The Sunday before Christmas the parishioners of St. Mary’s were shocked to learn that the pastor and all the priests of St. Mary’s were being dismissed by Archbishop Myers and they would be evicted from the rectory shortly after Christmas.
This abrupt and drastic action by the Archdiocese jeopardizes the many ministries that serve immigrants, the poor, the homeless, the elderly, and the marginalized. This will have a tremendously negative impact on the local community. In addition the removal of all of the parish priests is a significant disruption to the pastoral care of the parishioners.
Fr. Jack and Msgr. Harrington have already retired and will not be reassigned. Msgr. is confined to a wheelchair and St. Mary’s is fully handicapped accessible, so he asked if he could continue to live at St. Mary’s. His request was denied. We don’t know yet what will happen to the other two priests who are assigned to St. Mary’s.
All of the priests at St. Mary’s are beloved not only for their work on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, but also for their respect and understanding of the culture and traditions of the diverse community of worshippers at St. Mary’s.
So far no one from the Archdiocese has adequately explained these decisions and no one has from the Archdiocese has met with the parishioners to answer their questions or consider their concerns.
While we recognize that the Archbishop has the authority to make such changes, to do so in such a way is disrespectful to the priests and the parishioners for who he is supposed to care for.
The priests of St. Mary’s are good men who living out the message of the gospel and the parishioners of St. Mary’s are faithful members of the church. They do not deserve this treatment and for these reasons we cannot remain silent.
We find your order calling for immediate discharge of the leaders of the church disrespectful of these devoted individuals and the parish at large.
It is our belief that such a drastic event warrants a thorough explanation and dialogue, neither of which has happened.
These priests have served the community diligently and faithfully. They deserve appreciation for their years of service rather than being summarily dismissed.
Our displeasure with your treatment of these individuals reflects our affection and respect for them and the loving service they have provided for many years. They and we deserve better.
We call upon you to meet with our representatives as soon as possible so that harmony might be restored in our community and we may be assured that our church, school and ministries are retained.