Friday, July 29, 2016

THAT'S THE THANKS I GET?.....LETTER RESPONDING TO MY RESIGNATION FROM THE FORT PIERCE PARISH

THIS LETTER WAS WRITTEN TO FR. SCOTT IN MIAMI IN RESPONSE TO HIS HAVING TO NOW DEAL WITH  SS CYRIL & METHODIUS PARISH IN FORT PIERCE PARISH.  AFTER YEARS OF DEGRADATION SLANDER AND CALUMNY ON THE PART OF ITS MEMBERS...
I RESIGNED MY POSITION THERE NOVEMBER OF 2014. THE INITIALS OF PERSONS MENTIONED HAVE REPLACED THEIR NAMES TO AVOID EXPOSING THEIR HATEFULNESS!
I sympathize with your dilemma  just sent down South dealing with the Miami parish, and then have to deal with this situation.
Frankly I think Fort Pierce should be closed, since for 17 years of my being there, Christ never sunk in, and what you have there is a brood of vipers starting with ES and her cohort who often stabbed me in the back. You would have thought she would have supported me and came to my defense in the light of unfounded criticism, on the contrary, she agreed with the naysayers all the time who bad mouthed me and then like Judas smiled and pretended to be nice.  Then you have the B's, who I helped financially when their car needed major repairs, now he doesn't know where all the files are when I sent them directly to him?
Then you have ND who was as hateful towards me as she could be after I took care of her bad marriage along with her new husbands, and brought them into good standing.....then you have a member who did a criminal background check on me, and someone else who Googled my name with inflammatory references to find dirt on me.....
And then you have DF who upon my departure broke into the pastor’s locked office and took all the files in the desk and lied about it, took my CPU obviously in an attempt to retrieve personal information; then notified the bishop that icons were missing and at the bishop’s  suggestion he along with ND, DS and ES changed the locks and alarm code on the church...(the bishop claims ignorance of that, and blamed Fr.E, and Fr.E denied it) ....then DF did a property search on my personal house in Orlando to see who else was on the deed as a co-owner and started to spread unsubstantiated and untrue scurrilous rumors to other members in the parish and I’ll spare you reading the nasty emails I received from them.
Not to mention the money I personally spent thousands of dollars on the new kitchen, getting free work and donations from builders I knew....not to mention my getting up at 6AM and working like a dog in the kitchen sometimes with no help making the foods to sell....frustrated that no one cared to lift a finger to help their parish survive......also buying church vessels, and appointments with my own money to make the church as beautiful as I could........decorating and painting the entire church myself..... not to mention the years I took half salaries.....not to mention holding singing classes, seminars...parish outreach....special services throughout the years with a handful of people attending.......
and finally not to mention the bishop telling the vipers to lock me out of the church as I prepared to come down to gather my personal belongings....then he suspends me without pay, without even considering doing the proper thing and sending me a check for past years compensation that I did not take just to make ends meet, then removing my faculties, and basically feeling more sorry, as you and Fr.G do, for the poor parishioners than for their pastor that they attempted to destroy. Talk about feeling like Jesus during Holy Week!
I was on the cusp of a nervous breakdown when I finally needed to resign, bled of all feelings for ministry and quite low....and all the bishop can do is be upset with me that I left him a predicament, and that I should have stayed until he found someone to replace me....He cared not for my well being, nor did he show real anger towards the parishioners who were in effect defaming one of his priests. All he cared about was filling a slot that no one wanted.....It seems that he likes the “parada”  parading around in fancy vestments and taking pictures in parishes that are dying all over his eparchy. Yet when it comes to compassion and support...well, he has none for his priests.....
Fort Pierce does not deserve a priest. They need purging. In fact they do not deserve the care they are presently getting in my opinion especially when they have managed to drain a fellow priest of all priestly zeal. Sure Fr.G can run up there and make cameo appearances  and get all the adulation and praise from them since he does not have to make the hard decisions a pastor would have to make collect his money and leave.  If he does it because he feels sorry for them he should think about the damage they inflicted on a brother priest........and mark my words, they will do it to anyone who might dare to go there including him if they have not already started.
The way I felt, as Jesus said in Matthew 10: Wash your feet from that place if they do not accept the Word....they didn’t kill a prophet to be sure, but they did inflict grave harm on a priest and they will have to answer for that if not now, in the next world, and as Jesus also said: better for Sodom and Gomorrah than for them.... I could not agree more!
It is clear to me that they need to be cleansed of the venomous vipers that are there or the sickness of spirit will spread.  They have big problems with a fanatical few doing great damage, and while they’re spreading calumny, the others could care less, as no one defended me then, and only three have come to my defense or written a letter of support for the blood sweat and tears...time talent and treasure I gave to that parish in the hopes that it could be filled with loving caring people.  It will not as long as you have members who are filled with hate for priests, are faithless,  suspicious, apathetic and distrusting. I heard that A&JP who left the parish  have since returned to open and welcoming arms since that SOB Fr. Michael has left. So there you have it.  They won and that’s ok for now.  All I was was a celibate priest trying to make a difference...trying to keep the traditions of our church alive and made anew...but evil won out..supported and encouraged by of all people the bishop. ..Yes,  hatred conquered and destroyed all the good I was trying to accomplish....... I left there an empty priest hoping to regain my health and dignity as a person... and I didn’t deserve the way I was treated by them. I was thrown under the bus.. . and my brother priests involved, and especially the bishop...backed up over me.  And you are asking me to help those ingrates out?
Michael

MANS BEST FRIEND

No wonder dogs are man's best friends. Here are my two Miniature Schnauzers Fritz and Frieda who bring joy to my life every day. The Beatles said "All you need is love" and that what they give without question, without reserve, and with all their being.
Why God didn't make us more like them I'll never know!






