churches? Was there theft? Was there mistreatment of property? Did someone say their “Hail Mary” a little too loudly for his liking? Next, we should ask what part of Canon Law allows a pastor to lock his flock out of their church? He might say that locks are changed frequently, and for all sorts of reasons. And this is true. However, in most instances when a parish has its locks changed, the pastor sees to it that the faithful actually have access to the church, and don’t find themselves left out on the steps. His defense might be that “we don’t use St. Thomas for Mass any more. We worship at St. Cecelia, Christ the King, and St. Margaret Mary.” Yes, that is true. But St. Thomas is not closed, and being in that state, cannot be locked to the faithful. The Vatican ruled that it could not “save” St. Thomas because, on paper, St. Thomas is not in any need of being saved. It is officially open. There is no doubt about this. And, maybe I just don’t understand, maybe I don’t speak English too good, but isn’t an “open” church actually supposed to be open?

As of this writing, the canon lawyer representing St. Thomas has been contacted, and is working on resolving the situation. Let us pray for a resolution that is just and equitable for the parishioners. But remember: our politically-motivated priests don’t operate with a focus on the Faith, on objective Truth. No. They can’t focus their eyes on anything, living and operating as they do in the shadow-lands of legality. Do not expect, dear friends, to be dealt with by those in charge with any semblance of respect or charity. But stand firm, be vigilant, do not yield. The Office of Compline tells us, “Be sober and watchful, for our adversary, the devil, goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. But resist, ye, strong in faith.” Take this to heart, and approach this issue prayerfully, with composure, dignity, and certitude.

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.