Monday, June 05, 2006

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration

Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration
This weekend we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of our parish. What should have been a time of joy and celebration instead was a day of sadness.

There was no mention of the accomplishments of our parish or that our dedicated staff has made this parish what it is today. A perfect opportunity for reconciliation was instead a reminder of the division that still plagues our parish.

I attended 8:30 Mass. The Bishop was a no-show (supposedly because of illness?); the Knights were present in full regalia; the Catholic Daughters were there in their virginal white; but the largest single group represented was those of us unhappy with the direction our parish has taken since Msgr. Louis arrived two years ago. However, based on past experience, the fact that there was such a large number of us in Holy Spirit Red will be overlooked, or will be used as fodder for the fire that is the division that marks this once-unified parish.

My family is very blessed to have found such a tight-knit community that we are proud to call family. It was very heart breaking as I sat in the pew on Sunday and saw members of what used to be a larger community. I saw the faces of people who I didn’t always agree with, but were, along with me and my family, a part of something very special: a place where people were encouraged to share their gifts of time and talent; a place where we became, not a parish community, but a parish family.

It is my wish – as Holy Spirit Parish continues its journey to the next anniversary – that we who have been shunned are welcomed to return, or even just to enter into dialogue with those who would have us leave or at the very least be silenced. I don’t have any expectations of our pastor. He has shown that he is not interested in reconciling with any of us he has removed from ministry. I do have hope in the parishioners – conservative and progressive alike - and I challenge them to come together in spite of the atmosphere of distrust and anger that Msgr. Louis allows. I also ask our new Associate Pastor to come forward and meet us. We are Catholics in good standing. We love our faith. We love Holy Spirit Parish, and we are here to stay.

Bridget Cook
Holy Spirit Parishioner

Anniversary Mass
Sad, but the poorly attended 8:30 Mass/25th Anniversary Celebration was a total let down for me. First off, the Bishop didn’t even show (as predicted by many)… also, it seemed a lot of the event’s participants were not even a part of Holy Spirit Parish during it’s infancy… then the video didn’t work, etc., etc., etc…. About the only thing that did go as planned was the speech by our Mayor.

Also, talk about a time when we REALLY MISSED our long time Choir Director! What a contribution his musical talents have made to Holy Spirit over the years! There was no recognition needed there (and none given), as the absence of those talents were clearly evident on 06/04/06!

I also would have liked to have seen a few of our previous pastors… Fr. Guss… Fr. Bob Mahr… Fr. Jerry… those priests that helped mold our parish into what we are (were)… also, there should have been some mention of that sweet old lady that so graciously donated all of our land… and our multi-purpose building contractor (present, but not even so much as mentioned)… and that very special person that was APPOINTED by the Bishop of the Diocese of Brownsville to establish a Vatican-II Catholic Parish in North McAllen, often without the assistance of a resident priest… not even a “Thank You” to her, sitting at the piano… also, no “Thank You” to our SURVIVING STAFF MEMBERS who have dedicated their lives to making Holy Spirit Parish the shining example and envy of what a Catholic Parish should be (once was)…

There was, however, many a “Thank You” to the Johnny-come-lately 25th Anniversary Committee! How sad to see our once so wonderful parish being destroyed before our very eyes,… with battle swords, fancy feathered hats and military processions; March, March, March… Man your Battle Stations… Draw Your Swords…!

Holy Spirit was NEVER about any of that… made me sick at my stomach! How could such a loving, wonderful and giving parish be so systematically destroyed? Are they so blind that they cannot see what they are being led by their pastor to do?

The most encouraging thing to me was seeing all those parishioners that were wearing RED. They OVERPOWERED the service! They were EVERYWHERE! Those are the TRUE parishioners of Holy Spirit… those that care enough about their parish to STAND UP and FIGHT for what they believe a Catholic Parish should be… My CATHOLIC FAITH has been RESTORED! I have been silent long enough! How do I join your group?
~A DEEPLY SADDENED Parishioner, here since Rayburn.

