News, Commentary and Inquiries from Catholic Parishioners in the Diocese of Greensburg, PA
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Building a Legacy or God's Church?
At least for this pew sitting Catholic, it’s hard to look at the February 27th Catholic Accent and today’s (3/9) Tribune Review article on Bishop Brandt and not think there is some legacy repair going on at the Diocese of Greensburg. One doesn’t have to read very far into these publications to pick up the apparent efforts of what Bishop Brandt and the Diocese want us all to think about his legacy. Stats and examples of troubled times fly off the pages, along with what appears to be a theme crying that the deck was stacked against our bishop from day one. The legacy that seems to (poorly in my estimation) be under construction (or perhaps more accurately be under repair) is that the bishop had to make many hard choices. But my question is this. Why in the hell would a Catholic Bishop be wasting any time or resource on his legacy? Maybe these latest legacy building actions from our diocese officials and Bishop Brandt are where the rub exists between the people in the pews and the Diocese of Greensburg. If indeed Bishop Brandt and his staff on East Pittsburgh street are now spending their days trying to build his legacy, then sadly our bishop has jumped the fence into the province of being irrelevant.
Many of the articles about Bishop Brandt’s 10 year legacy focus mainly on the dollars and cents of running God’s Church. A good number of the images about the Bishop we are being spoon fed by the diocese and others more closely resemble a man running a corporation, instead of a shepherd leading his flock. Is our Church all about executives balancing books, or about pastor’s converting the masses and saving souls? When you stand back and look at Bishop Brandt’s time as the head of the Diocese of Greensburg, the picture some see doesn’t exactly show a bright future for our Church. During Bishop Brandt’s tenure the number of parishes, priests, vocations and parishioners has significantly decreased in this diocese. Do we place all of the blame for these disturbing reductions at Bishop Brandt’s feet? Of course not. But to be honest in how we all assess the “legacy” of this Bishop (if that is important to him) we must exit the glossy Accent issue with it’s slanted perceptions and examine what Bishop Brandt is or isn't doing to turn around (or at least stop) the downward spiritual spiral that this diocese is currently experiencing. God’s Church is not about the money, it’s about growing the flock by converting the masses, serving our Lord and saving souls. If these three things are successful so will the cash flow.
Let us examine the real messages many of us have received from the Bishop over the past 10 years. Whether or not he wants to accept that these are the actual messages we are receiving from him will truly define his legacy.
-The Mansion While closing parishes, our Bishop Brandt continues to live in his lavish mansion even despite criticism from his flock. Imagine the message that could have been sent if Bishop Brandt moved out of that symbol of opulence while having to close parishes, and then explained that there is no place for such a waste of diocesan resources while parishes were being closed and parishioners suffering. Just like Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh, Brandt could become an instant bishop of the people.
-The Chair or Throne Did he really need to buy that for himself with all of the financial problems going on in the diocese? Unfortunately for Bishop Brandt, this expensive chunk of rock will probably be the one thing most people remember about him and his legacy. This was an extremely poor decision that most likely turned a lot of people away from the Church and this diocese. What a waste! Enough said.
-The Priest Shortage and Decrease in Vocations Bishop Brandt is infamous for his philosophy that vocations are the responsibility of the family and parents of young men. That may have been true in the 1950s, but the lack of vocations and dwindling number of priest today fall squarely on the desks of the Bishop of each diocese. If you want to see a diocese with strong vocations to the priesthood take a look at all the diocese with dynamic vocation minded bishops. God hasn’t stopped calling men to become priests these days. But bishops who portray the Church as a dollars and cents operation while the flock dwindles and parishes are closed, certainly can hinder the number of men who are choosing to hear their calling. Any bishop who wants more priest, can’t sit back and blame families. Instead he needs to roll up his sleeves and get to work inspiring and cultivating God’s callings. . -The Loss of Catholics. The Tribune Review points out in it’s 3/9 article that some 30,000 less Catholics exist today than when Bishop Brandt took over the Diocese. If you talk with the short minded strategic planners at the diocese today and they will tell you this 30,000 member loss is attributed to the death’s of older Catholics who can‘t be replaced. But no one asks why more conversions to the Church aren’t being pursued. I bet if our diocese could bring back half of the dismayed Catholics that have left the Church, and combine them with conversions to our Faith, we would seeing a Church with an growing census. Whether or not the Bishop wants to take blame for the 30,000 member loss over the past 10 years, it is part of his legacy. Facts are facts, and a bishop who wants to run his Church from a stats sheet has to take ownership of this major failure in our diocesan census.
Hear is the good news. It’s not too late for Bishop Brandt to change his legacy. First of all he needs to abandon corporate financial spreadsheets and legacy building PR that may be the center of his philosophy, and return to building God’s Church through the heart’s and minds of the people in his flock. If Bishop Brandt wants to know how he is currently being perceived in the hearts and minds of his flock, he needs to get out from under a few of his closest advisors, and go out and one on one personally talk to the Catholics in this diocese. Bishop Brandt can look at the attendance of his recent 10th anniversary celebration as a barometer of how he is viewed by the Catholics in this diocese. Was his celebration well attended? How many invitations went out, and how many people actually attended the event? These are the numbers that can give a leader a real sense of what his people think of the job he had done. We have heard the 10th anniversary numbers from many in attendance, but we will let the Bishop in his quiet moments alone decide why they played out as they did. One man who knows the bishop closely said to me, “You reap what you sow”.
Building God’s Church as a bishop who lives, works along side, and identifies with the Catholic men, women and children in his diocese would earn him instant respect and grace in the eyes of his flock. I have communicated with thousands of Catholics over the past 9 months and have heard their pleas for help. They have told me that the path the bishop has us on is negatively impacting their Faith. These people are hurting and reaching out for spiritual help. Many have personally communicated with me that they believe there is still time for Bishop Brandt. They tell me that if he does indeed still have time left to serve after he turns in his letter of retirement to Rome, then why doesn’t he set aside his trappings of opulence and truly begin to live like us and help us to build God’s Church here in the Diocese of Greensburg. After hearing these people, I can say for certain that if the Bishop changed his ways and left his mansion and dedicated his time left to living among his flock in every way physically and spiritually there would be no need to waste time writing a legacy, for he will win the hearts’ and minds’ of the Catholics who will always be the keepers of Bishop Brandt’s legacy forever. In the spirit of Lent and forgiveness, here is my offer to Bishop Brandt. If he truly wants to understand how a major cross section of his diocese thinks and feels about their Bishop and their Church, he and I can sit down one on one (No Father Kulick or any other handlers to get in the way) just Bishop Brandt and Joe Catholic. We can pray together for our Church, and discuss where it is headed, and what is going on in the hearts’ and minds’ of the pew sitting Catholics that are in his flock. If the bishop is truly interested in building God’s Church then he has nothing to lose with a one on one sitdown. What Bishop Brandt stands to gain is some honest discourse with a humble pew sitter who has listened to the pleas of thousands in his flock, and understand their voices. With this said, if our Bishop is only interested in legacy building, then I won’t hear from him, and his legacy will remain as it is currently being cast. (Which I'm not entirely sure he understands, since he probably gets very little feedback from outside of his administrative bubble of yes men and women who work for him.) Either way this website will move forward seeking the truth about building God’s Church from the ground up. If Bishop Brandt remains as he is, we will look to our next bishop as a source of healing and reform for the hearts and minds of God’s glorious flock.
The Bishop can personally email me anytime (off the record of course) at email@example.com
Ambrosians of Greensburg Pairing with Ultra-Liberal Nicholas Cafardi to Speak on Selection of New Bishop
On March 30th the Ambrosian’s of Greensburg are bringing in Nicholas Cafardi, an admitted political and theological liberal to speak on the selection of a new bishop. But should the Ambrosian’s of Greensburg be using such a politically liberal lightning rod for guidance on who are next Bishop should be?
Cafardi resigned recently from the Ohio Franciscan University of Steubenville over his endorsement of Barack Obama for president. He set off controversy over a statement he made in an op-ed. In the piece he stated, that although he believes abortion is “an unspeakable evil,” supporting Obama was a “proper moral choice” because the goal of criminalizing abortion is a lost cause.
Cafardi also wrote in the column, “despite what some Republicans would like Catholics to believe, the list of what the church calls ‘intrinsically evil acts’ does not begin and end with abortion.
During the last election Cafardi, a professed Obama supporter wrote, “While some of our bishops act more like Republican ward chairman than pastors, faithful Catholics need to know the facts before they vote for Romney as a "pro-life" candidate.”
You can read and decide what you think about professor Cafardi. But we believe that you should know ahead of time the politics and agendas of anyone being brought into our Diocese to talk about selecting a new bishop. Is Cafardi's talk really about having an input into who the next bishop is, or is it a political talk about how liberal our next Bishop should be?
I won't be attending.
