Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holy Spirit Parishioners' Newsletter 11/25/07

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
November 25, 2007

You Better Watch Out!!
Some new signs have appeared on the parish grounds recently. Are these signs simply signs of the times, in the sense that our buildings and grounds are under assault by the lawless hordes that are wreaking havoc on our society, culture, and property, or are they signs of a different mentality at the helm in the parish? Maybe it is true that the neighborhood has so dramatically deteriorated in the past four years that it has become necessary to plaster these sorts of things around the parish property. But maybe it is more true that the Monsignor and his advisors just look at the world and the parish from a perspective that would strike many parishioners as hostile and intimidating.

Has there truly been use of church grounds without permission that has been damaging or unsafe? Oh yes, we all know that there has been “unauthorized” praying happening on church grounds for many months. Such dangerous behavior must stop, of course, and now don’t we feel better (more secure? more powerful?) that we will have it all recorded (probably in HD).

“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them, unless of course they haven’t obtained permission from the church office first.”

Advent Understanding
We went to spend thanksgiving with family out of town this holiday, which offers all kinds of new opportunities, including the opportunity to read different newspapers with articles that might not make it to our home paper. One story helped me start to focus my thoughts towards advent and the spirit of new understanding it brings.
The story has a somewhat bittersweet ending.

A nine year old boy and his mother were traveling through an isolated stretch of highway in Arizona, when his mother lost control of the car. His mother was killed and the boy was left injured, distraught and alone. He was found by a man illegally entering the United States who stayed with the boy, built a fire and cared for him until they were found by some hunters. Border Patrol was the first one to respond to the hunter’s radio call for assistance and the boy will recover from his injuries. The man was sent back across the border, his dreams and hopes for his own family sacrificed for a young boy’s need.

No drug trafficking, no terrorist—just a man who became an angel of mercy. I suspect most of the people crossing are like this man, decent people who can bring the gift of hope. This advent we will again tell the story of a young family immigrating to Bethlehem and the human needs and responses along the journey. Maybe this advent can be a rebirth of compassion for each character in an immigration story and a rebirth of hope for us all.
from a fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña.

Priestly People
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet 2:9)

Father Paul Stanosz, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has researched and written extensively on the priesthood, particularly seminary training. Here are a few of his thoughts that have appeared in Commonweal in the past few years:

“Priestly training in the seminaries I studied tended to impart a clerical difference, a sense of specialness that led the seminarians to see themselves as not only separate but also superior to laypeople. These students tended to see loving human relationships as involving lust and sexual desire rather than mutuality, communication, and collaboration...

“The current dearth of priestly vocations also leads seminarians to think of themselves as markedly different from other people. That they are entering a profession for manifestly altruistic purposes and lofty ideals likewise adds to their understanding of themselves as special or different from most other people.
“I found that this sense of specialness was also heightened by a feeling that their services would be in great demand following ordination. The day would come when men and women, a generation or more their senior, would address them as Father and kneel before them for a blessing…

“Priestly identity must be rooted in the person and ministry of Christ and the church, not in a search for superior status…

“I see the priest shortage as a blessing in disguise that will eventually break the clerical choke hold on absolute power and force ad-justments down the road, bumpy though it may be along the way. I am optimistic in the long view that new modes of ministry will prevail, and bring more blessings than problems.”

A parishioner kindly supplied me with the financial report provided to the parish on November 4th and the parish offices came through with a copy in the mail—thanks to both.

As a fussy, nerdish math guy, numbers take on an almost mystical life of their own for me, so bear with me as I wander through the report’s entries and muse out loud for a while.

First, I don’t believe that the report is untrue in any overall sense—there are too many ways that deception could be uncovered that the risk would be too great to attempt it. That being said, there are some things in the report that raise questions.

One oddity is that adding up the 52 weekly reports of collection totals presented in the Sunday bulletins gives a yearly total (from 7/1/06 to 6/30/07) of $680,549.41, but the yearly report gives that total as $780,437.58—that’s an almost $100,000 difference. Why have the weekly totals been so dramatically under-reported?

Another oddity is that the diocesan assessment (cathedraticum) is reported as being 12.35% of the Sunday collections, yet the required percentage is 11.5%. Why did the parish pay a little over $6,700 more than is required to the diocese?