25th Anniversary Mass
If one approaches the mass with a sense of humor it is more tolerable, even entertaining. What a circus today complete with Master of Ceremonies and clowns! So until we get our real Holy Spirit Parish back and have some reason to celebrate an anniversary, let's enjoy the antics of those in charge now and not get too stressed out about the sacrilege that they are causing.
-A formally astonished but now only amused parishioner

Anniversary Decree
In addition to the Decree presented from the Mayor of McAllen, wouldn’t it have been nice if we would have been presented with a Decree from His Excellency, Bishop Raymundo Peña, recognizing the 25-year long dedication of Ann Cass and the Holy Spirit Staff for putting forth the effort, hard work and dedication to organize, manage and maintain one of the most respected, successful and loved Catholic Parishes in the history of the Brownsville Dioceses?

New Post Method
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Anonymous said...

YES... Isn't it a shame that Ann Cass and the rest of the Staff have not so much as even been recognized or thanked for all of the work and dedication that they have contributed over the last 25 years in making Holy Spirit what it is today (or what it once was, I should say)!
What a poor reflection this is of the characters of both our pastor and our bishop!

Anonymous said...

I too thought that all of those parishioners wearing RED sent a very powerful message to the rest of us in the congregation. Too bad the Bishop was unable to be here to witness just how divided our parish has become.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Ha! Ha! Got any more jokes?
Do you really think the Bishop cares about any division in our parish? His past actions have proven that he could care less! He assigned Father Louie here, then promoted him to a Monsignor for all the wonderful work that he has done here at Holy Spirit! Go figure!

Anonymous said...

Don't be too quick to chastise Fr. Louie. He may only be doing what his Bishop instructed. Reward for this obedience has been his promotion to Monsignor!

Anonymous said...

Yea, but doesn't that also mean that he lacks the integrity to stand up against his Bishop for what he knows is right? Either way, the parishioners of Holy Spirit are the loosers.

Anonymous said...

If all you Red Shirt Anti-Catholics don't like what our Bishop and Monsignor are doing, why don't you go start your own church?

Anonymous said...

Now YOUR real character is showing... Peace be with you, brother!

Anonymous said...

Letters to the Editor
June 07,2006
The Monitor

Followers need clarity from diocese

To the editor:
So now the “Concerned Catholics for Catholicism Committee” (March 5) thinks Hugo Chavez had something to do with 9/11. What a hoot these crazy neo-cons are. It would be funny if they weren’t causing so much destruction in the world.

The good ladies making up the CCCC should aim some well-deserved concern at their own church. They like to quote Pat Robertson. Good: Robertson advised the Catholic Church to clean up its act regarding sexual misconduct. Yet, another priest is sued (March 4, Monitor). Where is the bishop in all this? How much of our hard-earned money gladly tithed to the Church goes to pay off these lawsuits? Why do we continue to give?

We sure could use some financial and sexual accountability from the diocese.

Guy Hallman,

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for any financial or sexual accountability from the diocese. Hell will freeze over before that happens!

Anonymous said...

Then the logical response is to withhold our money until hell freezes over.

Anonymous said...

Its been so long now...I don’t even know where to begin...

Yes, I was at the 25th anniversary mass. It was, in so many words, a strange feeling. It lacked the true dedication of volunteers (not saying that they were all lacking, but some didnt look like they cared), lacked good atmosphere within the crowd of parishioners, and lacked a purpose.

The anniversary was supposed to symbolize what Holy Spirit has been through as a parish...the good and bad times. Unfortunately, the anniversary didn’t live up to its word. Plus, the bishop wasn’t there to "celebrate" with us. Seemed "oh so" suspicious and ironic, but then again, I’m not going to doubt someone’s illness.

There was a comment in the 25th anniversary blog...the one about the person saying that if we didn’t like what was happening, why don’t we all just go start another church. Why? We have a church already that has a rich, yet somewhat rocky history, but we manage. How can you leave your home? If someone came up to your door and told you to leave because you weren’t "good enough" or in "good standing" with your neighbors, would you?

I wouldn’t...and I won't...

The thoughts of Holy Spirit will forever hurt. Not the past thoughts of a more joyous time, but the thought of what is now, the "new Holy Spirit".
~The Saddened Parishioner

A grieving parishioner said...

I attended Mass and saw the Anniversary video. Where are the pictures of Ed Arguelles, Chayo, Martha, Dora, Mickey, Elfida, Benny, Sister Moira, Sister Marion the list could go on and on. Did the video commitee forget that WE are the church?