What is going on at Our Lady of Grace?
Holly Uccellini Holly Ucellini preaching at 12:10 OLG Service
At the 12:10 Ash Wednesday service today at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Greensburg there was no priest presiding. There was no Father Dan Blout, the pastor, or Father Alan Polczynski the parochial vicar presiding over the service. There was no permanent deacon, brother or sister presiding either. There was a woman named Holly Uccellini presiding as the celebrant. Nothing against Miss Uccellini, I'm sure she is a nice lady, but she is not a member of the clergy. Not only was she presiding over the Ash Wednesday Service at Our Lady of Grace Parish, she also gave a homily, and prayed the prayers usually reserved for a priest. She made no announcement as to why there was no priest to preside over the opening service of Lent. She didn't even introduce herself. Instead Holly Uccellini acted as if this was normal procedure at the parish.
Where was Father Blout and Father Polczynski? You mean to tell me that there were no other priests available in the entire diocese to preside over this most sacred Lenten service at Our Lady of Grace Parish? Isn’t there an entire monastery of priests just down the road at St. Vincent? Couldn’t one of theses Benedictine priests have been asked to preside over this Ash Wednesday Service? Instead the parishioners and we guests were greeted, preached to and presided over by one Holly Uceliini, who is listed on the parishes’ website as a Pastoral Associate. Can anyone tell me if that is the same as an ordained priest?
There is a priest shortage in our diocese and the Bishop isn't going to use the Benedictines priests at Saint Vincent any longer to stem the shortfall. But Bishop Brandt will OK ordinary lay people to fill the priest shortage?
As for me, I won't be attending services at Our Lady of Grace parish anytime soon if Holly Uccellini is presiding instead of an ordained priest.
Monsignor was too busy, so Holly took over his pastoral visits to the Sick?
I just read your flash, and I am sad to say that this does not surprise me at all. This is the very reason we changed parishes several years ago.
At the time Msgr. Ray was at Our Lady of Grace parish, he had delegated the duty of pastoring to the sick to ... you guessed it ... "Father" Holly. My mother (also a parishioner) was hospitalized and we called down to our parish office to ask if the good monsignor could please stop in to see her. We were told that this was now Holly's role, as Father was far too busy to visit every sick parishioner. Unfortunately, Holly was out of town. At least the hospital chaplain could be counted on to give Mom Holy Communion while in the hospital.
We were not the only ones to have this experience. And probably not the only family to have left Our Lady of Grace because of their new policy on ministering to the sick. I wonder what Msgr. Ray was so busy doing that he did not have the time to visit his sick parishioners. Oh, I know ... he was busy posing for pictures with Bishop Brandt for the upcoming issue of that Accent.
What is happening in our Diocese? How can these things take place without question? In just a few short weeks our current bishop turns 75. I pray that he is replaced quickly and with a man who will heal this Diocese of the damage that has been done.
Thanks for giving us a voice, Joe! Otherwise, many of these things would go unnoticed and unchecked. Keep up the good work! May God Bless You.
And God help us!
A disillusioned parishioner in the Diocese of Greensburg
Dear Joe Catholic,
I was also at the 12:10 Ash Wednesday sevice at OLOG, and what you describe is true. No priest, no Sister, no Deacon. Just Holly. As we began the processional hymn, the crowd quickly realized that no one was processing. Holly started the opening prayer from the altar, which seemed very strange. People began looking around, and looking at each other ... scratching their heads. No explanation.
After the reading and psalm, Holly got up and proceeded to give a homily! Say what? I was dumbfounded. She seemed quite comfortable sitting on the altar and preaching from the pulpit. I have never seen anything like it.
After Holly's final blessing, I left, wondering what the heck just happened?! What a way to kick off the season of Lent ....
"He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth
Members of Saint Bruno Parish pose for a picture with their beloved former pastor, Father Martin Bartel, OSB on Sunday March 2nd at his new assignment at Saint Cabrini Parish in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. This hearty group braved the winter storm on a bus trip to be with Father Martin. Last summer a group of parishioners from Saint Bruno fought Bishop Brandt and even filed an appeal with Rome to keep Father Martin or another Benedictine at their parish which was founded by the religious order. Despite the efforts of these parishioners the Bishop refused to allow the Benedictines to remain at Saint Bruno, and Father Martin was reassigned by his order to Pittsburgh.
...Word from Bishop Brandt's 3/2 Anniversary Mass in the wake of his glossy Catholic Accent tribute claims that there may have been a lot of empty pews. We are sure that is that was the case, it was due to the winter weather and nothing else.
Thoughts on the
February 27th Accent
The focus of the Catholic Accent this past week so poignantly demonstrates to it’s readers exactly what the main problem has been in the Diocese of Greensburg over the past 10 years. The focus of our Holy Roman Catholic Church has always been and should be service to our Lord Jesus Christ and not one man. Our Diocese is made up of thousands of good hard working Catholics not just one Bishop. Now, many people will tell you and I that it is not right to criticize a bishop of the Church, since there was Divine appointment involved in his selection, I agree that God is involved in the selection of our bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes, but none of them are selected to place themselves above the examples and teachings of our Lord Jesus. None of them. Not one. The front cover of the February 27th edition of the Accent, tells us everything we need to know about why our Diocese is experiencing so many difficulties.
The saying “What Would Jesus Do” or WWJD is very familiar to us as a phrase that can help us all refocus our words and action back into the service and teachings of our Lord. So, in that light and in regard to the February 27th Accent, WWJD. I can’t speak for our Lord, but I am willing to bet he wouldn’t place Himself on the front cover of a four color, glossy, expensive magazine and dedicate the entire edition of it to Himself the week before Lent or anytime at all. That is because the Lord has taught us that we all make up the Catholic Church not just one man. Each and every one of us is an integral part of our Faith. Pope Francis has made it part of his mission to demonstrate how important humility and inclusion are for the future of our Church.
Let me ask you these questions to make my point as I place my Accent into the circular file which is going out to the curb tomorrow. Maybe these are questions that Accent editor Jerome Zufelt, Rev. Larry Kulick and Bishop Brandt can reflect on in the sprite of WWJD (but I’m not holding my breath that they will)
1.) In the past 10 years has Bishop Brandt’s service to Christ been greater than that of any other priest, sister or brother within the Diocese?
2.) Has the Bishop’s service to Christ been greater than those diocesan Catholics who have fed the hungry, fought for LIFE, clothed the poor or taught our children?
3.) Is self promotion in any way part of what our Church is about?
The real cover of this edition of the Accent should have included every man, woman and child in our Diocese who the Bishop sees as the backbone of our Church. The Bishop should have put the faces of every humble hard working Catholic who he has identified as true humble servants of Christ over the last 10 years. The cover of the Accent should have been dedicated to all of those priest, sisters and brothers in the clergy who have selflessly dedicated their lives to teaching the messages of the Gospel over the past decade. All of these thousands of men. women and children are the true Catholics who have made it possible the last 10 years for our bishop to be a shepard.
But instead our Bishop went for being a glossy four color magazine cover model, all alone and sending the message, “It’s really all about me me me.” Message received BIshop Brandt. But what a pity.
A Little Boy finds a
What he does with it will break your heart and restore you faith in goodness.
(Warning...break out the tissues before you watch this.)
Is the Diocese OK with Saint Bruno Pastor Moving Forward with Girl Scout Sunday (March 9th) Despite Reported Ties to Big Abortion?
(See Story below)
Ad Placed by Holy Cross Parish in Feb 27th Accent which is completely dedicated to Bishop Brandt
What could they possibly mean with this Mark Twain quote? Who would they know that could have a sleepy conscience?
"sleepy conscience" refers to one who's conscience has been intentionally dulled to the point that even things that should bother ones conscience, don't. One of loose morals. -One literary interpretation-
YES, IT IS ALL ABOUT
ME ME ME!
Feb 27th Catholic Accent 10th Aniversary Tribute to Bishop Brandt
Did you see it? It came in today’s mail, and if you listened hard enough you could hear the faint gasps, gags and groans from all four corners of the Diocese of Greensburg. Our email started popping around noon and hasn’t stopped since. It was large, and glossy, produced in four color splendor, and no doubt very expensive to publish. Just when you thought that there might be some sense of humility being demonstrated by our Bishop Brandt….BAMM!!!!.....There he is dedicating an entire issue of the Catholic Accent to himself. Isn’t it great to be king! But, despite the certain actions of yes men, like Msgr Ray Riffle (kissing some bishop butt, no doubt) by using parish funds to purchase a full page inside cover tribute to his boss ( I wonder how much that set back the parish), it may very well turn out that this self aggrandizing homage by the Bishop to himself may be backfiring. Many people aren't too happy it seems with this extravagant lack of modesty.
