Saturday, August 27, 2005

Fr. Louis' Actions Encourages Hostility

Fr. Louis’ Actions Encourage Division and Hostility Among Holy Spirit Parishioners

When our family moved to McAllen, 10 years ago, Holy Spirit Parish was the best thing that happened to us during those difficult times of new beginning. It was the anchor we needed to stay.

We found a parish like never before, vibrant, alive, and welcoming, that immediately offered us a chance to serve, to use our talents, whatever they were, to work for the good of the parish and the community; where the pastor "understood how much the laity contribute to the welfare of the entire Church, and recognized their ministries and charisms, so that all according to their proper roles may cooperate in the common undertaking of the salvific mission of the Church." (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church LUMEN GENTIUM, Chapter IV); and where the laity clearly understood what it means to be "sharers in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly functions of Christ" (LUMEN GENTIUM, Chapter IV).

Never before had we experienced a true Vatican II parish, and we loved it! There were so many different ministries to work for, with room for everyone. Some more conservative, some more progressive, but we were able to work with each other; appreciate, value and respect our differences and when we came together on Sundays to offer our works, our sacrifices, it was a real joy.

Going to mass was not a Sunday obligation anymore, it was a time we waited for during the week; our kids shared those feelings, we didn't have to drag them to church. Mass was not just a ritual, it was a real joyful celebration.

Sadly, this is not the present situation. Tragic is a more appropriate word.

For quite sometime now, and as a result of our pastor’s inability or unwillingness to listen, to dialogue, to offer opportunities for reconciliation, in one word, for his failure as a pastor, as shepherd, an atmosphere of mistrust, resentment, hostility and division has taken hold of Holy Spirit. Where there was once harmony, joy and unity, only sadness, anger, hostility and division remains.

In the last several months some parishioners have received harassing, hateful, anonymous letters from people who identified themselves as other parishioners. They were not made public because they were not considered worth a response and because hopes were high that our bishop, as he had promised, was going to listen to our request for a much needed mediation process to make reconciliation possible.

Unfortunately, our clamor for help seems to have fallen on deaf ears and the situation has gotten worst. The body of Christ at Holy Spirit is breaking apart.

As an example of what some parishioners are saying of other parishioners, here is some excerpts of an anonymous letter I received a few days ago. It was sent to the church‘s office by "another parishioner".

Father Louis Brum received this letter because it was written to him, only copied to me. The author indicated that his copy was signed, so he knows its author. All previous letters were also either directed or copied to him; he has knowledge of all of them.

August 17, 2005

Dear Fr. Louis Brum,

"I am writing this letter as a parishioner who attended services this past Sunday and saw what happened between you and Margaret. I am happy that you are able to stand up and defend the Eucharist. Ann Hallman had no right to give the chalice to Margaret and therefore she is the one who went against what you did. I believe that people who serve the Eucharist should be people who respect the church no matter how opinions might vary. Margaret, Guy Hallman and even nun Kenny should be denied if they are not suppose to be there".

Was Fr. Louis really defending the Eucharist? He abandoned it; he totally left the altar for quite a period of time.

It seemed to me he was and has been using the Eucharist as a weapon to punish people he doesn't like. Jesus left his body and blood for ALL and no one, not even a priest, has the right to refuse the Eucharist to anybody unless he knows that person has been excommunicated or is an obstinate, persevering grave sinner.

To me this is the grave injustice that Fr. Louis has committed against those he has refused to give communion or let them serve as Eucharistic ministers. He has, by his actions, communicated to the assembly that these people are grave sinners, and this anonymous parishioner proves it with the statement that these people "should be denied if they are not supposed to be there". That is what the parishioners are thinking of Margaret, Guy Hallman and nun Kenny (respectfully and better known as Sister Moira Kenny, RSM).

This anonymous parishioner also says that I had no right to give Margaret the chalice, and assumes I don’t respect the church.

Not only by baptism do I have the same right and obligation to be an apostle and minister, but the documents of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church states that the faithful, the laity, in their own way are made sharers in the priestly functions of Christ.

When a wrong is done to a brother or sister, a true Christian doesn’t sit and watch, he is obliged to respond as Jesus would, with love and compassion. It’s not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of dogma, of true faith.

I bring the Holy Eucharist to the sick in the hospital regularly. Do I judge before I offer this wonderful free gift our Lord gave to all? No, I leave the judging to God, my ministry is to bring the love and hope of Jesus to those in need. I suggest we all read the chapter on the Laity, Chapter IV, of The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentian.

Ann Hallman needs to know her place. I am tired of her and her husband coming around and showing that they are for justice when they are mistreating church matters.

When Jesus stood up and told the inconvenient truth to the high priest, the hierarchy of his time, they said he was mistreating the church and for that he was persecuted and killed. True followers of Jesus should expect nothing less.

Ann Hallman wanted to start trouble. She herself should not be distributing communion when she is ignorant of church teachings. Everyone wants to be the priest.

As far as the nun, as they call her, she does not deserve the respect that sisters should get. She is living in her own world and thinking she is doing some good justice issues. Why [sic] I am on the subject of her, I was angry that she showed up at Parish Alive and tried to give her two cents about peace and justice. Which Jesus does she follow? Not the one I pray to.

This is so serious, I am going to leave any response to Sr. Moira.

Deeply saddened and concerned, watching our dear Holy Spirit parish break apart beyond repair.

Ana L Hallman

cc: Bishop Raymundo Pena
Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza

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