Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Open Letter to the Fr. Fisher - Director of Priest Personnel

Note: A few months ago, I was contacted by a parishioner from a parish, which will not go named at this time. The parishioner informed me about a situation in his/her parish and asked if I would write about it. After contacting other parishioners from that parish and doing a bit of investigating, I decided that the story was true and would assist them.

I sent this note a few weeks ago to Fr. Fisher, the Director of Priest Personnel. I did receive a reply and forwarded it to the parishioners. After some thought, they have asked me to publish the letter.

At this point, the pastor and parish will not be named.


I am writing this letter to you on behalf of a number of parishioners of a particular parish in the Archdiocese of Washington. They have contacted me over the course of the last few months, because they do not know what else they can do to get your attention on this matter.

One of your parishes is slowly dying - spiritually, as well as, financially. It is not due to financial misconduct or some sort of sexual abuse. It is something much simpler and basic. It is because of the lack of pastoral interaction from the pastor. They rarely see him, especially at events which involve the school, unless there is an official from the diocese present. Anyone who in the slightest way disagrees with him, is either berated or shunned. In doing a bit of research, he has done this at his previous assignments. Some have even written to me that they have been told that the priests in this parish are too busy to make sick calls.

Each week, these parishioners tell me that they either learn or hear of another parishioner has left or is thinking seriously of leaving. Some of these people have been parishioners for ten, fifteen or twenty or more years. No, they are not leaving the Catholic church, they are simply leaving that particular parish.

They have explained to me that they have written to the Archdiocese, as well as, Archbishop Wuerl but to no avail. They have attempted to meet with you and the Archbishop, but to no avail. One even went so far as to confront the Archbishop at a public event on this matter, asking to meet, giving a business card but has not heard anything.

They are asking you to please do something before more people leave the parish. They see the parish slowly dying.

Isn't there anything that can be done about a pastor who is does not seem to care about his parish? Would you want someone on your staff who behaved in this manner? Is it not the Archbishop's duty to ensure that parishioners are properly lead? If you do not realize it by now, the parish I am talking about is located on (location deleted).

They have asked me to obtain a response from you for them.


Anonymous said...

I must say your description of 'pastoral shortcomings' sounds something like those at a parish I'm familiar with on Clopper Rd.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

Anonymous, you are referring to St Rose of Lima. It cannot be any secret since that's the only Catholic Church on Clopper. I don't believe St Rose has a school attached to it, so St Rose most likely is not the subject of this letter. St Rose, however, has its own significant problems, and has had them for quite some time. I delved into that on my own blog http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.com/2009/09/parish-visit-st-rose-of-lima-in.html

Anonymous said...

Restore, though not attached by a sidewalk or adjacency, there is indeed a school 'attached' to St. Rose.

Regarding your critique, it suprises me that your observations, especially about the worship space, didn't garner any comments.

Regardless, a parish community should be experienced on the basis of its spirituality and christian committment, not an ill informaed view of its liturgical trappings. And on this point, AAOWDCC's letter fits the shortcomings at St. Rose.

Anonymous said...

Well, now more than ever, I believe the first Anon's reference... It's unfortunate, but true, that if your letter wasn't addressing pastoral shortcomings at St Rose, it probably should.