You see, a crafty old politician once said that you can’t write your own legacy. You can try, but in the end your actions, not your words will define you. It’s not about the tributes that you produce about yourself, but the history others write years later that will define you as a leader and servant. This will most likely be the case for our Bishop, Lawrence Brandt. Catholic Accents come and go, and in a few short weeks this issue will be a distant memory to the good men and women of the Diocese of Greensburg, many of whom have experienced a far different Bishop Brandt than written about in this Accent, and have the scars to prove it.
The Accent speaks of all the wonderful deeds this bishop performed while sitting on his lavish throne at the center of display in the Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. It drips of all his acts of charity that were dispensed out of his huge mansion and compound. But here is a list of questions that will demonstrate quietly in their answers the real record of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt for decades to come.
-During the Bishop’s 10 year’s how many parishes were closed in the Diocese? -During the Bishop’s 10 year’s did vocations to the priesthood go up or down? -During the Bishop’s 10 year’s did the number of Catholics increase or decrease throughout the Diocese? -During his 10 year’s did Catholic education shrink or grow in this Diocese? -After Bishop Brandt is gone, will the Diocese be better off spiritually? -Will he leave a crises in vocations and a quickly shrinking number of priests left to man the parishes? -How will the average pew sitting Catholic view Bishop Brandt after he is gone? -Was the bishop a man of the people, or a prince on his throne with a Perrier sense of entitlement? -Will employees and clerics in the Diocese miss this bishop, or be relieved that he and his management style are gone?
I didn’t see the above issues and questions addressed in the Bishop’s glossy colorful tribute to himself that arrived in our mail boxes today. But we will let the facts humbly answer those questions. We will let all of you pew sitting, collection donating, hard working Catholics decide for yourself if the diocese is better off once Bishop Brandt is retired.
This tribute to Bishop Brandt most likely signals the end for him as our Bishop. On March 27th he must submit his letter of resignation. From the looks of it Bishop Brandt’s replacement will be assigned here in our Diocese very soon after the end of March. Here is hoping that Rome decides to send us a Bishop who will promote healing, and will live among the people of our Diocese. Here is hoping that mansions, lavish thrones and full color glossy tributes become a thing of the past for the people of this wonderful diocese. Here is hoping that the work of our Lord and humility become the focus and example of the next Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg.
Other than that it was a very well produced Accent this week. Great work Jerome Zufelt! I see a bright future for you in this Bishop's administration.
---YOUR COMMENTS BELOW---
When I saw last week's Catholic Accent, I was so disgusted. It went immediately to the recycle bin!
I was so upset by the Feb. 27th Accent that I will never donate to it again. Sadly it was a wonderful tribute to Bishop Brandt, but where was there any information about Lent starting next week, Lenten devotions, or anything that had to do with the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus? How sad that we have put Jesus last or in this case, not at all.....
-Diocese of Greensburg Parishioner
Me thinks the Bishop should refresh himself on a few bible versus:
"He that exalteth himself shall be humbled." Matthew 23:12
"[But] take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise you will have no heavenly recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
When you pray, do not be like hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."
Matthew 6: 1-8
-Former member St. John the Baptist, Scottdale
Well, I have become a person who I thought I would never be upon seeing today's edition of the Catholic Accident! Glossy cover. . . all about me. . . rag! As I work so hard to support Catholic education and the future of our Catholic schools. . . this was just one more slap in the face of each and every sheeple in the Greensburg Diocese. I read not one word in this rag as I was repulsed by the Kodak Larry pictures. Just what has this man done to grow and strengthen OUR Diocese? He has destroyed the Catholic schools, he has squandered OUR money, he has forced OUR friends to leave their faith! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on you Bishop Brandt! The cost of his "throne" would have educated 10 children. I would love to know how many times (hours) per year he actually uses this chair? It would be interesting to know. Upon seeing todays Accident, I will never again put a donation into the Sunday collection! My monetary gifts will now go to those "in need". It is quite obvious that the Greensburg Catholic Diocese is not a charitable organization and your 501c3 should be revoked. SHAME, SHAME ON BISHOP BRANDT!!!!
-Parishioner Diocese of Greensburg
Bishop Brandt has reached a new low. Maybe it's time he does retire.
-Diocese of Greensburg
Well Done Joe! -Long Time Parishioner
GIRL SCOUT SUNDAY AT ST. BRUNO PARISH IN THE DIOCESE OF GREENSBURG?!
According to the March 2nd bulletin at Saint Bruno Parish, Sunday March 9th is Girl Scout Sunday. It appears that this week Saint Bruno Parish will be honoring or recognizing the Girl Scouts during the Sunday Mass. But based on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Girls Scouts, reproductive rights and associations with Planned Parenthood, should the Catholic Church be honoring the Girl Scouts at a Sunday Mass or at anytime at all?
The Radiance Foundation, and other organizations made up of former Girl Scout parents and leaders are warning us that the Girl Scouts USA are in bed with big abortion. If this is true why is any Catholic Church or Diocese holding Girl Scout Sunday?
We have presented the links, now it's time for all of us Catholics to ask questions and decide if we want our Church involved in any way with the Girl Scouts USA.
We contacted Jerome Zufelt, and Father Larry Kulik at the Diocese and Father Manchas, the Pastor at St. Bruno Parish for comment or to respond to Girl Scout Sunday being held this week. But we have not received a response.
Planned Parenthood Office-Nature Park Road, Greensburg
....SHUT IT DOWN!
Here is an urgent call to action for 2014. The time has come to work with a sense of urgency to close down the Planned Parenthood office of off Route 30 in Greensburg, and let PP know that they aren’t welcome in our Diocese anymore. This must be done in a legal, peaceful and non- threatening or non-violent manner. But it must be done this year! No more sitting passively taking about how much PP's presence upsets us while they open every day and do there business right in our community. We as Catholics have a duty and obligation make sure that Planned Parenthood isn't in business in our Diocese by the end of 2014.
You can’t tell me that as Catholics in the Diocese of Greensburg, we don’t have the connections, resources and know-how to force this evil organization out of our Diocese for good. We all know what Planned Parenthood represents. The national organization of Planned Parenthood actively participates in the planning, promotion and execution of abortions around the world. Our call to action is to shut their Greensburg office located at 125 Nature Park Road down. If PP tries to open again in a new location within our Diocese, we must be there at the ribbon cutting ceremony to once again show them the exit door from our Diocese.
But how can we do this? We have to do this with a sense of urgency! It is alleged that the owner of the building that Planned Parenthood leases from also owns and operates the Cards N’ Sweets Hallmark card store next door. Call him (724-836-3777), or stop in and let him know that since he has chosen to do business with and allow a Planned Parenthood in his building, you and others will choose to no longer do business with him. Do you know anyone who works at Planned Parenthood? Help them find a new job. We can do that. Maybe if no one will work for PP they will have no choice but to leave town. We must work with a sense of urgency and pray to God for guidance on how to accomplish this necessary task.
Folks, the time of sitting passively while the evils of Planned Parenthood operated right under our noses must be over. The 40 Days of Life Movement showed us what urgency means, and did a wonderful job this past summer silently protesting outside of this Planned Parenthood office. But the office is still there, and this fact should instill in us all a quiet but steady urgency to change this reality. PP is still quietly steering young mothers from out community to kill their unborn babies every day. PP's mission to educate young mothers that it is OK to kill their unborn babies is full-time. Our mission to force them out of our Diocese should be full-time as well. The time has come to make the Greensburg Diocese a Planned Parenthood Free Zone once and for all.
Do you know urgency? Have you ever felt urgency in your life? Do you understand what it means to be consumed with urgency ? Have you ever wanted or needed to accomplish something or be with someone so much that uncontrollable desire overtook your every thought and action? During this period of intense desire you most likely felt on edge, and almost fevered with one focus and purpose? You experienced a slow burning determination of purpose that overtook you and set your heart and mind on a single purpose. The feeling of urgency is intense and heavy. It is emotionally draining, and can be spiritually uplifting. Urgency is not subtle.
Now that you know what urgency is, it is time that you know that we are called to seek the Lord in our lives with urgency. Not because it is the Christian thing to do, or what we might hear in a sermon on Sunday. We are called to seek the Lord and love the Lord with urgency because the is the natural order life. We are called to urgently serve the Lord in every moment of our lives. Yes, every moment. Every second of every hour of every day we should feel an intense urgency to love become closer to our Lord. Wow! That is something to wrap our minds around. Every second of every hour or every day during our lives here on Earth we should be urgently seeking to love and serve the Lord.
