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Saturday, June 22, 2019

Do You Know Where Your Pastor Is and How He's Spending Your Money?

Pray for your priests through the
intercession of St. Jean Vianney
Well, I'm back from retreat and among the hundreds of emails was the one below. I've deleted the name of the priests and I won't identify the diocese, but I think it behooves folks to ask yourselves how your pastor is running the parish and how he's spending YOUR money (which is given to do God's work!). Is your pastor, on the parish level, doing what men like Bransfield and McCarrick did on the diocesan level? Is he living like a king on the sacrifices of the folks he considers patsies in the pew? Do you recognize your pastor in this description below?
 Dear Mary Ann,
It was well known that [my previous pastor] had a full time cook and housekeeper and that he hosted monthly get together lunches at the rectory for his priest friends. Wine and dine on a weekday when they should have been at work. My parish is unique in that its rectory is [not on the church grounds].  No one sees who is coming and going. If the pastor goes home for lunch and doesn't return nobody at the church knows where he is or what he's doing.
[The pastor] had a habit of having a nap every day. He was off parish property a lot and seldom in his office. He also spent thousands on rectory renovations including granite countertops in the kitchen, expensive carpet, deck furniture, and a rose garden. He replaced perfectly good exterior porch lights because he didn't like the style of the fixture. I know some of this from our maintenance manager who was sent to do the rewiring.

While it may be true that the house needed some repairs, it is a fact that the pastor spared no expense. Pottery Barn throw pillows on the leather sofa in the den, glassware, dishes enough to entertain 30 people.

I know someone who ran into his cook at the Giant who was in a panic because she couldn't find chicken tenderloins-- the only chicken he would eat.

I also know this, most of the office staff at my parish were very happy when the pastor left and are very happy with the new pastor who reduced our parish budget by $200,000 a year when he came. Somebody it seems was living high on the hog at the rectory and overlooking waste in the parish office as well.
Sad to say, I'm sure this goes on in dioceses all over the place. At one of my past parishes the pastor (who is deceased) put in a marble fireplace and other extravagant renovations and purchased expensive furniture as well. Another pastor came in, was appalled at the luxury, and let the school sell the furniture at one of their fund-raising auctions. How many priests look at the parish and the collection as their personal ATM machine?

My retreat this week was a five-day version of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. The focus is on detachment from creatures. If they help lead you to God embrace them; if they lead you away from God get rid of them. We were challenged to desire not only spiritual poverty but even actual poverty if God wills it. Now how does that square with a priest in hand-tailored clerics with French cuffs and gold cufflinks living in a lavish rectory and eating only the best of the best. If that's what you have in your parish, you are in trouble (and so is he)!

Let us all pray that God will send us priests who love a simple lifestyle (like Jesus did), who live to serve like St. Jean Vianney and St. John Bosco. If your pastor spends most of his time serving himself  and partying with friends (like Bransfield did when he was rector of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception) spend lots of time on your knees praying for him. St. Paul warns:
For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; Whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19. 
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Bishop Michael Bransfield aren't the only prelates who lived for their belly and their loins! Pray for bishops and priests. Many are in serious spiritual danger. Mary warned that souls go to hell because they have no one to pray for them. How many of those souls are wearing Roman collars? May God give us an intense love for our priests and a serious desire to pray and fast for the conversion of those who serve themselves instead of God! And if you have a holy priest, thank God and thank him too!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recently I rec'd a phone call from a pastor in SC.
He was a convert who is divorced and is now a Catholic priest as a senior citizen.
He had some questions he wanted to ask and was on his way to a Diocesan priest retreat so he felt comfortable asking them in the privacy of his car.

My last comment to him was to watch out for (fr)Stravinskas............
A week later , he called again on his return trip from his diocesan retreat.
He said something about woman's intuition and how he just did not understand how I knew.......(fr)Stravinskas WAS his retreat Master......and he liked him , including his lies which he was inclined to believe.

Fine, but with a small amount of research he could have uncovered the embezzlement
report that made the News when a Nebraska parish accountant reported to the police and the Bishop that(Fr)Stravinskas arrival caused his parish operating budget to jump from the annual 50 thou to 400thou in one year and that the Bishop then told (Fr) Starvinskas to get out of his Diocese.

A tad more research would explain to this new priest that (fr) Stravinskas, had formed a priestly group in the Scranton Diocese having purchased a home in the Poconos to be used as a priestly retreat house. One of his other two priests who, along with himself that comprised this little pious group was a (Fr) Christopher Clay who, along with other members of the St John Society were told to leave the Diocese for accusations of pederasty. Stravinskas , little group was also disbanded by the local Ordinary shortly thereafter.....
The Deacon, whose wife referred this newer priest to me, also uncovered the News stories on Stravinskas, but true to the more modern cowardice so pervasive among the laity , he is still ",waiting for the right time" months later, to show his clueless pastor what a great "Retreat Master" his Bishop had hired when he picked up Stravinskas for the job...