Saint Casimir's is insular, relatively few non-polish people come, yet it is a part of the universal church. It is self sufficient. It taxed the diocese's resources not at all. Now, what is a 'vibrant' parish? Is there not some social contract, some implied promise that states, here are requirements, standards, thresholds et alia, that if met are proof of passing? Or is that just verbal camouflage and smokescreen? There are outward generalisations of the national situation, where certain commonalities are true in the vague, macroscopic, national situation, that are then applied as rationalisations for actions committed in particular, parochial situations, in which the national generalisations decidingly do not describe, nor apply to the present situations.
Here in the diocese of Cleveland, and elsewhere in the United States, parochial communities have been unsentimentally crushed. Whether Casimir's island, amidst the slumish blight of Cleveland's east side, had less chance than a snowball in an inferno to survive, as compared to the episcopal fiat of Richard Lennon can be conjectured.
There are many reasons, beyond the supposed guidelines, that the parish should endure. It was important enough for Karol Wojtyła to have made a pilgrimage. It is a parish that was in accord with the Solidarity movement for labor and freedom. And of course it was the spiritual home of souls for generations, as were and are other parishes.
The local media has been intermittent in their attention. The coverage on Sunday (8 November) was poor and negligent. WEWS5 had abundant and telling footage that they chose not to broadcast. To answer a stupid koan, yes a large tree when felled does make a sound, even if not televised with audio. Some of the parish members also made sounds the bishop could not ignore, and did not appreciate. In fact, the scene was truly dramatic; people were singing and crying as they sang in polish. Bishop Lennon does not like ethnic displays. Lennon does not like to be confronted. Lennon does not like to be challenged. He does not have much to worry about in the professional media. Their neglect is to his advantage.
WKYC3 did have a human interest story on the pastor some time ago, Monsignor Leo Telesz. He is the oldest priest in the diocese, and now has been pastor for thirty-six years, in addition to previous postings at St. Casimir's and other polish parishes in town. The man is of sharp mind, fervent faith and great dedication, yet he is being dispatched, unwillingly, to a nursing home. A few issues ago in the bishop's paper, an article of biography was published; that does not assuage the issue. If not for the communal compact with the parish's members and as a corporate person, Saint Casimir's continuance should have been ensured on Father Telesz's behalf alone!
--written on this day, Saint Leo the Great 2009
Postscriptum: Monsignor Telesz died 27 March 2013, ten days short of his 96th birthday.