Now, let us examine our daily lives and ask if we are merely “professional” Catholics. Professional Catholics are just like most of us in how they approach their Faith. They go to Church on Sunday, and maybe pray or go to Mass a few times during the week, but they never let their Faith lives interfere with their “real” full-time lives. How could they (or we) though? After all we have to make a living, and participate in the “real” world in order to thrive and survive. There are rules and cultural norms that we have to uphold in order to fit into the "real" world so we can support ourselves and families….right? LIke the song, do you work, eat and sleep and then work eat and sleep over and over because that is the way it is? Are you stuck wondering if there is more to live than working, eating and sleeping? Or do you depend on the Lord for your life? If so then your urgency has no time for being a professional. When you are a professional at something your are an expert who is comfortable in what you do or perform. You are skilled and in control of what you are a professional at. Thus a "professional" Catholic is one who is comfortable at managing their Faith lives and “real” lives while maintaining an acceptable distance between the two. Yet, can we or should we ever be comfortable in the how we seek to love and serve our Lord? Or should we live with a sense of urgency that we will never have enough time to do the Lord’s work? Should we urgently seek to know and love God in a way that abandons the norms of the “real” world while in pursuit of His will? Are you a professional or are you in a state of urgency seeking the Lord?
Time is definite in what it has to offer us here in this world. Urgency understands that there is not enough time to accomplish all that we need to before the definite end.
Even priest, pastors and bishops can become professional Catholics void of urgency. They can live their lives with a sense of doing a job while enjoying the trappings they provide. It is easy to mistakenly think that we have arrived at our calling in life and need to just stay in a holding pattern. This is the deadly thinking of a professional who looks at God’s calling as a target that needs to be hit, instead of an life long task that is allotted just one day to complete.
Understand this. Urgency must be present in all of us when it comes to living and administering our Faith. We can’t lose our sense of urgency for one second of one hour of one day. God isn’t asking us to seek Him in a lackluster or melancholy way or only when we have time away from our “real“ lives. The Lord wants us to seek Him with a sense of urgency in His world which is the authentic “real” world. Our lives must be 100% dependant on our God in order to live. Urgency! Seek and serve God with urgency as if nothing else matters, because it doesn't. Urgency! Why are you waiting?
A Witness to Our Faith?
Or Counter of Our Money?
In many sales organizations there is a monthly, or sometimes even a weekly, progress report published by the company showing the results of all the sales representatives. It is a very public ranking of just how much of the companies product each representative sold. This published list is a way to remind each representative that the company knows how you are doing, and so do your peers. If you think that these sales progress reports are meant to motivate, you are correct. The successful reps look at the list and are motivated to keep up the good work. The not so successful reps look at the list and are reminded that they better get their butts in gear or they might not have a job too much longer. No matter what you think of this type of public motivation in many of today’s sales organizations, these reports are designed by companies to make a statement to each and every one of their sales reps. “We are watching your progress. Make us money and your safe. Don’t make us money and your gone.” This is because in most companies decisions are based on how someone or something effects the bottom line. This message is what can be expected from businesses. But is it what we should expect from our Catholic Church?
I noticed in the Catholic Accent this week a similar type of results report on page 7. But this report didn’t have anything to do with sales, instead this report was the 2013 Lenten Appeal parish by parish donation results. This report showed each and every parish’s participation percentage and amount raised for the appeal. The total Diocesan participation in 2013 was 39.1%. The total amount raised and paid was $3,860,375. According to the Accent, it was a good year in the eyes of the Diocese. But despite the wonderful rhetoric and praise in the article adjacent to this parish by parish report, two things jumped off the pages at me that in my opinion were intended to send a not so rosy message to pastors and parishioners alike. These were messages that most pew sitting Catholics quickly reading through the diocesean information peice would gloss right over without a second thought. But to those priests and employees who are working for the Diocese (and understand the current culture on East Pittsburgh Street), there must be no doubt that a message was being sent.
The first message was Bishop Brandt’s quote highlighted in the center of the page. It read: “Your participation in this appeal is a tremendous witness to your faith and to your caring concern for others”. Wow! This statement seems to be telling us which side is up in the Bishop‘s mind. But we will get back to this loaded quotation by our Bishop in a bit. That is because the second thing that jumped off page 7 and smacked this Joe right between the eyes was the subtle but seemingly intentional message that could be interpreted from the parish by parish report. It appears to be a reminder to each parish and pastor of just how successful or not so successful they were in the 2013 Lenten Appeal. The message I read from this report was this. We at the Diocese are watching you, and know exactly which parishes and pastors were able to bring in the cash during the Appeal. We know, and now so does the rest of the Diocese. This seemingly subtle but visible statement in the parish by parish report as well as the intentionally highlighted quote of Bishop Brandt appear starkly demonstrative of perhaps where our Bishop's priorities sit.
The message that this Joe took from page 7 of the Accent was this.
Money, money, money makes the world (and our diocese) go round. Raise it, donate it, find any way you can to pass it on to the Diocese, and you will be demonstrating how deep your faith is, and we will all be able to see just how much care and concern you have for your fellow man.
WOW! All that insight into the hearts and souls of people from a financial transaction? Based on recent history the message could continue this way.
We’ll spend it, spend it, spend it on attorneys, consultants and marketing campaigns when our Catholic Schools Superintendent gets us in a jam over the firing of a high school principal. We’ll use it, use it, use it to determine which groups of parishioners can keep their Churches, and which ones will be left with empty closed buildings. Meanwhile, I’ll buy with it, buy with it, buy with it a beautiful expensive chair for me!
Is it just me or are we getting the wrong messages from our Church leaders?
Remember this parishioners in the Diocese of Greensburg. The depth of your Faith is not judged by the percentage of participation in an appeal or dollars raised by your parish. Giving to a Diocesan Appeal, isn’t a demonstration of your Faith or an instant ticket to heaven, as some may have you think. We are here on this Earth to do Gods work period. If we as Catholics, parishes, diocese and a Church as a whole love and obey our Lord he has promised to take care of us and provide us our daily bread.
In this Joe's eyes, a Bishop (and his underlings) who try and teach us that money from an appeal can measure our Faith has lost his way and needs our prayers to find his way back to the Lord's teachings.
A Bishop who lives in a mansion and exudes the privileges of a prince while many of his flock struggle to feed themselves, and keep a warm healthy place to lay their heads at night is misguided and insignificant. We need to put our bishop on notice that reform has come to this Diocese. Reform inspired by the Holy Spirit. Reform led by the good hard working, God loving Catholics that expect more from their Church leaders. The message we must send back to our Bishop and his minions is simple, clear and has to grow in fortitude and consistency. Our message has to be this.
Faith is fostered by our personal relationship with our God not how much money we pledge to the Diocese. Faith will lead us to do great things in His name. Faith will move mountains and grow Churches. Bishop Brandt, page 7 of the Accent is nothing more than a record of financial transactions. God bless those who give to their Church out of love and for the right reasons. Those reasons are not for any man to judge or label. The record of these financial transaction doesn't belong on display. Because they are between us and our God. The future of our Church is not predicated on dollars, but the strength of His flock. Your job as Bishop is to strengthen the flock not put a dollar sign on them. If you keep trying to convince us that Faith is found in our pocket books, then you are no better than the two bit hustler evangalists who tell us on our TVs at 3am that we can be saves if we just send them a check. Faith is strenghtened by hearty leadership that shows the people the way of our Lord by word and example.
THE SAINT BRUNO
Just a coincidence, or are they making a statement?
Members of Saint Bruno Parish certainly must have been aware of Bishop Brandt's 10th Anniversary Mass scheduled for March 2nd when they planned a bus trip to skip town and visit their former pastor...right? Sure, it has to be just a coincidence that the two events are falling on the same day? Then again these are the same parishioners who fought hard and even filed an appeal to Rome to get their pastor back, but were rebuked by Bishop Brandt. So, this joe wouldn't blame them for wanting to get out of town to see their beloved former pastor instead of attending the Bishop's 10th Anniversary Mass. Nope, not one bit!
PS.....to all of you bus riding parishioner from St. Bruno.....ride on....ride on....
Here is a little tribute to set the mood
POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Church Closings in Limbo as
Rome overrules Bishops
The reason so many Churches have been closes is mainly because Catholics haven't challenged their Bishops!
The first JCP project will be a documentary on the closing of the Fayette County Parishes, and the devistating impact this action by Bishop Brandt had on the the people of that region of the Diocese.
See the trailer below
DOUBLE STANDARD BISHOP?
Is it just me or has Bishop Brandt, with the letter below, shown his willingness to allow double standards under his watch within the Diocese?
Are there different rules for different parishes and pastors?
On July 19th of last year Bishop Brandt met with parishioner from Saint Bruno and told them that they could not keep their Bendictine pastor, Rev. Martin Bartel because he would not make an exception to his rule of not keeping either pastor on when partnering two parishes. The parishioners even asked the Bishop to make an exception to his rule, and he along with his right hand man Rev Kulick told them "NO".
So, the question is, why then is the Bishop willing to allow Benedictine Father Loew to remain at Saint Gertrude parish on February 12th of this year while partnering it with Christ the King parish?