Grieving Too said...

Seems they HAVE forgotten that WE are the church! What a shame, Holy Spirit was like no other Catholic Church that I had ever attended.

It was not just a "go to Mass for one hour on Sunday" kind of place. The parishioners there actually "lived" and "practiced" the teachings of Jesus.

I am afraid that has now been lost forever. Hell, our Monsignor doesn't even show his face around the parish during the week. One hour on Sunday and he is done! What a fine example of walking in Christ's footsteps.

disgusted said...

You got it! Now we are just like every other Catholic parish in the world. Pray, Pay, Obey and don't you dare criticize your bishop or your pastor! Makes you so proud to be Catholic, doesn't it?

The Bean Counter said...

From the looks of the weekly collection amounts posted in the Sunday Bulletin, it seems everyone at Holy Spirit has already reduced their contributions, not so much because of the sexual abuse scandal but because of what the Bishop did to our parish.
Those collection amounts reflect the loss of hundreds of our parishioners that just got disgusted and moved to other denominational churches or have simply quit coming to Mass! That is the biggest loss as they are no longer receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. Our Bishop will have to answer to that on judgment day.

Anonymous said...

Bean counter, do you think the bishop is a believer? I can't see how he can believe in God and then behave so godlessly.

Anonymous said...

You know whats even worse? The Bishop cannot confront us face to face about these problems (neither can Fr. Louis). Notice they hide behind the media, the parish council, and advisors.

They say that everything has been forgiven and forgotten, but has it really? No...

~The Saddened Parishioner

Bishop Watcher said...

You know, we have the power to change the Church if we choose to use it. That trite phrase, "the Church is not a democracy", is often tossed out to put an end to all talk of bettering it or standing up to abusive hierarchy, who alone are NOT the Church.

No, the church is not a democracy because it must be a country to be a democracy. The church is the Living Body of Christ and, as any living body, requires full member participation in order for it to function properly, more member participation than is required to run a democracy. That is the Church's current problem and has been for some time.

Do you want to make the Church better? It is up to you.

The Bean Counter said...

Dear Saddened,
I would think that it is extremely hard for a Bishop (or a priest) to admit that because of his actions, hundreds have been driven away from receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord, especially if it was caused by a childish act of revenge against a few employees that had elected to join a union.
Poor leaders never admit to their mistakes. In spite of the fact that Diocesan employees were used to storm the parish and carry out the firings at Holy Spirit, we still hear, “I did nothing and I knew nothing about it!” Whether he knew about it or not, he is still responsible. So are those who knew what was happening and took part in it.
This is a horrible reflection of the local leadership of our Church. They need our prayers.

Anonymous said...

What is truly sad is that this is the case throughout the United States...

Bishop Watcher said...

It is time to stop wringing our hands over the sorry state of the Church. As Jesus asked Mary of Magdala, "Why do you weep?"

There is a local chapter of Call to Action in the valley. Check it out for yourselves; don't let the corrupt pastor tell you that it is anti-Catholic. It is composed of bishops, priest, nuns, and lay people who want to reform the church. Contact Jerry Brazier the current president of the local chapter at for more info.

We the Body of Christ can better the Church if we want to and are willing to do more than only pray. After all, if Jesus only prayed we would not be saved.

Anonymous said...

Yea, but if you become a member of "Call To Action", expect to be removed from any ministries at Holy Spirit and to be labled "a Catholic NOT in good standing" by your pastor. Just look at all he has removed and chastised so far!

Anonymous said...

Nobody said being Christian was easy. Sometimes it requires that you take a stand for what you believe!

Anonymous said...

Where would we be if Jesus had rejected the cross? Getting relieved of your HSP ministry is a small price to pay compared with that. They can't put you on "the rack" anymore, as much as they might wish! And the HS Peace & Justice Comm. functions with more members than before it was thrown out of the parish. Take a stand, indeed!

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me why the Knights of Columbus were standing behind the priest while we were receiving communion? That should have been a private moment between me and God!

Anonymous said...

To learn more about the Knights of Columbus you can visit the national web site at

The knighs of Columbus have been the right arm of the church and defenders of the faith for over a hundred years. The Knight standing behind the priest is symbolic of this and it shows are never ending support for our priests and church's. I hope this answered your question.