Thursday, August 03, 2006

Father Keil, Our Lady, Help of Christians, Newton, co-pastor, leaves priesthood

A Message from Father Joe:
To the good and faith filled people of Our Lady's Parish:

I write to all of you today to let you know that after several months of intense discernment, prayer and consultation with family and friends, I have decided to take a leave of absence from the priesthood. As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision to make. I would like all of you to know that this decision wasn't affected by anything that happened here at Our Lady's. This parish has been nothing but kind, supporting, loving and welcoming to me since the moment I arrived. I will always look fondly upon the three months I spent here. You are all in good hands with Father John and the rest of the great staff here at Our Lady's. Please know that you are in my prayers. I ask that I continue to be in yours. God Bless, Father Joe Keil.

I hope everyone reading this will keep Father Keil in his prayers. But I also ask for prayers for the parishioners. I mean, if you aren't familiar with this parish, a quick Google search will tell you why I ask this.

But here's another reason:

The parish tends to post the minutes of their "Parish Pastoral Council" meetings online. From the June meeting:

A parishioner recently posed a good question at a meeting: Is it possible to belong to the church without believing in every teaching of the church? His [co-pastor Father John Sassani's] answer is YES. God’s hospitality is embodied in tangible ways among us and beyond parish boundaries. Hospitality embodies desire for growth.

I have no idea what this means, entirely. I do know that if the question has to do with belonging to Holy Mother Church, the answer is WRONG. Or, at least, really confusing.

If you are a part of the Roman Catholic Church, the acceptance of Her teachings isn't an option. Father Sassani surely knows this.

What is the point of this question and its answer? I ask, not so much for myself since I sorta take what I hear from this parish -- and others! -- with a boxful of Morton's.

But what of the parishioners? Surely many of them rely on the online postings of their pastor(s) and of the reports of their lay "leaders." What are they to think of this rather ambiguous (I hope it's ambiguous, frankly) statement? Remember, this has been there since June. Two months later, it's still there. Couldn't somebody in leadership at this parish have done something to clarify matters? Like, for example, the vague reference to "hospitality?"

Again...please pray for this parish. Like so many, its members are to be sheep without a shepherd.