All the best to Father Loew, OSB and the parishioners at Saint Gertrude and Christ the King parishes. But this action demonstrates a wilingness to entertain a double standard on the part of Bishop Brandt. Let it be known to the Bishop that this double standard has been noticed by the parishioners at St. Bruno Parish.
DOUBLE STANDARD FOR
Read the following email below and then the documents and ask yourself "why"?
Name: Barbara Soltesz Email: XXXXXXXXX Phone number: XXX-XXX-XXXXX Subject: social justice Message: I was the Music Director at Holy Family Church for 22 years. 5 years ago I was cut to part-time because "the parish had no money". My salary was reduced and I no longer had health care benefits. My job description didn't change, expectations remained the same. I turned 62 this year, and decided to retire because my pension and Soc Security, even with the early penalty, amount to more that my take-home pay. Then, my pastor advertised my job on catholicjobs.com as full-time, with benefits, 40 to 45k, and the job description remained the same as what I had been doing for the last 5 years. My salary last year was $17,000!!!(I should add that I never had any complaints about my job performance.) I confronted the pastor about this, then contacted the HR rep for the diocese. He had me talk to a fact-finding lawyer that the diocese retained. The lawyer came back and said that my pastor would like to offer me $1500 "so there are no hard feelings", but I said no thanks, he can keep his money and I will keep my hard feelings. I served at that parish for 22 years--I have been treated unfairly, unethically, and unjustly. I said when I retired I was going to put up a billboard on Rte 30 that would say "Diocese of Greensburg--Social Justice for all but our own!". I won't be doing that--I can't afford to. All I asked for was fairness, but of course haven't received it!
***Please note that in the email below to Barbara Soltesz from Charles Quiggle of the Diocese of Greensburg states that an attorney who is an "unbiased independent investigator" will contact her. We have been told by a legal expert that this could potentially be troubling for both the attorney and the Diocese. If this attorney was in fact being paid by or on retainer by the Diocese, how could he be unbiased or independent? Wouldn't this attorney be looking out for the best interests the Diocese and not Barbara Soltesz if the diocese was paying him?
We have asked the Diocese and Mr. Quiggle to clarify how this attorney was able to be identified as an unbiased and independent investigator and who was paying his fees. Neither the diocese or Mr. Quiggle have responded to our questions.***
According to Barbara Soltesz a new music director was hired full-time after she was told that the parish could only afford her partime due to financial difficulties. The new music director we are told by Barbara graduated from the same school with the same degree as Barbara. We left several messages at the diocese with Jerome Zufelt and Rev. Larry Kulick to get their side of the story. The question remains. Is this how the Diocese treats it's loyal employees? Barbara told us she would have never retired if she was offered to be place back in full-time employment with benefits, as her replacement was.
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS REMAIN IN PERPETUAL LIMBO?
Rev. Larry Kulick William Yacullo
After months of heavy spending, hiring consultants, firing the superintendent, multiple meeting of an ad-hoc committee, and gathering parent's input; the best the Diocese and Bishop can do is continue with an interim administrator. The question is why?
The next time you come across these people:
Mr. William Yacullo of Trinity Executive Partnership,
Mrs. Elizabeth Fazzini, Deacon William Hisker,
Dr. Paul Niemiec, Msgr. Raymond Riffle,
Mr. Jerome Zufelt, BIshop Brandt,
Father Larry Kulick, or
Sister Mary Norbert Long,
Ask them what the heck is taking them so darn long to correct our Catholic schools! Check out the letter (below) sent to parents on 12/24 and ask yourself, or more importantly the people above, if the slow actions of the Diocese shows the Bishop's deep committment or development of a safe and secure environment for our Catholic students. Is it just me or do our Diocesean leaders action's never really measure up to their strategically crafted words?
My grade for Bishop Brandt, his high priced counsultants and his band of diocesan leaders is an "F". We expect more for our students than just throwing a lot of dollars at "consultants" and setting up ad-hoc committees made up entirely of Dioceses employees who work for and answer to the Bishop. It's almost as if the Diocese wants to appear to be doing something about this problem, while apparently nothing seems to be getting accomplished. Is it business as ussual at the Diocese? You decide.
-------------------Letter to Parents--------------------
December 24, 2013
Dear Parents and Guardians of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School:
As you and your families prepare to celebrate Christmas and the New Year, we offer you our sincere prayers for a most blessed and happy time with your family and friends. Furthermore, as we enter the New Year, we look forward to an excellent, exciting semester at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School.
Mr. William Yacullo of Trinity Executive Partnership, who is directing the search for a new principal at GCC, has concluded a series of face-to-face meetings with GCC students, faculty, staff, coaches, parents and alumni. He met with the Ad Hoc Committee for GCC on Dec. 18 to make a year-end report.
He reported that all of the stakeholder meetings showed great support for the school with particular interest in its academic rigor and Catholic identity, and its strong, viable future. In addition, Mr. Yacullo reported that the principal search at Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School is underway. In the next two weeks, Mr. Yacullo will contact via telephone and email also pastors of parishes that send students to GCC, as well as the principals of the Catholic elementary schools that send students to GCC and, likewise, community leaders to gain their insights about the school’s future needs.
In January, he will draft an updated job description based, in part, on insights from the meetings and other conversations, post the job opening with groups such as the National Catholic Educational Association and the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame, among others, and work with the diocese to form a search committee. You will be kept informed about the progress of this important search.
Mr. Yacullo also reported that there were some concerns expressed at the meetings regarding the commitment of the Diocese and Bishop Brandt to GCC. As he has said in the past, Bishop Brandt is deeply committed to the long-term viability and success of the Catholic schools in the Diocese, especially its high schools. He recognizes that all of the schools are important ministries in the faith formation and evangelization of the diocese’s young men and women and, therefore, an integral part of the Diocese’s mission.
Recognizing the likelihood that a new principal may not be available to begin work at GCC prior to the conclusion of the academic year, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill have agreed to allow Sister Mary Norbert Long, S.C., to serve as interim administrator of the school through the conclusion of the 2013-14 year, if necessary, and Sister Mary Norbert has agreed to continue her duties at GCC until then. This will remain a part-time position as Sister Mary Norbert continues her duties with the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.
In other news, to help ensure a strong future for both of its Catholic high schools, the Diocese is continuing its discussions with Meitler, an independent, professional, educational consulting firm that will evaluate the governance of the two diocesan high schools; the Office for Catholic Schools and the role and duties of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese; and the establishment of suitable instruments for continuing dialogue and communication in a structured way.
Meitler, a Milwaukee-based firm, has more than 40 years of experience working with more than 2,600 Catholic schools, parishes and dioceses. The firm will consult with a cross section of faculty, staff, coaches, students, parents and legal guardians, alumni, pastors of the parishes which send students to Greensburg Central Catholic and Geibel Catholic, as well as with representatives from both local civic communities, so that these constituencies can contribute to an evaluation process. After the listening sessions, the consulting firm’s report will be forwarded to Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt for his consideration and action.
Mrs. Barbara Sabo, director of Catholic School Services for the Diocese, is leading the Office for Catholic Schools while it is without a superintendent.
Throughout the principal search and the work of the consulting firm, the Ad Hoc Committee will continue to serve only to ensure that the processes proceed in an expeditious manner. It is neither conducting the search nor the consultation; nor is it participating in the interview process for the new principal.
Saint Bruno and St. Paul Parishes partnering to hold a
gala evening New Year's Eve to welcome 2014!
-Buffett dinner at 9:00!
-Free beer and soft drinks are included!
-A champagne toast at midnight!!
-A Chinese auction with great gifts.
-Dancing to the Wally Ginger's 10 piece band.
All this and more for $25 dollars per person. Tickets available at the office of St. Bruno and St. Paul parishes or after mass at each church the weekend of December 21 and 22. Friday December 27th is the last day to buy tickets at the church offices.
For information or to reserve tickets call:
Leroy at 724-836-3872
St. Paul Parish at 724-834-6880
St. Bruno Parish at 724-836-0690
Plan a party-----bring a group of friends!
Petition Started to
Myers at GCC
Parents group Petitioning Bishop Brandt, Father Kulick and the Ad-Hoc Committee members to reinstate Former GCC Principal Denise Myers now that Superintentdent Bocan is no longer employed by the Diocese.
"...Mr. Trent D. Bocan is no longer Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Greensburg, effective December 5, 2013."....