The categories used in the current report do not, in general, match those used in the last report (2004-05), so it is very difficult to see how the expenditures/income have changed from two years ago, except in the most general terms. Some specific differences can be noted, however: “Other Collections” decreased from about $67,000 to about $17,000; expenditures for “Religious Education” decreased from about $116,000 to about $50,000. The magnitude of those differences is puzzling. Also, there is an entry of over $35,000 for “Legal Fees.” What is that about?

I have asked the Blog Person to post the two reports and let people do their own perusing. Jerry Brazier

Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an oppor-tunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at gbrazier@rgv.rr.com.


Anonymous said...

You wrote Mr. Jerry:
"Also, there is an entry of over $35,000 for “Legal Fees.” What is that about?"
It is not hard for an uneducated person to figure out never mind an educated one. The parish must have paid legal fees for those people who had our hands tied in paying out what we should not have been paying out. Now look where our parish money has gone to, fighting those who continue to destroy our church. Ask AWC about it and her friends....
PS. We are happy with the finances except for those expenses we were paying, HIGH WAGES for those who have left and saved us money. Amen

Anonymous said...

If the St. Vincent DePaul collection took in more than what was spent, as reported, does that surplus money remain held separately for St. Vincent DePaul? It is a shame that in harder times, we as a parish are doing less now for St. Vncent DePaul then we did before. Also, if the building fund is still being collected and holding such a large amount, shouldn't parishioners be told what the collection is being used for - what is the parish saving towards, etc. Salaries were still a pretty big chunk - esp. for a place that touts having volunteers for everything. Contrary to JJR's post, I am not sure I see that much of a difference or what big salaries JJR is referring to. But then again with catagories not matching up and no explanation as to what "Pastoral Operation" and "Administrative" catagories cover, it is hard to say what is what. Personally I am just happy if we are paying fair wages. Would like to know how many employees we actually do have. As noted, the difference between reported collection totals from the bulletin and the financial report, esp. since that amount makes the difference between being in the red or in the black is a problem. I am guessing that we made up the approx. $63,000+ debt from the 2005report in the year that never was reported?

Anonymous said...

Strike my last question about the $63,000+. I see we had enough surplus to cover from previous year.

Ann W Cass said...

Do you know what those "high wages" were that we were getting paid? Please tell me!

We used to publish what everyone made, so please tell us all what you think those high wages were. There was also nothing paid out that should not have been paid. Our books were totally OPEN.

Apart from your uninformed opinion, we paid our own union dues and the union pension fund was paid from money that was received from the bishop when he terminated the diocesan pension fund.

The bishop told all the pastors that they could do whatever they wanted to do with that money. That money came from parish donations for pensions for employees! Some pastors in parishes that were not unionized gave their employees the thousands of dollars out right!

Our parish council and finance committee advised our pastor to put it in a restricted account to pay for the unionized workers pension, since the bishop had taken it away from us. It's in the minutes and copies of those minutes are available. So please, JJR, get your facts straight.

While you are at it, please read what the Church states about how its own employees should be treated. Did you know that Pope John Paul II unionized the Vatican workers when he became the Pope? Do those workers have your hands tied too? If the legal fees are from what occurred since June 18th, 2003, regarding unionized employees, that was the choice of the bishop and the current pastor, no one else.

The bishop had other choices that he could have made. He was aware that we were unionizing and he told us through the chancellor to talk to our pastors, indicating that they were our employers.

Because he elected to use those strategies that he had developed to bash the union, our motion that the “right to work law” had been violated held up in State court. Do you really think a State Judge would force a Catholic bishop into mediation if he felt that the bishop had made the right decision? I don't think so!

We begged for a win/win resolution, but that is not what our bishop wanted. SO, nothing was paid out that should not have been paid out, JJR.

Again, I challenge you to tell me what those HIGH WAGES were... Also, how sad is it that you are happy with the finances the way they are. The revenues are still lower than they were four and a half years ago. Progress?

Where are the religious education books that people paid for? Why didn't our pastor save money by ordering those books in May of 2006? There really isn’t enough space on this blog to explain half of this finance report, but it does say a lot that you are happy with it. And please do not insinuate that we are fighting to destroy OUR church. We love OUR church and we want to make it better. -AWC

Anonymous said...

