Sunday, August 1, 2010

New article up at SavingOurParish.com

Do take a quiet moment to read the newest contribution,  "The Role of the Laity in the Church," on  SavingOurParish.com. Here's a bit:

Why are the people of God not being listened to? Why is the Holy Spirit, speaking through us, being ignored? Why are ancient as well as current teachings of the Church failing to be lived by our parish leaders? Do they ascribe to a neo-Gnosticism that only they, the leaders, have special knowledge of the Holy Spirit? How come we, the faithful, are not listened to by our parish leaders?

For background on Lumen Gentium, one of the principle documents of the Second Vatican Council that is referenced in the new article, go here.

65 comments:

  1. We are not stupid. Yet parish leadership over the last 14 years have treated us as ignorant little children. Do you remember when Father Spilly was transferred back in 1996? Someone in the new staff makeup decided to change to what is referred to as the Canadian Lectionary. When this decision was challenged, the comment was made that most of us parishioners would not know the difference. We were finally listened to and the Canadian Lectionary was removed. This is just one example from the last fourteen years of leadership thinking we are simpletons. Does not God reside in us as Temples of the Holy Spirit? Is not Christ present in our gatherings in His Name? Why are we ignored and treated as know-nothings? Why does Jesus who lives in our hearts speak to us while yet our leadership not listen to Him as he speaks through us? Why do they devalue us and the work that the Holy Spirit does through us?
    Thank you for this article. I would post my name, but whenever I spoke to our parish leadership over the past fourteen years either I or one of my immediate or extended family received retribution (I was asked to resign from a committee, a staff person refused to talk to my spouse or children, and more.) So I suffer from their abuse in anonymity.

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  2. You are so correct. I too have suffered persecution from challenging the authority of current leadership. We are to sit in the pews like mindless manequins. We are to let others think for us. We are to never ask the questions that beg to be asked. We are to follow, follow, follow. NOT. Being Catholic doesn't mean that you are obligated to submit to the ill-managed influence of poor leaders. It's OK to object!!! It's OK to demand accountability!!! It's OK to stand up for our Catholic Church!!!

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  3. Another good article- kudos to the writing crew. As uncomforatable as it makes those who are the peacemakers, it is required that at times we must enter into battle. Today, All Saints parish is under attack. Along with ASA, it's very future is being threatened. How we fight back is the question. As the above article states, we, the laity, have the right to determine the future of our parish. When drastic changes are implemented by Deacon Dean and supported by only a handful of council representatives and a few on-staff members, we are not represented adequately. I remember a few years ago when a pew survey was done. I can't recall the topic, but I do recall that the results were never revealed! I suggest that a survey is done by an organization from outside the parish or the diocese. I suggest that questions are drawn from parishioners and the results are not compilied by the parish. All results should be provided to every parishioner. Only then will Dean get a true and unbiased feel for the "state of the parish". It is this tyoe of information that should have been utilized in his "Strategic Plan".

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  4. How is it that the most popular demonination in the entire world is ill-equipted to deal with poor leaders? I enjoy having a chance to vent through this site and am grateful to those who provide. However, I am doubtful that it will change anything. Is there anyone who will listen to us?

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  5. Might be people at the higher levels who will listen but don't count on anything being done. Tough times with the priest problems and shortages. Pretty much, we are stuck with whoever we get, unless a law is violated, they won't remove him.

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  6. I agree this site is good for venting but not good for getting things accomplished. I think the only way your voice will be heard is not being an Anonymous person on a website but rather being a person that is involved. As I stated before, call the leadership talk to them face to face, get nominated to be on the Parish Council, go to meetings, volunteer to be on a committee, work with the teens, serve donuts after church or even play on the softball team.
    I don't necessarily agree with everything that is happening, I am still upset about Marie but it is time to move on and work with Cory to make the teen program the best it can be. I don't like what happened to Alene either, but if we don't get ourselves together and work to make things better we are going to be right back into the same situation next year. Let's use this site to develop ideas to improve OUR church rather than just point out all the things that are wrong.

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  7. The new edge program for the kids is not very good. I made my son go all year but he resented every minute. The kids that were junior high age went because they had to go for confirmation and I heard that only a few high school teens are coming. Forcing kids to go only makes them resent the church.

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  8. Mark, I am involved. My family is involved. We cannot make things better if there is an agenda that is not honest. Your rail against anonymity, yet major parish decisions, such as Marie McCaig's position, have been glossed over by our leadership as a privacy and personnel issue. You cannot have it both ways. Either we shed light in every corner or we don't.

