Monday, April 26, 2010

Continuing story of the Casimiri

The Saint Casimir-in-exile parishioners met again Sunday. There was rumors of an out of town reporter from a national catholic news service being present, he was not, and the actual presence of new local media in attendance. With this scenario and some new people coming for the first time, such as a couple from the suppressed and episcopally looted St. Procop's, an introduction and identification of members were made in addition to the prayers and hymns.

Some people heard for the first time the genesis of the exiled parish. A retired polish born physician, Dr. Michael Klymiuk, had a dream the night after the parishioners were evicted. The Mass of Eviction was 8 November 2009. The elderly doctor saw the icon Our Lady of Czȩstochowa, Mary the Mother of God, and she said to him, "Do not leave me alone". From that he called some other parishioners and twenty came the first Sunday. People have continued to come each and every week since, some have never been inside the church. Now, there is a tarp brought out to the fence with a photo of the high altar fixed upon it. The fence in front of the church becomes an iconostasis and billboard for an hour a week beginning at 11.30 a.m.

Colleen O'Shaughnessy has been attending these vigils for months, and has brought many of her family along. She and a daughter of the parish, Krystyna Moreno née Kowalewski have lobbied Cleveland City Hall for months in order to advance councilman Brian Cummins' legislation to protect the architectural interior of landmark buildings, they with particular regard for Saint Casimir's, which was built in the polish cathedral style. She was brought front and center, and confessed of having an inadequate singing voice, and recited the hymn, "Our Lady of Knock".

On one of the lobbying nights at City Hall with a few more people with her, one fellow responded to the mayor's chief-of-staff, Kenneth Silliman (yes, silly man from silly hall), after he continuously repeated himself about possible reuse of parish buildings, "But sir, we look at these parishes as living beings. You are just interested in the corpse." The silly man dramatically over reacted, he swung out his arms, glancing a blow upon his respondent and declared, "This is over with," and retreated into the main chamber in a major huff.

The primary english speaking prayer leader, Joseph Feckanin, gave his best presentation and was fervent and eloquent in his statements. He has long looked at the entire Casimir experience as an unfolding of Divine Providence, and he has repeatedly introduced people to the rest of the congregation.

The great nucleus of these congregants were born in the old country. Some with very unpleasant experiences of a communist régime. Andrzej Sobolewski was jailed for his Solidarność activity. He is no longer young, but every week he carries a large standard of the labor union's flag. His wife is always there beside him, and often his daughter.

They, the Casimiri, also share news of concern. Wednesday, past, there was a forum held at Cleveland State University. Two of the above members attended and spoke to one of the participants, John Maimone (my money, not his pronunciation, but consider it a mnemonic), the chief financial officer of the diocese. They found out the real estate of the parish was being shopped around for $975,000. This brought gasps out of the Casimiri. On a side note, the bishop himself has been invited to a public forum of his choosing to respond to the closings, by one of the groups against at least of some of the unjust closings, Code Purple. Lennon, nor anyone at the chancery, has ever responded.

During to-day's [Monday] morning rain, representatives of the diocese and the sheriff's office directed and oversaw
workmen removing plywood from the boarded windows of Saint Casimir's. Saint Casimir's has a pending appeal with the Apostolic Signatura, the Signatura is equivalent to a papal supreme court. Under canon law, a parish's property can not be disposed of during this process. Neighbors and parishioners were there as a workman fell from a ladder. The next vehicle to arrive was an ambulance to take the fallen away. Observers immediately were reminded of the incident in the time of King David when Oza (Ussah) rashly touched the Ark of God and was struck down.
And when they came to the floor of Nachon, Oza put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it: because the oxen kicked and made it lean aside. And the indignation of the Lord was enkindled against Oza, and he struck him for his rashness: and he died there before the ark of God. — II Kings vi. 6-7. DRC

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