Monday, June 10, 2013

Lennon boots another Father Bob

Yesterday, i did not go to Mass alone. That was fortunate, for i was not up to driving home. A feather would not have knocked me over, but a shove definitely would have. In the early hours of this morning i had sweated most of it out. I was weak enough to not be able to continue a phone call. Slightly after 11 p.m. the phone rang, i was openly non-enthusiastic. A friend of mine, thought i needed to know and comment on an article in Monday's daily. Lennon refused to allow Fr. Robert Begin to continue as pastor of St. Colman's. I went to check the electronic mail, and another friend had e-mailed me the article before 10 p.m.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer does not ordinarily record transitions in parish staffing. What can i possibly add? The author, Michael McIntyre, gave a succinct account with adequate background. One can draw the obvious conclusions, of course the paper's editorial staff would not do such a thing.

Robert Begin has integrity and courage. He saved his parish. Rome overruled the closures of eleven churches by Lennon, but those churches were not public for more than two years. That weakened those parishes in some respects. Begin's brilliance was to avoid that, by mounting an intense and immediate campaign (he did have allies on the behalf of the parish). Lennon relented with 'strings attached', the parish was on probation with guidelines to meet. They satisfied all requirements, including additional monies to cough up. 

The parish has increased its activities of outreach to immigrants, and the neighborhood's poor. They harbored an Hungarian parish while it was in exile. Statistics for Mass attendance, and reception of Sacraments have increased. The Cleveland Orchestra likes St. Colman's, many people do. Robert Begin is healthy, able, and willing, to continue his ministry to his people at St.Colman's. The parish is justly, very proud of their pastor.
16 May 2013 Fr. Robert Begin introduces the Cleveland Orchestra
Now, what would a pastoral bishop do? What would a bishop who complains of a priest shortage do? But, we should realise who we are referring to. What would a vindictive, and petty man do? And he has legitimate cover on this one. He does not have to extend his authority, this is within his authority. So, hit the road.

Lennon had two priests in the diocese that were not in fear of him. He ex-communicated Fr. Robert Marrone, and he has told Fr. Robert Begin to pack it in.

postscriptum 5.00 p.m. 11 June: Well, i was thinking of writing, that, a popular campaign could be done to request/demand the bishop to relent and change his decision. Well, it has begun.
there is an on-line petition [click

On Monday, 17 June there will be a prayer service in the parish church of St. Colman at 7 p.m.

postscriptum 11.20 p.m. 11 June: a local priest writes on the situation [click]

postscriptum 8.00 a.m. 12 June: A friend writes to me, "Golly, everytime one turns around Bishop Lennon is doing something crazy." One can write to the papal ambassador:

Apostolic Nuncio
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano
The Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC. 20008

postscriptum 4.05 p.m. 12 June: the on-line petition, supra, has reached 1,000 signatories.

postscriptum 6.00 p.m. 20 June: the on-line petition has ended with 2,441 signatories; in addition over 800 paper signatures were collected.

postscriptum 3.50 p.m. 21 June: "This morning, the petition was delivered to Bishop Lennon.  It had a total of 3324 signatures, 2440 from the on-line petition and 884 on paper signed by those who could not sign on line.  It also included 48 pages of comments from the on-line petition. And we have received about 100 copies of letters you have sent to Archbishop Vigano.

Just today, in light of your clear and enthusiastic concern for the good of the Church in Cleveland, at my request, Fr. Donald Oleksiak, Director of Clergy Personnel, agreed to arrange a meeting with the Bishop to discuss his decision to accept my resignation."  

postscriptum 5.00 p.m. 28 June: A meeting took place between Bp. Lennon and Fr. Begin this morning. Further discussion may take place.

postscriptum 6.00 p.m. 19 July: Another meeting took place, Fr. Begin's pastorate has been extended to 30 August 1914.

postscriptum 10.00 a.m. 27 July: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's judgement yesterday was "Lennon was both wise and compassionate to let him stay".

1 comment:

  1. Father Bob Begin will always be deeply admired
    and cherished as one of Cleveland's finest priests. He is a man of the people. His generosity to the poor and real love for the
    poor will is so authentic. His teachings of the
    Gospel stories and the meanings of the Jesus'
    life and teachings will stay in the hearts and
    minds of the Cleveland people. When one says
    St. Colman's Parish one will simultaneously think Fr. Bob Begin, forever and ever. God bless
    Fr. Bob Begin a hundred thousand times!