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  9. Kathy, finally a name....very good. As I had stated I am not happy with all that went on around the Marie issue, there was a lot of work done by many people to make that work but it did not happen.
    Can you help us understand what you see as the not honest agenda that is out there?

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  10. Mark, you are on both sides of the fence. Time to stand for yourself and stop flip-flopping all over the place. The man has made a disaster of many matters including the youth ministry situation. You yourself saw that the FBI youth retreat was a huge succcess. A new youth minister can't just be appointed and expect everyone is going to run over to him. Success depends on leadership and a devotion to the kids..not just when it's convenient for him. Count how many times you see Cory at daily Mass and while you're at it how about the Deacon. They certainly aren't impressing any kids by their attendance.

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  11. My 2 teens will not be attending the life teen program this year but it's not because we are holding on to past experiences or that we didn't try. They attended several times last year but it was an effort to get them there. They were uncomfortable. They do attend the FBI. They look forward to the projects in the community, being with their friends and the retreat was an incredible weekend. Initially our family decided to support both the parish program and the FBI program but as someone stated above, forcing the kids to attend is counter-productive. I wish things were different but there doesn't seem to be any solution.

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  12. I'm glad that there is an alternative to Life Teen..that being the FBI group. There are no pressures and the kids are encouraged to attend Life Teen,too, if they so choose. But it's been said that with Life Teen they are not encouraged to attend the FBI. How sad is that?

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  13. Mark- A recent issue that has not been addressed honestly is the termination of Alene. Those who are close to her know why she was released and that it was not related to finances. Dean couldn't get her to worship him or his word or his direction. This is the truth. So he compromises the faith formation of many, many good Catholics, and future Catholics, inorder to create the "feel good" environment at 222 Dodge Avenue. It's really tough, Mark, to get behind this man and his agenda. Really tough. If you are able to do this- good for you. But please try to understand that other's are making prayerful choices that demand alternative action.

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  14. You hit it perfectly. Dean has an agenda and if you don't "buy into it" then you will be gone. It's also known that others on the staff don't like him but are fearful of losing their jobs also so they are putting on a front.

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  15. Mark- Some of us are too tired to fight any more and have already done all that you suggest. Now what? Leaving seems like the easiest way out. This is all very heart breaking. This is my parish but it no longer feels like home.

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  16. Who on staff would ever dare to challenge the man??????

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  17. The way to move on is to have new leadership. nothing will get better until that is done. if good is not coming from the top down, we're just spinning our wheels and NOTHING will get better. business world is like that. if top mgmt doesn't buy into what you are working on, you will not accomplish the goals of your task at hand. marriage is like that in a way. if you're not on the same page, how can there be peace within yourself and with each other? it just seems obvious to me but i don't understand why the diocese is so oblivious?

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  18. I agree with above. The fight to keep the McCaigs was too much. And what did we gain. and with Alene there is no more fight left. We lose. He wins. Not much we can do to stop the bleeding.

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  19. The diocese knows what is going on but what can they do? Move him to another parish? What would they gain by this. Until he changes the way he thinks, he will struggle wherever they send him. He needs to reevaluate his gifts and redirect his vocation. But as long as the diocese pats him on the back, it won't happen. I think he is a decent man just not an effective leader.

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  20. Don't forget Father Phil on the list of casualties.

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  21. Can we start coming up with solutions. We all know the problem but is there a way to fix it? I am willing to drive to Rochester if it would help. Somebody must be able to intervene. I find it difficult to believe that they would turn their heads if they knew it was this bad. I know that some people are nver happy and there are always those who complain about every little thing but this is ridiculous. Every time I go someplace and run into someone from the parish all I hear is "The parish is a mess".

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  22. Mark Cook- If we all get behind our leaders (the president, educators, lawyers,etc...) in situations where what they are doing or teaching is hurting our country or our kids, (Abortion issues, moral issues, etc) what a country we would live in. I think we need to stand up when there is an injustice. Teaching our kids that the church is worth fighting for is a good thing. Demanding accountability to our leaders is a good thing. I don't get why you seem to imply that we need to roll over and play dead while the parish is feeling steam-rolled by the agenda of 1 person. He is self-serving and he doesn't care who he hurts to get his way. How can you support this?

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  23. Good point. You know, there will always be problems in the church, Jesus put humans in charge! But seriously, it's a tragedy to witness All Saints in such turmoil. I think we do need to turn to Rochester for some direction. Won't they send someone from HR to help? Has anybody made this contact? I have a real problem if they refuse to get involved- aren't we paying their salaries?

