Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rosary and Coffee Group to meet Saturday

Reminder: Saturday, April 2, is the monthly parish Women's Rosary and Coffee Group. Here's the info:

Meeting time: 8:15 a.m. to pray the Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, followed by a few minutes of private prayer time before heading over for coffee and fellowship at a local cafe (optional). No experience necessary (rosaries and prayer guides provided).

Where: Side chapel of St. Mary's (155 State St., Corning - enter left side of church / Soul Full Cup, 81 West Market St .)

Who's Invited: Women inside or outside the parish, particularly in their 20s-50s. Newcomers welcome. Nursing babies welcome too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Church involvement in government programs

Ran across this article by Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture that details some of the dangers of blending Church/State programs. The article was published in 2009, but it is a must-read and very pertinent to the situation in the DOR. Here's a snippet:

The offices of Catholic Charities, at both the local and national levels, receive the lion's share of their funding from government programs. They have become agencies of the welfare bureaucracy. The agencies themselves are no longer truly acting for the Church, carrying out the corporate charity of the faithful. They are now wards of the state.

And this:

Catholic social teaching emphasizes the importance of public policies that support healthy family life; high tax rates place undue strain on families of modest means. Moreover the steady rise in tax rates, coupled with the constant expansion of government programs, dry up support for independent charitable ventures-- which invariably are more efficient than the government efforts. The dollars required for tax payments are no longer available to be donated to local civic organizations-- or, for that matter, to the support of the Church. 

And this, too:


Mother Teresa of Calcutta never accepted government support for the many charitable ventures undertaken by her Missionaries of Charity. It's true that she was prudent enough to recognize the dangers of depending on state support. But she had another reason for her policy as well. She wanted to be certain that she and her sisters were motivated by nothing other than the love of God. She wanted no distractions: no elaborate schemes for social change, no ambitious plans for government partnerships.

Another ruling from the Vatican

More hope for parishioners working to save Holy Trinity Church in the Diocese of Syracuse. Here's an article with video from CNY.  The Diocese is pushing back, however. Also, from the article in the Wall Street Journal: 

The decree concluded that an appeal by parishioners of the church has "basis both in law and in fact." The Diocese of Syracuse, however, said the three-page order from the Congregation of the Clergy does not force it to reverse direction and reopen Holy Trinity Church.

It's the latest in a series of similar rulings this year affecting closed churches in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

"It means the church was improperly closed," said Nicholas Cafardi, a law professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and an expert in canon law who has seen the decree.

"Certainly, the spirit of the decree is that they should reopen it, but not all rights are always enforceable," Cafardi said Monday. "It's up to the bishop to recognize the rights of the people that were upheld."

And more: 

Cafardi says it appears the Vatican panel, in also overturning decisions in Allentown, Pa. and Springfield, Mass., has ruled that the bishops should have considered the rights of the parishioners in deciding to close the churches.

"I'm interested to find out that Rome is pushing back on American bishops," said Marie Lutkus, a parishioner involved in the Allentown appeal. "There hadn't been a ruling against an American bishop's decision since 1982, and there have been a number of them in the past couple of months."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Look to the right --->>

There's a donate button for our canonical appeal in the column to the right. We are working on getting a newsletter put together that will bring parishioners up-to-date on the process. There is a lot of information to share. If you would like to get involved, please contact anyone you know associated with the cause, or feel free to email us at admin@savingourparish.com. We meet regularly and help is always needed and gratefully received.

Piggybacking...

...on another post over at Cleansing Fire, in which Ben is dealing with detractors of that website. The comments from readers are insightful. The uncomfortable thing to grasp and accept is that those in authority are fully capable of saying and doing harmful things. No one wants to admit that your leaders may be leading the flock astray, that they might not desire what is best for the parish, but rather what furthers a particular agenda. Refusing to 'see' or 'hear' or 'speak' about wrongdoing aids those engaged in it. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

Here's a couple comments from Ben's post that hit home:

Eliza says, The truth must be told! Its an awful truth, and the temptation to be uncharitable in the telling of the terrible realities of the DOR strong. So let the truth be told in charity, but let it be told. And when we, in our humanity, are uncharitable, let us correct each other and let us welcome any corrections.