Trent Bocan, Former Superintendent of Catholic Schools
The Parents of GCC students, Catholic parishioners, supporters of Denise Myers and readers of websites like this one spoke out, and the Diocese had no choice but to listen. Collectively we have shown that what happens within our Diocese is our concern and our voices matter. The powers to be at the Diocese seemed to want the problems in our Catholic schools to go away quietly, so they could conduct business as usual. But thousands of you stood up and said "Enough!" and in a victory for the quality of our Catholic education system the Bishop and Diocese appeared to blink yesterday. In the statement below the announcement was made by the Diocese to part ways with Trent Bocan. Our millions of readers were very upset with how the Denise Myers firing was handled, and there are still questions to be answered. Was Bocan the sacrificial lamb for the Diocese? Was the intense media spotlight by this website and others on every move that the Diocese made the real reason for yesterday's move? Would Mr. Bocan still be employed with the Diocese if the Myers firing had taken place quietly and without the explosion of emotions by parents and area Catholics?
One thing is for sure. Our Diocese is not used to having its' every move in the spotlight of media attention. We as Catholics have a moral obligation to stand up and defend our Church. We did just that with Saint Bruno Church and now also with our Catholic Schools. We are slowly reforming our Diocese and Church. Don't stop now. God needs you to keep standing for right and defending against wrong.
Statement of Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt
On October 21, 2013 Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt approved the announcement that the Diocese of Greensburg would seek to enter into a contract with an outside, independent, professional, educational consulting firm to evaluate the overall governance and governance structure of our two diocesan high schools; the role and duties of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Greensburg; and the formation of advisory boards and committees at the Diocese’s two Catholic high schools and at the diocesan level. For this purpose, the Diocese has begun negotiations with the consulting firm of Meitler. Meitler, a Milwaukee-based firm, has more than 40 years of experience working with more than 2,600 Catholic schools, parishes and dioceses.
The consulting firm will be instructed to consult with a cross section of faculty, staff, coaches, students, parents and legal guardians, alumni, pastors of the parishes which send students to Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School and Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School, as well as with representatives from both local civic communities, so that these constituencies can contribute to an evaluation process. After the consulting firm determines how it will proceed, this process will be communicated to the various groups that will be involved.
After extensive listening sessions, the consulting firm’s report regarding the governance structure for the two high schools as well as possible recommendations for the reorganization of the Diocesan Office for Catholic Schools, and specifically the role and duties of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Greensburg, will be forwarded to Bishop Brandt for his consideration and action. In this process the present Ad Hoc Committee will serve only to ensure that this independent study proceeds in an expeditious manner; it will not conduct the consultation itself.
In order that the study referred to above and the prospective restructuring of the Office for Catholic Schools as well as the role and duties of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools may be conducted in an independent manner, Mr. Trent D. Bocan is no longer Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Greensburg, effective December 5, 2013.
Bishop Brandt considers it of paramount importance for the good of Catholic education in our Diocese that we move forward together to facilitate the emergence of a new high school governance structure as well as a reorganization of the Office for Catholic Schools in a way which represents fairly the individual educational communities involved. This restructuring must, moreover, continue to strengthen Catholic identity in all our schools and form our youth with strong academic programs and faith-related values. At the same time, all the constituencies involved in the enterprise of Catholic education in the Diocese must recognize that this endeavor presumes for its success not only respect for the interests of its stakeholders and their support but presumes, likewise, a recognition that this enterprise is also a part of the teaching, sanctifying and governing ministry of the Diocesan Bishop.
Consequently, Catholic education in the Diocese is to be understood and will continue to be promoted as a cooperative venture. From the beginning of his ministry as Diocesan Bishop in Greensburg, Bishop Brandt has made it clear that he is a strong supporter of Catholic education as evidenced by many concrete ways in which he has supported it during the years of his tenure as Bishop. Consequently, Bishop Brandt now invites those committed to Greensburg Central Catholic to enable the school to emerge from its present struggles in order to realize fully the potential it has and to validate the hopes and expectations he and so many others have for its success in the future.
Dec 1st MARKS
VICTORY FOR THE
THE RETURN OF THE SATURDAY MASS TODAY MARKS THE RESOLVE OF PARISHIONERS OF SAINT BRUNO PARISH TO SAVE THEIR PARISH.
After months of appeals, petitions, emails, letters to the Papal Nuncio and plenty of media attention, the parishioners at Saint Bruno Parish in South Greensburg, have victoriously taken their Saturday Mass back! Tonight's 6:00 Mass will mark the return of the Saturday celebration of the Eucharists. It was cancelled by the Diocese back in July due to the restructuring of the parish as part of the Bishop's strategic plan. Tonight marks the return of the Mass that parishioners worked so hard to get reinstated.
Parishioners had to petition both their new administrator, Father Manchas, along with parish council to get the process started with the Diocese. Regional Council approved the request that was OKed by Bishop Brandt.
This stands as a testiment to all Catholics that you must stand up sometimes and defend your Parish, your Faith and God's Church.
....."During his history-changing address to his brother cardinals before the conclave that elected him, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio stressed that the fundamental choice facing them was between an 'evangelizing Church that comes out of herself' and a 'worldly Church that lives within herself, of herself, for herself.'......
The Catholic Church and other businesses and religious institutions should not be forced to fund contraception and abortions through any healthcare mandate period. It goes against who we are as Catholics and destroys religious freedom.
What is a priest? Who should he be to his parishioners? If you talk to 10 different people you will most likely get 10 different answers. We as Catholics tend to hold strong opinions on what we expect our priests to be. Despite the large array of opinions, we can all agree that first and foremost a priest must be an example of Christ to all Catholics. A priest through the Eucharist turns bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. To understand what being an example of Christ means, we need to seek a simple explanation. Christ is Love. So, a priest must demonstrate love every day in what he says, how he acts and what he teaches. The essence of love is selflessness, understanding and compassion. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 tells us “Love is patience, love is kind. Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own ways; Love is not irritable or resentful; Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.” I think we can all agree that as an example of Christ here on earth a priest must always demonstrate Love.
A priest is also a teacher. What does he teach? A priest teaches us all how to be followers of Christ. That means that a priest must set an example of how to live a Christian life and turn from the temptations of sin. Think about that for a while. As a teacher in our Church a priest can best teach us by how he lives his life and conducts himself. Through his sermons, writings and talks he can guide us and teach us about our Faith and how to have a personal relationship with the Lord. So, in many ways a priest is a personal tour guide through the numerous facets of Catholicism right to the feet and into the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ. How beautiful! What a blessed vocation it must be. Bringing people to Christ and saving their souls. Teaching them Love and compassion. Instilling believers with wisdom and understanding, so that they can open their hearts and let Christ live in them. We all must make a journey in this life from sin to Christ. Having a priest as a spiritual advisor along the way makes us all better Catholics, better Christians, and better images of our God.
There is one other thing that a priest can teach us in the image of Christ, and that is forgiveness. We are all sinners, and no matter how terrible the sin, the Lord loves us enough to forgive us and wipe away our sins. We are taught by Christ though to seek forgiveness and forgive those who have sinned against us. For only through forgiveness can we really find out the true meaning of Love. It is in this light that I ask all who read this to forgive others. Even if what they have done to you is wrong and hurtful. Forgive them and love them as Christ loves you as a sinner. Yes, even if they are priests or a Bishop. Forgive them!
I want to set the example. In my prayers the Lord keeps asking me to forgive. So, I forgive Bishop Brandt for any hurt he has caused me; I forgive Father Larry Kulick for what he has done. I also forgive all other priests at the diocese for the pain and hurt that they have caused me and the people I know. I know that I am a sinner. But I also know that as a sinner I must forgive. Can you? Will you?
Over 400 Show at Fundraiser Dinner for Former GCC Principal Denise Myers, Sending a Strong Message to Bishop Brandt, Vicar Kulick, Trent Bocan and The Diocese!
Over 400 area Catholics and GCC parents showed their support for beloved former principal Denise Myers at Gianiilli's II on Wednesday night. This support for Myers can only be described as a very loud and powerful message to the Diocese demonstrating where the local Catholic community's and GCC loyalties can be found concerning this controversy. The question is this: Are the Bishop and Diocese listening?
WHY ARE WE HIRING THIS MAN...
William Yacullo Trinity Executive Partnership
...WHEN WE ARE STILL PAYING THIS MAN A LARGE SALARY?!
Trent Bocan, Superintendent of Catholic Schools
I'm confused. Is it just me or is the Diocese once again spending, who knows how much money, on a high powered consultant, when we are still paying a superintendent of Catholic Schools. According to a message sent out to GCC parents last week, the Bishop and Diocese have hired William Yacullo, of Trinity Executive Partntership, from Illinois to choose the new principal for GCC. Really?! Our Diocese, currently having monetery challenges, is now dumping more money into a high powered and most likely high priced head hunter to replace Denise Myers? Where is Superintendent Trent Bocan? We know he hasn't been fired over the Myers incident. Question: Don't we already pay Bocan to hire and (as we all know) fire employees of our Diocesan Schools? So, then why in the hell is our Bishop spending more money on a consultant to do the job we are already paying for in Bocan?