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  24. You insinuate that there are staff members who are fake and putting on a happy face for fear they might lose their jobs. Please, wake up. These are the ones on the inside and if you asked them, I'm sure they would tell you that there was a very different side to Alene not revealed to the public.

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  25. You would be wise to not attack Alene. There is NOBODY on recent staff who has established better relationships with parishioners. Ask around. It is obvious that YOU are on staff. This is a typical response from someone who suffering from jealousy. Discrediting Alene won't work- sorry. We all know her better. Heck- even Dean stated that she was a great employee and you should exercise caution to not contradict him or you'll be the next one out-the-door.

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  26. Leave her alone. Through her ministry she touched the lives of more children and families than anyone on staff. If you experienced another side within the walls of 222, perhaps it was in response to the unhealthy environment. I honestly don't know how she tolerated it for as long as she did.

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  27. This is clearly from someone on the inside. Shame on you. She's hurting enough as it is, why would you add to her pain? She will rise like cream to the top- and then what will you have to say?

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  28. Hey does anyone know any information on how to formally lodge complaints to the bishop? Ever since Dean arrived there has been nothing but turmoil!! You go "against the grain" and you get fired and most of all ignored. Father Phil and Father Mark were gone in a matter of months. The McCaigs were completly shunned and treated like garbage even though our youth program flourished. Now Alene and Eleanor are gone..What is next? Two more churches closed and torn down? Stop running away Dean and face the music!!! We dont like being ignored and we want to be heard!!! Stop with the secrets and the wasting of precious money!!! Get with the program or get moving!!! We as a parish need to stand up for whats right before its too late!!! NO KOOL-AID FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!

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  29. Pretty sad to say anything negative about such a positive person as Alene. She actually encougaged people not to leave and go to other churches or to "run away" from the problems. She fought as long as she could and finally the reality of it all caught up to her. Whoever on the inside who has taken it upon themselves to make up such a falacy has sold their soul to the devil.

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  30. Would anyone be able to help out with an address for Amy? I cannot seem to find the one I had. Thanks in advance.

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  31. OMGoodness. Alene was a jekyl and hyde? And for 22 years she slipped through the cracks? This would be laughable were it not so sad. Hang in there Alene. We know who you are and what you stood for. There is nobody currently on staff who will begin to fill your shoes. They can dissect your job but they can't dissect what you have done for this faith community.

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  32. Hey folks- The GOOD NEWS for us is that at least we know that someone on staff is viewing this site!!! The BAD NEWS for them is that they made a very poor choice to attack Alene.

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  33. Is the implication now that Alene was released for personal reasons? We were all told that this was a financial decision and not a personal issue. Where is the truth?

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  34. On a positive note- comments from this site are motivating the parish staff in positive ways. The bulletin is once again back on line and the weekend mass schedule has finally been updated! Praise the Lord for the little things! On a negative note, no more Alene bashing from staff. She gave her life to this parish and this is what she gets in return?

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  35. Figure it out. It's not rocket science. She was there the longest and new staff was retained over her. Did he take his own kid off the payroll or do you think his time is donated? Come on!

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  36. Can someone tell me if Josh is being paid for playing the piano? I have heard conflicting reports on this and would like it clarified. Also if he is being paid, I want to know WHY? Dean preaches about giving your time and talent. Wouldnt that also include his family or is there a special clause in some stupid rule book that family is off limits?

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  37. My kids volunteered to serve the church for years they helped with music, altar serving, any time they were asked. I would never in a million years have allowed them to take money. I have no problem with adults who lead the music programs getting a payment but when this business first started, a 15 year old was boasting that he was getting paid $50 bucks an hour to play the piano. My kid comes home and says- why don't I get paid for singing??????

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  38. Amy- I regret to say that you will receive no consolation from Bishop Clark and the Rochester folks. They know exactly what we are experiencing. Our current Pastoral Administrator had similar problems at his last parish, in Rochester! Did they think if they sent him way down here, in the Southern Tier, that his style would change? There is a breakdown in this Diocese. Our best hope lies in the retirement of Bishop Clark and in the appointment of a new Bishop who will come into this Diocese and "clean house". In the meantime, do not lose confidence in this great Church! Keep fighting when injustices occur. NO MORE KOOL-AID- this should be our battle cry!

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  39. NO KOOL-AID FOR MEAugust 6, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    We just need to keep the pressure on and not back off!!!! It is NOT acceptable to waste the money that we tithe each week on junk we dont need!!! This needs to be addressed asap!!! I have also heard that the Diocese is pretty much washing their hands of the whole thing. It's sad to say that it's all about politics and if you have a degree from Harvard, you think you know what is best for us..dont think so babe!!

