Dear Fellow Parishioners,
As I walked to my car after a school meeting at about 8:30 pm last Wednesday, I could feel the slight chill of Fall approaching, my favorite season of the year. The feasts of the Church reflect the bittersweet impending Fall with a mix of liturgical memorials: The Triumph of the Cross (9/14); Our Lady of Sorrows (9/15); Korean Martyrs Andrew Tae-Gon and Companions (9/20); St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcino (9/23); and St.Vincent de Paul, our patronal saint (9/27).
I try to keep “From the Pastor’s Desk” light but informative. This week, there are a couple of serious matters I want to bring to your attention and explain.
As most of you know, the Diocese of Santa Rosa has sought, and received, relief from the Federal Bankruptcy Court, along with other northern California dioceses. It is Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The word to remember is “protection” as it provides a path forward for the diocese to continue its ministries while resolving legal claims as equitably as possible. This is a complex process, but in the interest of transparency, I will tell you what I believe is most essential to know.
The process establishes a cut-off date for any further lawsuits, but only after widespread notice is given to potential claimants. This widespread notice includes sending a small card giving notice to every parishioner or person for whom we have contact information. That is also the reason for the insert in the bulletin this weekend – to give notice of the “bar date,” that is, the cut-off date after which no further claims or suits will be accepted. This is being done in every parish in the diocese. The insert will appear in our bulletin, as required, several times before the October 24, 2023 bar date. Notice will also be posted in the vestibule.
I encourage you to pray – for victims and their families, for the People of God, for priests, deacons and lay ministers, and all others affected by abuse of children and young people. I will keep you updated as events develop.
The second matter I’d like to address is SV High School and the exit of its principal. In addition to my pastoral role, I have a fiduciary responsibility for our parish and schools which I take with utmost seriousness. His departure from SVHS has been covered in the local media and beyond. Rash use of social media and the internet has spread false rumors and poured gasoline on the fire.
Some personal judgments of me have been harsh and, in my view, ill-informed. Investigations are now being conducted by the appropriate authorities, both within and independently of the Diocese. There is not much more I can say, even in self-defense, other than, “No comment.” As an alumnus of both of our schools, I cede to no one first place in my devotion to all three of our parish ministries.
Fr. Bill Donahue