So it's not just gossip. St. Vincent's will in all likelihood be sold, the church demolished, and instead of seniors attending mass there--worshiping and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ--it will become a housing development for them.
The short promotional film that was aired during mass gave a dizzying array of foreboding financial numbers. Why is no context provided? Why now and not several years ago? Why wasn't the parish as a whole involved in finding solutions? I guess we will get all the answers at one of the 18 small group meetings (down from 30?) slated for the end of August and the first few weeks of September.
So with these dire numbers and the recent terminations of Alene Goodman and Eleanor Black bouncing around in one's head, it is so odd and strange to see that our parish is seeking a music ministry director for the Life Teen youth program. (See the embed below.)
As someone commented on another post, "The life teen mass averages only 70 people per week, few teens go, adults included. And Dean is continuing to sink money into this mass while saying that he can't afford Alene's salary."
Looking up the Life Teen ministry, it is shocking to find that one of the founders of this youth ministry is an excommunicated, laicized priest who eventually plea-bargained and pled guilty to one of five charges against him (four of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one of indecent exposure.) This ex-priest went on to found a Praise and Worship Center with another defrocked priest.
Life Teen ministry, to its credit, has distanced itself from the scandal. Current President Randy Raus said, "I want to assure you as the President of Life Teen, that it has been over five years since Dale Fushek has been involved with the movement of Life Teen. We continue to pray for all involved and for healing. Again, the movement of Life Teen is in full support of Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop Olmsted and the Diocese of Phoenix in these matters..." (Wikipedia)
Still, it makes one wonder. The youth ministry program that was in place at All Saints Parish a few years ago was local, in tune with the unique needs of our parish community's young people, and was thriving on a lot less money than is now being splashed out. Whose priorities are being served here?
Today, our parish leadership is seeking a Director of Life Teen Music Ministry. Is this a paid position? How did we go from a successful youth ministry with high participation and only a part-time youth minister, to now having a full-time youth minister, poor participation, and the sudden 'need' for a music director? One cannot blame the new youth minister, who is following in the wake of the poor decisions that were made long before he came.
Now we are being asked to say goodbye to yet another parish church. On this Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was telling that during today's homily at St. Vincent's--a homily about our Mother--her image was covered up by the projection screen. Not intentional, to be sure. But telling.