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  40. NO KOOL AID FOR ME as well.

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  41. I believe Deacon Dean's degree is from Boston College, and not Harvard. If someone knows differently, please correct!

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  42. NO MORE KOOL AID for me and my family

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  43. Amy- You are right on! The best staff members are gone. Those who remain follow their leader no matter what, bobbling their heads at his every word.. I don't know about you but this gives me NO confidence in anything the parish does or proposes to do. It feels like to only decision left to make is whether to hang in there until change comes or leave to find some escape and peace. I think I need to get away. NO MORE KOOL AID.

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  44. I plan on staying..It has been a tough decision but I am not going to let this guy destroy our parish..As far as my tithing is concerned I will be making my checks out to All Saints Academy instead of "parish improvements or whatever". That way we know where the money is going..I am planning on returning to the RCIA core team again this year. I dont want to let the new people coming in down. I also dont want them to have a crappy class either due to recent changes in staff!!! The parish as a community needs our support and I am stressing NOT the leadership!!! I wont be a part of the bobble head kool-aid drinking staff...I am an outsider looking in to make a statement that we wont be bullied anymore. As for you folks who plan on leaving, think about it some more before you do. I dont want us to disappear. God will lead us in the right direction. I want our school to survive and our churches and until new leadership comes in we have to fight for the life of our parish. Dont back down and keep the pressure up!!! We will be heard sooner or later!!!! God Bless you and God Bless All Saints Parish!!!!

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  45. Thanks Amy! We feel the same way and will try to get more information from the ASA task force on how to help the school.

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  46. Better be careful because the purse strings are held by..guess who? Don't count on the Diocese for coming through with any help. They have no interest as long as it's not happening in their front yard.

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  47. Amy- Dean has stated that his plan was to stay here for 12 years. I am happy that you are doing what feels right for you but many of us cannot bear the thought of 8 more years of this leadership and poor influence. Our kids will have no chance for a positive experience- they will be gone before he is! We are taking them to Addison now and so many of their Corning friends are there- they don't even pitch a fit anymore on Sunday morning. They can go to the FBI and have a chance to be involved in projects that Dean has no influence over. I wish you well, though. I hope your presense can make a difference. I commend you for your committment but I can't join you. Sorry- it's just too hard.I will also be supporting All Saints Academy- they are good folks fighting a tough battle.

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  48. Don't you all think its such an individual decision, whether to stay or go?

    I think God could be telling one family to leave, and one to stay. And I think that His plan is still unfolding perfectly.

    So, when someone makes the decision to leave and urges other who are struggling, that is a good thing.

    And the same is true for someone who is staying to fight it out on the front lines.

    This is a battle, and not everyone can be in the same company of soldiers, even if they are in the same army, you know?

    So, let's all bless each other with the unity of being one in Christ, one in the war of the Church Militant, but diversified in our individual roles.

    We can change the direction of this parish. The battle belongs to the LORD, and when we stand as one army of the LORD, we are assured of victory.

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  49. How gullible some people are. Just keep plugging along while the destruction continues? God has provided options for going to Mass and tithing. To close our eyes, or bury our heads in the sand is not going to accomplish a thing. Everyone know what needs to happen here and that is what needs to be prayed for. Until the change of leadership happens, and it will, consider the options, try some, and see what those who have left and gone elsewhere are talking about. The import concept here is to maintain being a Catholic!

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  50. To say those who choose to stay and fight are gullible is to suggest that we aren't aware of the issues, the intractability of those in leadership, and so on.

    Many here are aware of these issues, and hope to make the parish as a whole aware of them.

    However, cynicism and bitterness are not from God. God selects some of us to stay 'in the system' to fight and some of us to get out of the system in order to fight in other ways.

    That is not gullibility. That is realizing there are many battlefields.

    Yes, one of the important concepts is to maintain being Catholic, however, there are many parishioners who are not even sure what that means. I daresay there are many parishioners who don't understand what the source and summit of our faith is, nor how it differs from other faith traditions. Perhaps you could be on the forefront of the battle to educate Catholics on what it means to be a Catholic.

    Others have other battles to fight. This does not mean we are not on the same page...

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  51. As I said, gullible. Sugarcoat it any way you want. What is, is.

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  52. I would say that to pray for a certain outcome is presumptuous. We should always pray for God's will to be done. If we trust Him and have faith then the outcome will be a blessing for all.

    You know what's gullible? Thinking that attending the ABC churches is going to shorten the leadership's stay here. People have been going to the ABC churches for years now. Has it changed anything in the parish leadership? Anything at all?