Perhaps this consultant should be used to hire a new Superintendent of Catholic Schools and for that matter, can we use him to find a new Bishop and Vicar General? Does the Bishop and Vicar General Kulick think we are all forgetful and stupid? We haven't forgotten the timeline of events, and Mr. Bocan's sudden disapperance from the scene after this website and the media blew this story wide open a few month ago. In the case of Bishop Brandt, if this isn't an example of throwing good money after bad to correct a serious and costly mistake by our diocesan leadership then I don't know what is. No disrespect to Mr. Yacullo or his firm. I'm sure he is very good at what he does. But he also doesn't do his job for free. Either does the law firm that was hired to interview outspoken GCC parents. How much is the legal bill amounting to for all of us to pay? For that matter how much is the total bill racking up to for all of the consultants, attorney's and now head hunters in order to correct what appears to be blatant mismanagement in the GCC matter. How much of our tuition, weekly collections and pledges are now being wasted on the firing of a principal? There is no doubt the Diocese doesn't want you or I to know that figure.
The statement released last week by the Diocese also seemed to discount the requests of GCC parents, and also further kick fired principal Denise Myers while she is down with this paragraph:
..."The Diocese of Greensburg reiterates that former principal Denise Myers is no longer an employee of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School or the Diocese, nor is she in any manner an agent of the Diocese. In no way whatsoever does she currently serve or represent the school or the Diocese. We are stating with unequivocal clarity that Denise Myers will not be returning in any capacity as an employee of the school or Diocese."....
I'm sure Mrs. Myers, wasn't too happy to read that statement. But to this date, Denise Myers hasn't or is bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the issue of her firing. We just don't know why Myers is remaining silent.
Rev. Larry Kulick Bishop Lawrence Brandt
As this GCC controversy continues for Bishop Brandt and the Diocese, there is one thing that seems to keep surfacing in the light of all the unanswered questions about mismanagent, and power struggles. The one thing that we know, is that Bishop Brandt and Rev. Larry Kulick continue to spend good diocesan money on lawyers and out of state professionals to come in and do a job that they and their leadership team should have done correctly in the first place. They may think that all the lengthy statements and use of consultants is confusing us, but I have a message for them.....It isn't! We see what you are doing, and how much of the money we Catholics of this Diocese give you is being wasted. We see it Bishop Brandt, and so does the Lord. We see it all, and we are not happy with what we see. This Diocese is in real trouble Bishop Brandt, and we are placing the blame squarely at your feet. Schools are being closed, Good parishes are being boarded up, and Catholics in our Diocese are leaving the Faith in droves. You are the Bishop, and so the buck stops on your desk along with your Vicar General, Rev. Larry Kulick. So, don't think for a moment that we are fooled. The truth is very clear to see for all who seek it.
The Reform of our Diocese is on!!!!!
Diocesan Group to Petition Pope
Francis on Choosing a New Bishop
Greensburg's Next Bishop A Petition to Pope Francis from the Ambrosians of Greensburg
Go to: greensburgsnextbishop.org
Saint Bruno ParishionersPush
Administrator and Parish Council
To Get Saturday Mass
Back After Months of Appeals to
Rome and Diocese!!!
St. Bruno Parish, South Greensburg
Thanks to the hard work and leadership of disenfranchised parishioners who petitioned Parish Administrator, Father Manchas and Parish Council members, Saint Bruno has had it's Saturday Mass reinstated by the Diocese. This is testament to standing up and speaking out when something wrong has occured.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE APPEAL COMMITTEE AND PARISHIONERS WHO FOUGHT HARD TO GET THIER SATURDAY MASS BACK!!!
Has Diocese Leadership Let us all
Down with Poor Strategic Plan?
Are We Better Off Now Than Six
Months Ago When Restructuring
Closed Schools and Church's?
Rev. Kulick Rev. Lechnar Rev. Riffle
Emails to Joe Catholic may say is all!
As we sadly observe the six-month anniversary of "OBrandtacare," the ill-advised and spiritually unhealthy reorganization of the Catholic communities in Greensburg and Fayette County, and the continued purge of the St. Vincent Benedictines (whose founder incidentally, was a German diocesan priest who joined the Benedictines specifically to minister to German immigrants in parishes and through education), I have one question for Bishop Brandt, Fr. Kulick, Fr. Lechnar and Msgr. Riffle, the architects of the plan: "Are we better off now than we were six months ago?" The answer is clearly no. Here's hoping and praying that Pope Francis, after removing the German bishop of bling, dealing with the scandals of His Grace (as he prefers to be called) Archbishop Myers in Newark, and hopefully retiring the aristocratic, autocratic Archbishop Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul, will look towards Greensburg and realize how God's holy people have been scandalously disserved.
-No Longer in Diocese of Greensburg
Why is it that I always hear the name Monsignor Raymond Riffle along with Fr.Kulick and the Bishop when decisions are being made. Who is this man? What special title does he hold? I thought he was just the Pastor at the Cathedral and director of the Catholic Charities. I was once told that he was the Diocesan Pro-Life Priest because of Catholic Charities but he never attends any Pro-Life functions. I think he is like the little kid who comes in to join the fight once he knows the victim has be defeated. Fr. Ray, you have enough problems to solve in your own back yard. I pray for a Whole New Team in the very near future.
"Obrantmacare" is a very clever analogy drawing a parallel between how the leadership in the White House and the Diocese of Greensburg are both failing us. However, "Obrandtmacare" dates back much further than 6 months ago. In Oct. 2008, 14 parishes were closed with 4 weeks notice. Prior to that 2 "chapels of convenience" were closed. In Westmoreland County , St. Florian's School in United, Sacred Heart School in Youngstown, and Holy Cross School in Youngwood have closed in the past 10-15 years. I'm sure that there have been numerous other school and parish closures over the years as well. My point is that this "strategy" is not only being implemented by Bishop Brandt. It was also used by his predecessor ( may he rest in peace) to a far lesser extent. A more alarming trend is that this strategy has been the modus operandi for many Bishops in the Midwest, Northeast ,and Rustbelt for a number of years. This failed approach is emaciating the Catholic Church across the nation. The problem we face is far broader that just the Diocese of Greensburg ! Is the Catholic Church on it's way to extinction in the United States ? If something is not done to reverse this trend, that may be the case. We need leadership that is bold and inspired. We need people who can think outside of the box rather than resorting to the same old tactics. Closing more Catholic schools and churches IS NOT GOING TO INCREASE VOCATIONS, MASS ATTENDANCE, INCREASE REVENUE, OR SPREAD THE GOSPEL !!!!! Are there any Bishops out there who have drawn the line and said ,"No more church or school closures!" ????You've chronicled success with Catholic schools... what about success stories with Catholic parishes ?
Pittsburgh and Erie Bishops
Can't Cooperate with Obama
Erie Bishop, Persico Pittsburgh Bishop, Zubik
Erie Bishop, Lawrence Persico and Pittsburgh Bishop, David Zubik suing federal government over Obamacare to protect religious freedom. Bishop Zubik states that he will pay millions of dollars in fines rather than contradicting the Catholic beliefs about contraception and abortions.
Trust wholeheartedly in the Lord rather than relying on your own intelligence. In everything you do, acknowledge Him, and He will see that your paths are straight.
What a powerful verse from the Book of Proverbs. It is so revealing to us about the meaning of life here on Earth. Like so much of our Faith, the Lord provides answers to some of our most asked questions. Trust in the Lord and the purpose of your life will be revealed to you. Can you see how simple God had made life for us? He is telling us to stop fighting the world and put all of our trust in Him. The Lord isn’t asking you to put 50% or 75% or even 99.9% of your trust in Him. He is asking us and sometimes even demanding that we put 110% of our trust in Him, period. If we do this the Lord will show us our path in this world, He will reveal to us His plan for our lives. WOW! That is some amazing stuff, isn’t it?
Do you wake up each day worrying about how you will get through the day, or pay your bills or deal with the challenges of life. Do you make yourself sick sometimes trying to plan out your future making sure that you have everything in place just so? Do you feel like only you can accomplish the plan for your life without help from anyone? So many people today are on anti-depressants and medications trying to cope with getting through life. If you asked most of these people, they would tell you that they feel a heavy burden on their shoulders to make life work. Some of these people deep down are fearful that they might fail at life, and that thought scares the dickens out of them. The anxiety and fear these people feel can lead to stress and depression. The tight grip that many of these people have on life is exhausting because their efforts to control their lives in every aspect consume them. They work hard day to day just trying to tread water, when the solution to their lives is so simple it’s almost silly.
