Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won’t last forever. We must take it or leave it. – C.S. Lewis
So, he wins.
So, it appears that we have hit a brick wall. Am I reading this wrong?
There are ways around brick walls. Or over them, or under them. :-)
Time to take the gloves off?
I hope whatever next steps you all take is done in true Christian compassion. It doesn't seem like leadership is going to change plans anytime soon. Part of this maybe to realize we need to let go and put it in God's hands. Otherwise we will just make everybody on the staff and council's life a living hell everyday and continue to cause more anxiety in the community. I think most people, myself included, just want the fighting to stop. It is something that is hardly making our parish an attractive community to want to join. Gretchen's comment alludes to a continued push in what is a losing battle. The brick wall is reality. Continued fighting will just damage everyone's hearts on both sides.
He brought it on. Now he can take his lumps. Don't worry. His dedicated staff will protect him. But don't forget.. Everyone likes to watch the fireworks but nobody wants to get burned.
What bothers me is SOP's inability to see the other side of things. Could someone tell me a scenario in which selling St. Vincent's WOULD be the right decision to make? I mean pretty soon we are (if we aren't already) going down to one priest. Look at the other priests around, they are no spring chickens. Bishop Clark only allows a priest to say 3 masses a weekend. As our priests age and disappear, wouldn't having one church we could build upon for the future limited number of masses the best way to go?
In response to the declining number of priests, yes, we may be down to one priest permanently. One day, we may not even have our own priest - perhaps we would share with Horseheads or ABC. In that case, would we give up St. Mary's? The point is, thinking about the future and various options is important. But the future isn't here yet, and no one knows what it will hold. Is now the right time to get rid of yet another church that once gone, cannot be replaced? See Thomas Kane's letter for some very eloquent thoughts on what losing a church means.
A very wise, elderly parishioner who worshipped at Saint Patrick's told me last week that when Saint Particks closed, they lost a lot of parishioners. She said that they "just left the Church". I asked her if she thought the same thing would happen at Saint Vincent's and she said: "Yes. This has been handled just as insensitively." We didn't learn much from the Saint Patrick's people, did we?
Deacon Dean made clear that any capital funds raised would be utilized for a one-campus plan . Plans for the one-campus plan would move forward regardless of parish support for the plan or the financial situation.The writing is on the wall; no need to read between the lines.We will be St. Mary's Parish, the only question is when?
How foolish of Dean to not give the time of day to many of the people who have remained while questioning his leadership. Watch the exodus now.
I feel slapped in the face. We are supposed to be a family. Yet a select few family members sit around the family table and make decisions that impact all family members. Now we are being told that it doesn't matter how we feel or how much we are willing to work to help save our family home. I don't feel like I belong to this family. I feel like an orphan.
I think the leadership in Rochester needs to look carefully at the situation here at ASP. If indeed it is the final decision maker, I beleive it needs to take into consideration the church membership if St. Mary's is the final destination for worship for ASparishoners. It will mean fewer members due to defection, due to the leadership and process, fewer members worshipping because of the inability to have access to the building regardless of the talk of ramps and easier access for elderly. The hill remains a hill. So, then do we need that size of a church? Frankly to speak of the present without taking into consideration the future and the past is foolish. Each period does not stand be itself. The report speaks of contradictions...Dean says one campus....the facilities group initially wanted two locations. Being one mile apart is advantageous in that the community spirit, the intimate liturgies and not big conglomerate style liturgies, enhances intimacy with God. Isn't that what Church is all about? Deeper and more loving relationship with God and each other? I would prefer to have 300 people in close proximity for Eucharist instead of 300 scattered throughout a church that is said to fit almost 600. Lastly, Is there going to be any reaching out in reconcilliation by the leadership given the committee of SOP has over and over again tried to keep focused on the issue and not personalities. The blog is for the whole parish and it seems a need for expression. I would think the leadership would want to hear the thjoughts and feelings of the parish, not jsut a few. I wonder why they complain so about it rather than take to heart as leaders what is being said and make attempts to respond. Their silence here only adds to the frustration.Then again the blog has been a vehicle of expression of conflict and with so many anonymouses who is to say there are absolutely none from any of the leadership of ASP, from Administrator to Council folks also signing Anonymous.This is my last one signed as such. I will register today as a real name.
Ever read Animal Farm? The moral of the story: All animals are created equal, but, some are more equal than others. Fits the parish leadership perfectly.