    Not asking you to stick around, but have some compassion and prayerful support for those who choose to stay and fight--especially those like Amy, who aren't afraid to be public.

    As someone said before, there are several battlefields in this war.

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  53. I chose to stay and fight so why does that make me gullible? I love this parish and the community within it..That does NOT mean I agree with the current leadership!!!!! If you want to go to another parish that is fine that is your choice, but to sit there and call those of us that chose stay and fight gullibe is ludicrous. There are power in numbers and we will prevail if it is God's will. I won't be one to runaway and leave our parish hanging by a thread. The battle lines are drawn and we must do what God leads us to do and for me that is staying and doing the best I know how to do for our parish.

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  54. I have no problem with those of you who choose to stay and fight. All the more power to you. In the meantime, the ABC churches are a refreshing breath of air. One day when the dust settles and the facts are revealed, and that is only a matter of time, hopefully the pieces can be picked up and put back together again.

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  55. Amy,

    You stay. And stay vocal! Those who have been led to leave -- kudos to you! And stay vocal, too!

    Fr. Fred gave a beautiful homily today. He said for us not to put our faith in the bishop or the Pope, or in Deacon Dean, or in our church buildings, but that our faith needed to be in Jesus Christ. That is what unites us.

    Whether we stay or go is not really the issue at this point. Our true Leader is Jesus Christ. We can all rally around Him, no matter where we sit on Sunday. We are still the Church Universal. Can we all please remember that and love one another, so that we will be known by the love we have for one another?

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  56. Let's not let the decision of "leaving or staying" divide us! Nothing would please the devil more. Leave if you must... or stay if you must... but trust that we are united by Christ, one in His Church and together in the suffering in the parish.

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  57. To above question asking if any good has come from the many who have left: what good has come from those who have stayed? Really, have you stopped the train wreck? Alene was STILL fired. Father Phil STILL left. Marie never came back. People are STILL leaving. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you stay or if you go, it won't change the direction Dean is headed in- one church at the top of the hill with the people in charge who will pat Dean on the back and tell him he is a great leader. I think the thing we all need to do is find PEACE wherever we can. If it is here at All Saints, great. If it is at other local parishes, great. Just STAY CATHOLIC.

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  58. My family has left but I don't think that those who stay are gullible! We left because we were distracted by long and poor homilies that had little to no "meat". We left because it often felt like we were at a concert; Too much emphasis on the singing and not the praying. We left because we believe that Deacon Dean preaches hypocrisy- "Do as I say, not as I do". We miss the parish but we don't miss the unrest we experienced during the mass. The masses in the ABC parish are simple and traditional, quiet and peaceful. We will stay there for now but are open to coming back if things change.

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  59. We left too. Found our "peace" in Campbell.At first I felt guilty for bailing out but have since decided that we have the right to worship in an environment that is truly Catholic and truly nurtures our faith. Good luck to all who stay. With the loss of Alene, can imagine how much worse things will become. Sad times.

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  60. I think the last 3 blogs are valid. We all have our own reasons for staying or leaving and some of us know more about the inner workings of the "leadership" than others. Many choose not to know. Maybe tht's the problem.

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  61. I have just learned that Alene was terminated due to lack of finances and DeaconDean's son continues to be paid an extravagant amount of money for music ministry. This is WRONG. Why hasn't someone blown the nepotism whistle? He's a kid- he should be volunteering his time and FREELY sharing his talent. We lost a person who brings people into the church and who keeps the kids there. Are you kidding me?

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  62. Yea, Go figure. Some don't care about the job losses and the poor leadership. They just want to get over it and move on. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Doesn't happen at the ABC'S. But then that's just running away.

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  63. Ahem. I think we agreed that the choice to stay or go is an individual choice, and both are valid. Let's move forward.

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  64. We can not force like mindedness but where ever people decide to go for worship,I pray that there is a genuine Christian Catholic minded community despite the hardships which befall us. In my mind,it is a question of whether staying banded together is better with truly faithful friends or do we look for a church with the "spirit of truth and love"? For now I am staying, hoping and praying
    we will be strengthened through the process and the light of the Lord will win out.

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  65. "Found our "peace" in Campbell.At first I felt guilty for bailing out but have since decided that we have the right to worship in an environment that is truly Catholic and truly nurtures our faith. "

    I share similar feelings on this. I kind of "quasi" left. That is, I go other places for what I see as a better "acting out" of the liturgy. But, I also attend at All Saints and try to stay involved, all the time hoping and praying that things will get better.

    As was said before: This is an individual thing and it is perfectly acceptable to either stay or leave.

    I do believe that God will ultimately make some good come from all of this.

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