Why is there such a difference between what was reported as being collected every week and what the financial report shows as being collected? Those numbers don't agree.
At any rate, it is totally useless to try to figure out a financial report that covers a three year span with the middle year missing. What a joke our once well run parish has become. God help us!

Anonymous said...


This was sent to Kanickers and never posted!! Remember?

2-26-06 Excerpt
Yes, WE know your anti Catholics actions are dying and only Monsignor Louis is the ordained holy priest bringing the Roman Catholic parishioners together so we can again be in accordance to the Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It is wonderful that Monsignor Louis Brum is bringing the Roman Catholics, (former protesters) back to what a Roman Catholic Church must be.

Did we need every organizations in the Valley so Ann Cass and Sr. Moria could turn our Church into a Union Hall and or Civic center? There was no reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, no kneelers and Mass disruptions and protests? We must weed out the anti Catholics which should have been done when Ann Cass began turning our parish into a Union Hall for her own agendas. Wasn't that being considerate for one's own demonic ego? Many of us saw through you for a long time.

We want you to back up your allegations regarding the Finances, when our requested audit is completed from 1996 until 2003. We don't need any more of your input of apparent falsehoods at this time. There was money with those almost 100 non Catholic Organizations within our parish, right? Did any paid employees get paid from these?

However, as we know, some parishioners may have decrease their donations because they object supporting an illegal contract (according to Canon Law is a crime against Canon Law) by paying these unionized employees who have tried to destroy our parish, while sitting behind that beautiful desk, Ann Cass? Be assured, we are proud of the faith, endurance with holiness especially what you "vipers"(see excerpt of 9-05-06) have put Bishop Raymundo Pena, Monsignor Brum, Holy Spirit Council and parishioners through. Your famous speech for the "love of your Church" really means "love for the buildings and not the Roman Catholic Teachings. It is not a castle okay, for "union" or "call to action members?"

To Ann Cass
We would not trust the minutes and or financial records because these probably have been changed by additions, deletions and or altered as person in charge of this blogs has done with their posts.

Anonymous said...

Well Guido, I guess it is now clearly evident why Kanickers didn't post your origional comment back on 2/26/06. Your attitude reflects such a shining example of that Catholic teaching that you speak so highly of. May Jesus bless you anyway.

Anonymous said...

Well, first of all the Bishop had us audited in June of 2003, right before we were fired. To my knowledge everything was fine with maybe one or two managerial items which the bookkeeper was to work on, like married couples and compadres were not to count the money at the same time.... something that is happening now! And, no one was paid out of the funds held in trust unless the bookkeeper made a big mistake. And, we only started the union in 2002.... what about the 21 years before that? What about those 21 years... I don't think you were even a member of the parish at the time. And, believe me, even after we signed the union contracts, the following year our finances were fine, the pews were filled (which by the way, we always had kneelers in the church building), we had wonderful programs that filled the parking lot every night of the week EXCEPT Sunday, because we kept Sunday as holy and for family activities only. Get your facts straight please. I worry about people like you who are always anonymous and who spread false rumors. Beware! If you want an audit, ask the Bishop for the copy of the one he had done. I am sure he will give it to you.

And we always were in compliance with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. We had reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and there were no disruptions or protests during Mass. And, apart from what you think, the union contract was not in opposition to Canon Law... again, how could it be when Pope John Paul II unionized the employees in the Vatican. We're not done with the canonical validity of our union contract, but let me just tell you, if you read the report you will see that they found nothing canonically wrong with the union contract. Nothing. It won't be long and you will have a lot more details to read about that subject for sure.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 11/29/2007 1:38 PM

Thank you for posting the 2/26/06 post 21 months later. Your behavior and attitude
since June of 2003 reflects the example of Satan' works. We have all your posts and may God, the Father, who made us, God, the Son, who redeemed us and God, the Holy Spirit, who enlightens us, forgive you and yours following a sincere confession.

By the way, our new Cardinal Daniel Denardo was born in Steubenville, Ohio where our family comes from. What an honor to have him near us in Galveston.

Anonymous said...

Love the welcoming signs posted on the church property! I guess a new transaltion of the gospel must read something like "bring the little children unto me, but only after you sign some release forms, the children pass a physical inspection and please indicate on your forms all intended activity for disciple approval before approaching Jesus."