Sunday, May 25, 2003

It's been a bad week for Catholic ordained types and the outdoors here in Indiana. Maybe it's the long winters or something. A priest in Terre Haute was arrested at an interstate rest stop for public indecency, and right here in our own Fort Wayne, the word comes across the wire that a permanent deacon, who was given a big community service award a couple of months ago was arrested and pled guilty to an indecent exposure charge, and was suspended from his duties by the bishop.....why blog this? Well, because it's weird that two things like this happen in one state in a week. Secondly, this second case is particularly sad and interesting. The deacon in question is a pillar of the local Hispanic community, and is on the staff of the mostly-Hispanic parish here in town that the diocese just last week announced it's closing and merging with another parish.

By the way, those of you who have been with me for a while have heard me rail about skewed priorities, particularly in relation to Hispanic ministry in an area like this, which has an exploding Hispanic/Latino population. Yes, that's the answer. CLOSE their parish. No. Let's close TWO of their parishes - one in South Bend and one in Fort Wayne. That's the way the Catholic Church in the US grew and flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Actually, the test will be what, exactly they do with the 1200 members of St. Paul's (the FW parish) that they're throwing in with St. Patrick's. The test will be if they get a primetime Sunday morning Spanish language Mass (as, of course they had three of at their own parish), or if they get the good old 2pm Sunday afternoon liturgy, as is so often the case.

We'll see. And we'll see what the story is with this unfortunate case of the Deacon in the Park.

An updated story on the official announcement of the parish closings from today's paper, with the good news that the pastor of St. Paul's (the predominantly Hispanic parish) is being named pastor of the parish with which they're merging. So perhaps there's hope.