I agree, people who don’t like the truth will accuse the truth-tellers as being uncharitable persons. People who are doing wrong want privacy, and having the truth told outrages them. Not only do they want to hide their actions, and not have them publicized, but they want to label their detractors as being unreasonable and ridiculous and as “persons resistant to change” that we should feel sorry for and “pray for”. The truth-telling at Cleansing Fire is a serious obstacle to imposing change on the DOR, and to the business-as-usual custom of detracting anyone who is not on board with the DOR agenda.

Well, its wrong to grant evildoers the darkness and anonymity they desire.

And this one from Gen:

People who level broadsides against us...need to realize that there is a tremendous difference between respecting the office of “bishop” and respecting the man who fills that office. Ordinarily, there is no need to separate the two. However, in Rochester, where the Bishop is openly disobedient and heterodox in so many ways, there is a tremendous need to pull the two apart. Men are fallible. That’s a fact. Bishops are men, ergo, fallible. The role of the bishop is to shepherd his flock, not to sell it off, scatter it, neglect it, or sit back and let the wolves descend upon it. If a shepherd did these things, the right thing to do wouldn’t be to sit back and say, “Well, God made him a shepherd . . . he must know what he’s doing.” NO – you confront the problems and do your best to rectify them.

And one from Nay:

When their conscience is panged and what is just and true is brought to day, they default and revert of[sic] a sense of being attacked. Have no opinions, be less fervent, be insipid and indifferent and join the vast ocean of DOR lukewarm Catholics where the flock is scattered and the betrayals continue in closed door sessions. Who can stand and and tolerate this consistent and predictable negligence. They play you for a child. Sell you for something less. They diminish you, mischaracterize you and dismiss you…completely disresectful not only for yourself, but the churches and the schools (and that means a child, something to protect and defend) a genuine travesty. Any self-respecting parishoner or citizen worth their salt, should and ought to stand up.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The cloak of anonymity

There are a couple really powerful blog posts at Cleansing Fire. First, an article from Diane who details the deceit used in the attempt to sell a church organ at St. Januarius. Parishioners will be familiar with the tactics used.

And then Ben writes about anonymity on blogs and links to a thoughtful article.Way back when  Saving Our Parish was first begun, John wrote an article defending the right of free speech for those who wanted to remain anonymous.

Case in point, many in our parish wish to remain anonymous because of perceived retribution from staff. Parish leadership has a bully pulpit and they have used it. They also carry with them the respect and authority their office assigns to them, which can be intimidating to the lay faithful. Just recently Saving Our Parish received an email that accused parishioners identified with Saving Our Parish of harassing, slandering, making false accusations, shouting at and stalking parish staff and workers.

The email specifically named three staff members as the source of these accusations. If true, it is a perfect example of why people wish to remain anonymous.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A just cause

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you to those who are not afraid to speak up in defense of saving St. Vincent's, even when the fur is flying. :-)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sound familiar?

Have you all heard the line that no priest is willing to serve at All Saints Parish? I think it is an argument designed to shame and embarrass parishioners into acquiescence. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find that same argument being used on parishioners in other parishes in the DOR. From an article  at Cleansing Fire about the clustered parish Our Lady of the Lakes:

"...Fr. Ring himself often said during pastoral planning that “no other priest is willing to pastor this parish..."

Sigh.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"...A spiritual temple in the world..."

“God desires to build himself a spiritual temple in the world, a community that adores him in spirit and truth (cf. Jn4: 23-24). But this occasion reminds us also of the importance of the concrete buildings in which the community gathers together to celebrate God’s praises. Every community therefore has the duty to carefully guard their holy structures, which constitute a precious religious and historical patrimony.” --Pope Benedict XVI, (11/9/08).