I believe a major problem in getting the two groups to reconcile is that this website's name: "Saving Our Parish." From what??? The leadership I'm sure is offended by the title. Do not answer "Financial Destruction" or something else because this website was created before the issue of St. Vincents. And if you answer "the current parish leadership"...they would obviously disagree, and so therefore would just see this website as a way to make their jobs miserable. So that is why of course they would reject this blog and website outright. That is not hard to figure out.
Anonymous (of October 5, 2010 10:18 PM) said... What bothers me is SOP's inability to see the other side of things. Could someone tell me a scenario in which selling St. Vincent's WOULD be the right decision to make? I would like to address the first part of your comment, Anonymous. I became a part of the core team of SOP because I was disappointed that parishioners were not given a chance by the parish administration to give input regarding the proposed sale of SVdP Church. As I would get signatures for the petition or even knock on a neighbors door in the Northside asking if they were interested in putting up a "Preserve St. Vincent Church" lawn sign, I was amazed that people didn't understand what was happening. In a healthy parish, it would not be "news" and petitions and lawn signs wouldn't be necessary BECAUSE parishioners would have been a part of the process.I would like to address your second comment, Anonymous, about "Could someone tell me a scenario in which selling St. Vincent's WOULD be the right decision to make?" When all registered members, when polled/asked agreed that it would be the best thing for us, as a parish, to do that. Perhaps we were asked to increase our weekly contribution by a certain percentage. Perhaps we organized and executed several major fundraisers. Perhaps we attended meetings asking for ideas and alternatives and input about keeping SVdP. Perhaps after much prayer and discernment, WE AS A PARISH, decided to sell. That is a SCENERIO in which selling SVdP would be acceptable from a parishioners view point. Because when is selling and tearing down a church -- any church, any denomination, and not rebuilding another, the RIGHT thing to do. Keep the faith for our Heavenly Father knows what is in each of our hearts.
12:31 post: Good point. Maybe a better name would be "ROP"- Restoring Our Parish. Maybe this is less offensive to leadership. Either way, what we are saying is that we aren't happy with the leadership. The way things are going, "RIP" is the most fitting.
In 1963, reknowned psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a study on obedience and how certain people will follow their leader, even when doing so causes conflict to their beliefs. It's really a fascinating study and may help to explain the division we are experiencing in the parish.
What one word comes up in most of the blogs?...leadership. If the leadership was genuine, sincere, had integrity and honesty, then none of this would be taking place. Instead the leadership desires power, greed and some sort of personal fame. Check out his last parish..same scenario.
The lack of confidence in leadership is a hurdle that prevents us from moving forward.
Respect is earned. Once respect has been earned, you can be confident your membership is behind you. Underhandedness just isn't going to cut it.
The division and heartache in this parish did not start with the blog and website. It was going on for years, but was muted and suppressed because it was not in the interests of leadership to have it 'out there'. Now that it is 'out there' it has caused a stir in the hearts and minds of many. Leadership is attempting to reframe the issue by focusing on the stir from the voices of the parishioners via the blog/website. That is their prerogative. I believe it is shortsighted.The issues remain. That is what SOP will continue to focus upon. It may be that SV has to be sold, and that SM is the one 'worship site', but that is a decision that needs to be made in light of a closer look at the financials, the needs and desires of the parishioners, and even Canon law.Again, this effort to save our parish (or restore it) must be focused on the issues. "Now is not the time to go all wobbly," as a famous British prime minister once said.Truth will out.
