Tag Archives: Changing Lives Together

DEAR POPE FRANCIS

You are the most refreshing pope since I have been a catholic, which was most of my life. Your coming could not have happened a moment too soon. I am about to be a fallen-away catholic. The policies of the Archdiocese of Detroit is killing my parish. It has been killing it for a long time and now I have had enough.

Researching our history has opened my eyes to the mean-spiritness of the hiarchy that has shaped this region for many years. Had you been at the helm a lot of this anti-christian behavior might not have festered. As you know, the Catholic Church is made up of many ethnic groups. All have been treated well with policies that helped them to thrive. Not so in the black catholic community. We were never allowed to have a pastor. All we ever got were administrators and it has had a devastating impact on our little community.

So here I am today. I have had enough. The diocese’ policy of allowing a deacon to become the administrator of our church; and having a priest say mass on Sundays, has had a negative impact on our spiritual lives; and is the “straw that broke the camels back.” To get into details would mean sharing a letter I sent to the deacon with a copy going to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Changing Lives Together Fundraising Campaign, in which I cancelled my pledge. Boy did that get their attention. When it comes to money they react. That’s all they are driven by is money. And our spiritual needs are neglected.

Pope Francis, you need to make a trip to the United States and specifically visit our little community. You will get a real look at a dying church community. I know you will not be happy with what you find. So while you are chastising the leaders about their rhetoric on gays, abortion, and birth control, perhaps you might want to add a little bit about the racism that has been allowed to fester in the Catholic Church as well. We are not getting the sacraments the way we used to nor are our voices being heard. My book might go a long way in helping you to understand what has happened here. This problem is every bit as debilitating as the other issues facing the church.

And so I have stopped going to my church. I never thought that I would allow someone else to dictate when I would make my exit, if I ever did. But it happened and so I am pondering my next move. In the meantime, I did get a response from the diocese but I don’t believe it will result in any significant changes in how they deal with us.

We shall see. Stay tuned!

CHANGING LIVES TOGETHER

That is the theme for a fundraising campaign throughout Detroit. The one comforting thing is something Msgr. Robert  McClory our pastor said at one of the masses. He has been so impressed with what is going on at Presentation-Our Lady of Victory and because of that he is pledging $6,000. He was emotional telling us how much he loves being at our church and that he specifically asked to be assigned here. Before he arrived here, the members had come together around the deacon’s daughter in law who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her fourth child. Thanks to all the prayers and help she’s doing fine now. Members started bringing dinners to the family (that was a year ago); the Men of Victory started visiting another member also diagnosed with an illness; one of our young members got in trouble but was saved from a long prison term because Fr. Byrnes, Msgr. McClory, Deacon Sanders and church members packed the court room and parishioners wrote letters to save him and it worked. This is what happens when a people come together and help each other through tough times. This was so impressive to the monsignor that he is now the only thing standing between us and a church closing.

At  the 73rd Annual Claver Conference last year a young black priest spoke at a prayer breakfast I attended. He said two things that stood out to me. “You have to have a priest for two reasons: to have a voice in your community, and to receive the sacraments.” Having Msgr. McClory has given us both. His commitment to our parish has put my mind at ease and now I plan to make my pledge knowing that someone higher up is fighting for us. So we got the voice and the sacraments. And that is what changed my mind about our future.

As of this writing we are about 98% on the way to reaching our goal of $123,000.00.

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