The Lord tells us to let go of these thoughts of controlling our lives, and surrender to Him. None of us on this Earth has the physical, emotional or spiritual capacity to control and dictate how our lives will unfold. To think that we can be the directors of our own lives is arrogance and pride at best. We as God’s Children weren’t placed here on Earth by our Father to control our own purpose in life. Oh, many of us struggle hard and think that we can control everything, but the plain truth is that we can’t, and won’t ever, no matter how hard we try. The Lord tells us to let go and fall into his arms and surrender control or our lives to Him. If we do this, He will set us free of our anxieties and stresses and depressions that we fall victim to by attempting to design our own lives. We weren’t placed here to just tread water and survive. No, we were placed here to do great things as children of God. All we have to do is set aside our pride, and trust that the Lord will take care of everything for us. Think of it like placing our lives on auto pilot and then sitting back relaxing and enjoying the ride of life as a passenger on our Lord’s wonderful plan for us.
It sounds very comforting doesn’t it? In the midst of our struggles and labors to make our lives work for us, our Lord tells us to let go, relax and fall into his arms. He wants us to trust in Him and his plan for our lives. He tells us that his plan for our lives was written for us long before we were born. He tells us that His individual plan for each of us is the perfect life experience that we all seek.
So, when you wonder, “What is life all about?” Or when you ask, “What is the meaning of life?” Change your question to, “What is the meaning of my life?” Ask yourself, “What is my life all about?” Then interject the Lord into these questions, and at that very moment you will place yourself at the doorway to making a choice. Do you keep asking and struggling with life, or do you let go, and place your life in the arms of the Lord? Do you keep trying to control an imperfect path for your life, or do you listen to the Lord and begin to experience the perfect life path that the Lord has chosen just for you?
We are not in control of own lives. We never have been in control, and we never will be in control. It’s that simple. Our lives belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the sooner we realize this and relinquish control to God, the sooner we will understand peace and begin to live the fullness of life here on Earth, just as God has planned it for us.
Let go. Let go. Let go.
EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES!
Rev. Larry Kulick Catholic Schools Superintendent, Trent Bocan
Our Diocesan officials can only state excuses for declining Catholic School enrollments, while other PA and U.S. Catholic Diocese are experiencing rising enrollments!!!!
Diocese of Allentown Sees rise in Catholic School Enrollment
While Diocese of Greensburg officials Jerome Zufelt and Trent Bocan are telling the media (see story below) that there are only problems and excuses, other Diocese are rolling up their sleeves and growing their Catholic Schools. Maybe the problem isn't the parents and students of our Diocese like these two officials would like you to believe. I think the problem may just be Trent Bocan, Jerome Zufelt and Bishop Brandt's atttitude. If you think failure.....failure will follow. Maybe it's time to clean house in our Diocese and start hiring people who can get things done other than closing schools, firing principals, paying huge retainers to attorneys and consultants and giving lame excuses to the media about why our Catholic Schools are failing.
Diosesan Officials Offer
No Solutions to
Declining Catholic Schools
No mention from Trent Bochan or Jerome Zufelt about recent GCC controversy following the firing of Principal Denise Myers. Can the Diocese take any of the blame for the decline in our Catholic Schools? Do we want Diocesan officials who just tell us what is wrong without offering any solutions? What are we paying a superintendent for if he can only tell us why we are failing?
There is a story that you may have heard about a very powerful and important man who in his later years of life began to suffer from the terrible effects of dementia. This man ruled over a large and important company, but due to his age had several younger handlers who managed the day to day operations of this corporation. These young men were also powerful because of their closeness to their boss and the freedom he allowed them in running the company. These younger ambitious men enjoyed using this power, and were feared by their subordinates and associates, because they had the ear of their boss. Because these young men did most of the work of running their bosses company, he gave them quite a bit of freedom to do as they wished. This arrangement went on for many years, and for both the boss and the men surrounding him it seemed to be working very well.
When the day came that these men found out that their boss was suffering from the debilitating effects of dementia, they met quietly and had to make a decision about what to do. Their two choices were simple. The first was to notify the board of directors of the company so that a replacement could be found immediately. But this action would surely mean a new boss would probably have his own handlers, and then these young ambitious men would lose their power in the company. This scenario led to the second choice, which was to not do a thing, and hide from the rest of the company and the public the dementia which was taking it’s toll on their boss. These men knew that they didn’t want to lose their power since they had made many enemies within the company who worked under them and were on the receiving end of their often misused power. So, they agreed to all work together to hide their bosses dementia and do whatever it took to cover up any problems that it created for them and their positions of power. They chose to abuse this situation and their boss’s well being. This choice was immoral, and damaged both the reputation of the corporation and their boss in the community.
In short this decision by these men became the downfall of this large and powerful corporation. These young ambitiously misguided men tried hard to cover up for their boss’s diminishing mental capacity for as long as they could so they could retain their power and continue to run the company. But eventually it all became to much for these men to handle and their poor judgments and business decisions began to have a fatal effect on the corporation and the lives of thousands of people. And one day after many people within the company and community had enough, the truth came out about how long their boss had been suffering from dementia. It was a devastating conspiracy that was discovered. A conspiracy that destroyed the reputation of the corporation, the boss, and the men who devised the cover-up. These men were rounded up and first fired by the board of directors, and then arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, along with a long list of both financial and civil crimes. In the end the company suffered terrible losses, the powerful boss with dementia suffered greatly due to not getting the treatments he needed and eventually a destroyed reputation. The young ambitious men rightly so ended up in prison. Nobody won in this story, and it became just another example of how the lust for power destroys lives and suffering for just about everyone involved.
Many of our elderly who suffer from dementia and other mental illnesses are abused in many ways. Some are taken advantage of by others who want what these elderly people have. It may be power, or money, or possessions. Other elderly men and women who suffer from diminishing mental capacity are just neglected, and denied vital care that can increase the quality of their lives.
I have promised myself that if I ever came across a situation like the story above, or any other forms of abusing the elderly who are suffering from these mental illnesses, I would do whatever it takes to bring the abusers to justice. And I will do just that. It is just a matter of having the proper proof that the abuse is taking place, and then bringing in the proper authorities.
We all have a sacred duty to protect our senior citizens from the abuse of those who immorally take advantage of them.
What will you do?
We All Are Being Given A Choice
The power of setting an example through our actions is intellectually, morally and spiritually superior to the judgment of the faults of our fellow man. As sinners we are called by Christ to seek forgiveness and demonstrate Love, Compassion and Peace to those around us.
Do you believe that Jesus died for our sins? Do you believe that He showed us the way to live as Christians here on earth? And do you believe that we as Christians are called to set Christ’s example for others to witness? Do you believe that judgment of our fellow man is for the Lord only? Think about these questions before you answer them.
Today we all can see a world where right and wrong are so startlingly on display for everyone to perceive. I have so many times heard people say how upside down everything seems to be in the world today. Example after example can be witnessed of what we all know is wrong, and yet we watch our society deem these evils as OK and acceptable. Abortion comes to mind as a vivid example. There shouldn’t even be a discussion on the morality of this evil, and yet the pro-abortion movement is so active and accepted by people who we would normally think are rational and moral. Christianity is also being attacked and vilified by a progressive media and movement that want to outlaw God in this country. We ask, “How can anyone ever attack a God who teaches us about love, forgiveness and peace?” Yet, more and more we see our society outlawing and removing Christianity from our schools and communities. Recently factions of our military placed Christians on a list of radical and dangerous groups, and threatened to court-martial military chaplains who proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ. All of these examples can leave us confused and asking what is going on in today’s world. We labor to understand why goodness and righteousness are being vilified and rejected by large portions of our culture. We ask “why”, but keep witnessing the chaos of good and evil being jumbled right in front of us by our peers.
The answer to why is so simple that it is almost embarrassing once we see it clearly. Have you ever seen the topography of the earth below you at 35,000 feet from an airplane window? Everything seems so clear and defined below you. You get to see the same geographical features from high in the air that are hard to comprehend when you are on the ground. You may even have one of those ahhh moments when you see clearly for the first time. Think of the meaning of life in today’s world and value systems much the same as peering at the earth from 35,000 feet. It is amazing what you will begin to understand about where we as Christians fit in this modern culture of declining morality and values.
I believe that we are being given a choice between right and wrong. God is making that choice easier and easier for us by how exaggerated the examples are becoming in the growing gap between good and evil. Never in my life have I witnessed how obviously drastic the differences in our two choices of good and evil have become. Our world is revealing to us more and more exaggerated examples of both good and evil. It’s as if the Lord is changing the shades of light gray and dark gray into pure darkness and pure light, and then asking us to choose. It’s kind of a slap to the back of the head from God asking us if we see the difference now!
The choices for us in today’s world are clear and easy to identify. The only thing we have left is to choose the side that we want to fashion our lives after. All we have to do is choose. God is calling us to choose goodness and righteousness. And He is telling us to live our lives as examples of his Love for the world to see. He is calling us to forget about judging others and to set the example of what is right and good. Then he wants us in our modern world of declining values and morals to go out and let everyone see what it means to live the life of a Christian. The choice is ours and ours alone. No matter who you are or what station in life you hold, God is asking you to make a choice.
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