While I am not supportive of Dean's style for this parish, I am not dismissive of the tough choices with which he is presented. I see Dean as an academic, and not a people person, no surprise to most of you I guess. This handicaps his effectiveness in guiding us through these very turbulent waters. The issue is not for me whether Dean is leading in the right direction (as painful as it is, I believe he is) but that he is leading so ineptly. He does not have the support of his parish. That said, as you Catholics well know, he does not need our support. Harsh as that might land within the polarized environment we find ourselves in as a parish, we all know that Dean has the authority. Period. He is not going to be recalled by the diocese. You all know full well the Catholic way. The more letters you send to the Bishop, the more he'll dig in his heels. That's the way it works. The only way the leadership crisis resolves itself, is if Dean leaves on his own accord. So if you want to be effective, write Dean a Christian letter. Empathize with what his family must be going through with all of this. Ask him to acknowledge the how of his decisions and not necessarily the what. Ask him to acknowledge that his style is not serving our parish well. Ask him to accept that his way is not a good fit for us. And lastly, encourage him to pursue another job. But by all means ask him with the courage the seriousness of the matter demands. Write him a letter with your name on it. How many of you who in your comments on this blog feel so strongly that you would do that? If you would not I'd suggest your resolve is paper thin, so much grousing, though heartfelt it surely is. Surely an army SOP best not rely on. And at this point I think the argument that this blog is 'an appropriate place where our concerned parishioners can express their feelings' is way past the point of being relevant. I think it's time to move past venting and see where the beef is. And lest I be blasted, none of this is to eschew the efforts of SOP, though the choice of name was and is inflammatory, creating an us versus them dynamic.To recap, the diocese will not recall Dean. That is not the Catholic way, and you know it. Dean has the authority to move his agenda forward (and I disclose to you again, I am supportive of that direction). The SOP leadership clearly understands that. The way to resolve the leadership crisis (and not necessarily the direction) is to approach Dean in a Christian way, a personal way (not as a gang) and ask him to move on. This is a person we must assume cares deeply. In this difficult time, we should care for him as well.
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Anonymous for a good reason- You make a good argument and I agree with many of your points. But you lost a bit of your credibility when you state that those who blog anonymously have a paper thin resolve. You did not reveal your name.
5:59How miserable do you think this is for Dean and his family? I agree that it will be difficult for Dean to find a comparable posting, but if I were him I'd be looking. I don't agree that it is up to him to figure it out. We seem to have no trouble telling him in this blog, where venting seems the productive activity, why don't we face him with courage and faith, and truly be productive. Thanks for your comment on mine.
Chris,Please reread my post. What I said is that if you're not willing to do something equivalent to writing Dean a personal letter then you (not you specifically) lack resolve. I stand by that.I think there are some good reasons to post anonymously.
'Anonymous for a good reason' assumes that people who blog here have not met with Deacon Dean or written him letters. We have firsthand knowledge of numerous letters and meetings (not only involving the SOP group), and contrary to your statement, those communications have had some effect, at least at the diocesan level. If you are not sure what communications have transpired, you should first check with Deacon Dean before speaking.If you think this blog is so non-productive and divisive, why are you reading it and commenting on it?Vatican II empowered the laity with a voice. It is exercising that voice on this blog because it has been shut out by leadership. Has it been harsh at times? Yes, but leadership has been unquestionably harsh as well. If you would like confirmation of that please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide as much evidence as you would like. We refrain from that on this blog in the interests of decorum.
John,I make no such assumption. I'm very much aware that many letters have been written. I am suggesting making a direct appeal to Dean to leave on his own accord, for his good and that of the parish. I am suggesting to do it on a very human level, a very Christian level. I don't think I 'should' have to check each communication before speaking on that. Vatican II gave the laity a voice. It did not give it authority. In defending the blog let's not lose site of my main points. Dean is not being recalled. Dean has the authority. The only way real change will happen is if Dean leaves of his own accord. If you don't agree with that, OK. The fact that leadership (Dean) has been harsh, well OK, I get that. So your response in exercising your voice is great, and you certainly have that right. At the end of the day, as determined and fierce is your pursuit, I sincerely doubt that it leads to change, either in leadership style or direction.. If we want change, ask Dean to leave in a way that affords him his dignity, and yes, respect. Speak to him from the heart. One person in a tough position to another in a tough position. I don't know that has been done nor do I know where it might will lead. But counterintuitively, maybe these are words and voices Dean longs to hear.
Bill,You said, "Vatican II gave the laity a voice. It did not give it authority."I would submit to you that having a voice implies authority. Freedom of speech is enshrined in the US Constitution. Those who seek to suppress it embrace tyranny.Regarding the Catholic way, I don't believe our parish is being governed in a Catholic way. I do not dispute Deacon Dean's authority. I dispute how it is exercised.I think your words regarding how to approach the pastoral administrator are eloquent, and hope you take your own advice.I can't speak for the SOP group as a whole, but if I thought our actions to date were useless, I would have stopped long before now.Thanks for forwarding the dialog.
Bill, Charitably asking Dean to move on is more complex than you suggest. Move on to where? Is he employable in this Diocese? Is he qualified to work in education? Is he realistically going to find a job that will support his large family? Does the Diocese have a responsibility to place him somewhere else? There are many contingents to consider.