Monday, January 23, 2006

Saint Albert the Great parish weeping...again.

What is it about the folks at Weymouth's Saint Albert the Great parish? Are the never happy? Must they always weep?

This is the parish that responded to its closing by staging a 10-month sit-in, and holding lay-led Communion services (the Sacrament reportedly provided by a "sympathetic priest.")

When, back in July, the Archdiocese (for reasons I never could fathom, but there you are) allowed the parish to open again, were they grateful? Not altogether. They were in a snit since their former pastor -- Father Ron Coyne -- was not reassigned to the parish.

(Father Ron Coyne once told me, along with his parishioners and the media, that there was "no such thing as Hell.")

Now they're crying again. Why?

Because the Archdiocese has taken away another of their "beloved priests"...Father Robert Bowers.

"Bowers, who has been assisting the new pastor of St. Albert's by saying occasional weekend Masses, told the congregation that he was disappointed to leave, but that church officials had asked him to end his work in Weymouth and to take an assignment helping at a parish in Chelmsford."

Only he's not going go Chelmsford.

No, he's taking a leave of absence.

Obedience isn't exactly on Father Bowers' "List of Qualities I Admire," evidently.

Bowers, who described weeks of meetings with church officials over his future, said he held no bitterness toward the church but said his decision was part of ''following God, not a church leadership that I don't necessarily agree with."


Bowers told the parish that the archdiocese had asked him to leave St. Albert after yesterday's service, but that he would stay on to preside over next Sunday's Mass as well, drawing sustained applause from the congregation.

What is in store for this part-time priest?

He said he hopes to work full- time at a program for disaffected Catholics at the Paulist Center in Boston.

(You remember the Paulist Center, right?)

''He's being forced out, because he doesn't necessarily go by the book," said Brian Hurley, 42.

Of course, the Archdiocese denies this. But Brian? Don't you think priests should go "by the book?"

I guess not.

For more on the recent tragedy, here's the story. Bring your Kleenex.