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Church Universal

He raised his eyes and saw through the veil of incense smoke and of twinkling lights that Benediction was drawing to its end while the procession waited. The sense of accumulated riches of time and tradition pressed past him like a crowd moving in rank after rank, through unending centuries; and high above them all, like a garland of unfading flames, like the sun of our mortal midnight, the great monstrance blazed against the darkness of the vaulted shadows, as it blazed against the blackness of the universe. -- G.K. Chesterton, The Insoluble Problem

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The spirit of giving...UPDATE

...or the spirit of taking?

Parish leadership has embarked on yet another appeal for money. Called the "Stewardship of Treasure Program", weekend masses are being disrupted in order for lay people to preach increased giving in our parish.

Next weekend, in fact, we will be called upon, during mass of course, to commit to an increase of giving. We are told adjustments to our budgets are needed so that we can give more. That's rich.

St. Patrick's is history and the proceeds from its sale are dwindling away; Immaculate Heart of Mary is for sale; St. Vincent's is on the chopping block to be destroyed for senior housing; St. Mary's needs significant repairs.

Apparently stewardship is a one-way street. This parish operates on a million-dollar budget, yet the most basic of needs are not being met. Fund raising has all but ceased. We are told a capital campaign fund can not be planned for several years.

A new parish secretary has just been hired. Was our beloved Eleanor Black asked to come back and fill that position?

Reasonable questions regarding the parish financials have gone unanswered. Leadership refuses to balance the budget--refuses to make adjustments that would bring the parish back into alignment with sound fiscal practices. Yet, we are admonished to increase our giving!

Last month I received an email from a friend involved in the FBI group that says in part: "...Sunday morning, 144 teens "fund-raised" $6,300 in less than 3 hours. Added to what they had raised in the last few months, they provided a check for $10,000 to Global Health Services to drill 2 water wells in Sierra Leone. And the parish leadership says fund-raising isn't possible? Really?"

And to add to the irony, Alene Goodman who now works for the Children's Miracle Network at Arnot Ogden, recently helped that organization's handily exceed fundraising goals for their latest Radiothon. From the article:  The 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon raised a record $98,913 on from March 9-11. The annual event exceeded its previously held record of $88,000, raised in 2010.

What parish leadership refuses to admit is that parishioners have withheld giving to this parish, opting for other avenues for giving, including attending adjacent parishes, because of the insistence on closing churches, and a stubborn refusal to listen to the real needs of the people. Instead we are given vague platitudes about ensuring parish financial resources and so on.

Christ have mercy.

UPDATE: Cleansing Fire has posted about the comments on this particular blog. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sacrifice and Lent

She is serving time in prison for praying outside an abortion clinic. She asks only that she be allowed a Bible, and she begs blankets for the other prisoners. She has the courage of conviction that can only come through a close walk with Christ. Her name is Linda Gibbons. She is an expression of the sacrificial nature of this season. From the article:

Linda Gibbons, by contrast, has no prospect of release. She is a grandmother, age 62. Her crime was praying, publicly, inside the 60-foot "bubble" around a Morgentaler abortion clinic in Toronto. She also, on occasion, held up a placard reading, "Why, Mom, when I have so much love to give?" She first did this in defiance of a temporary court injunction obtained by the Ontario attorney general back in 1994 and has returned to doing it, and been re-arrested, each time she has been released.

Other links about her case:

Case going to the Canadian Supreme Court

Grandmother is political prisoner

National Post article on Gibbons

Prolife Prisoner of Conscience

This is what Linda Gibbons opposes:

Bishop Sheen on Christ's temptation

I heard the Sheen Film showing was a success. Congrats to all involved.

As mentioned, I've been reading Bishop Sheen's Life of Christ as a Lenten devotional. When he describes the temptation of Christ in the wilderness, Sheen makes a  point that cuts right to the heart of the matter regarding our Lord's mission. Regarding the first of Satan's temptations--to make stones into bread to assuage Jesus' hunger--Sheen says, "The vision of social amelioration without spiritual regeneration has constituted a temptation to which many important men in history have succumbed completely."

The Scripture text:

Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:1-4)

Sheen explains further:

Our Lord was not denying that men must be fed, or that social justice must be preached; but He was asserting that these things are not first. He was, in effect, saying to Satan, "You tempt Me to a religion which would relieve want; you want Me to be a baker, instead of a Savior; to be a social reformer, instead of a Redeemer. You are tempting Me away from My Cross, suggesting that I be a cheap leader of people, filling their bellies instead of their souls. You would have Me begin with security instead of ending with it; you would have Me bring outer abundance instead of inner holiness. You and your materialist followers say, 'Man lives by bread alone,' but I say to you, 'Not by bread alone'. Bread there must be, but remember even bread gets all its power to nourish mankind from Me. Bread without Me can harm man; and there is no real security apart from the Word of God. If I give bread alone, then man is no more than an animal, and dogs might as well come first to My banquet. Those who believe in Me must hold to that faith, even when they are starved and weak; even when they are imprisoned and scourged.


"I know about human hunger! I have gone without food Myself for forty days. But I refuse to become a mere social reformer who caters only to the belly. You cannot say that I am unconcerned with social justice, for I am feeling at this moment the hunger of the world. I am One with every poor, starving member of the race. That is why I have fasted: so that they can never say that God does not know what hunger is. Begone, Satan! I am not just a social worker who has never been hungry Himself, but One who says, 'I reject any plan which promises to make men richer without making them holier.' Remember! I Who say, 'Not by bread alone', have not tasted bread for forty days!"

Bishop Sheen on Temptation:





Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Time

The letter sent to Providence Housing Development Corporation (with a copy to the Bishop) has not been responded to. Although acceptance of the recommendation to sell St. Vincent's has not yet been announced, at this point it seems prudent to engage a canon lawyer and begin preliminary work of the appeal process. Go to SavingOurParish.com to donate.

There is hope. Recent rulings in several dioceses are showing a possible indication of a reversal in the trend of closing parishes and churches. It is a worthy endeavor to save St. Vincent's for our children and grandchildren.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Praying for Japan-- UPDATED

The devastation in Japan has local repercussions. There are people in our community who have loved ones in Japan and have been unable to contact them.

Also, the Catholic Church has a long history in Japan. See here, and  here.

A little info about the situation by the Catholic News Service here.

If anyone knows of any organizations to which we can donate, please post them.

UPDATE: Here are some easy ways to contribute help to Japan's relief efforts:

  • Text "redcross" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the American Red Cross. 
  • Text "japan" or "quake" to 80888 to donate $10 to the Salvation Army. 
  • Text “4japan” to 20222 to send a $10 donation to the humanitarian group World Vision. The charges will appear on your cell phone bill.
  • Texting “corps” to 30644 will bring Mercy Corps updates in response.
  • For a list of charitable organizations, check out InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs.

Fighting to save their church

Parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit have a blog, too. Worth a look. Prayers for them.

Save St. Thomas

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lenten reading, anyone? UPDATED

Any suggestions for Lenten reading this season? I heard that Mother Theresa always carried a copy of Bishop Sheen's Life of Christ, so I chose that this year. From the preface:

Satan may appear in many disguises like Christ, and at the end of the world will appear as a benefactor and philanthropist--but Satan never has and never will appear with scars.

The Holy Father has a short but indepth message for the Lenten season. Here's a snippet:


"In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord – the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year – what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rob Bell-UPDATE

Since Rob Bell's controversial teachings about the concept of universalism have become relevant for our Catholic parish (his Nooma video series will be shown Wednesdays during Lent at IHM) I did a little digging.

Universalism is an old, old heresy, first promulgated by Origen and roundly refuted by the Church. Here is the Catholic Church teaching on hell: 1033-1037.

Here are a couple Protestant links about the controversy. I looked around for some Catholic discussion about the situation but haven't found any. Let me know if you do and I will post links:

Original blog post that got things fired up

CBN's take on the issue

More evangelical protests about Rob Bell

UPDATE: I finally found a Catholic view of Rob Bell, and it's a durn good view, too. Found it via a Christian who is hoping to become Catholic one day soon. Important perspectives...