Thursday, July 28, 2016

HILLARY VS TRUMP'S AMERICA



OBAMA SAYS LIFE IS GOOD......REALLY? REALLY?

OBAMA:  “I mean, I hope people, the next morning, walked outside and birds were chirping and the sun was out, and this afternoon people will be watching their kids play in sports teams and go to the swimming pool, and folks are going to work and getting ready for the weekend.”

Monday, July 25, 2016

THANKS "RELIGION OF PEACE!"

Thanks "Religion of Peace!
Went to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando yesterday to see the concert version of Fun House. The Cast flew down as a sign of unity for the Terrorist attack at Pulse Nightclub. Getting into the venue was almost as bad as getting to your gate at the airport.Thanks "Religion of Peace!
There were long lines for bag checks. Of course the ladies in their small clutch bags must have had sticks of dynamite in them.
The men were subjected to opening up the jackets as if we were practicing to become flashers. Then we were wanded up one side and down the other and when it beeped the burly Gestapo-like wanders barked "what's that?" I said my keys, my glasses, my watch? expecting us to take out everything we had in our pockets.
Thanks "Religion of Peace!
The only think next would have been cavity searches, but some may have enjoyed those considering the patrons!
Anyway what would have been a lovely evening with friends began was totally ruined because everyone was suspect. Everyone could be an Islamic terrorist, yes, even little old Irish ladies sauntering in.
Thanks "Religion of Peace!
We endure this at airports, stadiums, and now theaters and opera, pretty soon in bars, supermarkets, movie houses, and churches.
Thanks "Religion of Peace!
And when people spoke eloquent words at the show about us combating hate and fear, staying strong, I thought to myself, where's the mention of the REAL CAUSE of this sadness pain and suspicion? When will be finally talk about the proverbial elephant in the room, namely the sick theology which is the foundation of Islam. Yet no one mentions it. No one offers to question a faith that promotes such violence as found in the Koran. Where are the scholars? Where are the reformers?  
It's  ironic that the performance was for the gay people killed by an Islamist yet we make no mention of the root cause, yet in their world, there would be no gay fundraisers there would be gay executions. They'd be congregating in the square in front of the Dr. Phillips Center just like so many did for the Pulse memorial  held weeks ago, only when they would gather it would be to watch gay people being thrown off the top of that beautiful building to their deaths cheering that God is great.Thanks "Religion of Peace!

Believe me all religions have their zealots and all have done horrible things, but for most, enlightened minds have prevailed. This is a clash not only of religion but cultures, and like oil and water the two I believe shall never mix. And as long as we ignore the elephant in the room, as long as we speak of some nebulous world evil and accept the horrible changes in our lives and the lives of our children and our children's children, as long as we do nothing, they will bring us to our knees and it won't be to pray either.
And the experience made me think. Just a few days ago Obama downplaying the Islamic threat as he has done for the past 7 plus years did it again. He said it's all make believe. That we wake up and see the sun shine, the birds sing. Life is good so what the hell are we complaining about? We're over reacting. Sure he can say that. 
Has he had to stand in long lines and be searched from head to toe at the airport? 
Has he been blown up in a nightclub?
How many times has he been wanded when trying to enter a government or public place like a concert hall? 
He decries the Second Amendment to our Constitution while he is surrounded by men with Uzis.
This religious cancer has over the years changed our way of life,, and unless we have someone with the balls to finally send a message as the Israeli's do that if you blow us up or mow us down, your entire family will suffer the same fate, then maybe they'll get the message.  Of course that will never happen, so instead, we will build more memorials, leave more bouquets, have more vigils and light more candles as we continue to mourn the dead over and over and over again.
Thanks "Religion of Peace!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

MEMOIRS OF MY MOM AND DAD

They don't make parents like they used to and I know why.
Most parents of the Baby Boomers, of which I am one, baby boomer that is, are different than the parents of today in many ways. That's a good think but it's also a bad thing because I believe the parents of today are stunting the growth of their children. I'll give you a simple example. What parent today would ever allow their kids to come home after school change into their play clothes see them sun out the door and not see them again until dinner time?  Almost all parents today wold consider that unthinkable. My parents did not. I can remember growing up in the Athenia section of Clifton New Jersey. We would walk home from school stopping at every candy store on the way. It was about a mile walk down Van Houten Avenue to our house on Speer Ave. Sometimes we would take short cuts through empty lots. I never faced an abductor, child molester terrorist or psychopath. The scariest people we'd encounter was the usual mean old man who complained that we were cutting across their lawns.
LIFE BEFORE CABLE TV
I had to take three buses from Don Bosco Technical High School in Paterson NJ to get home, one from the school to downtown Paterson, then the 74 bus to Passaic, and then the number 1 Community Bus line to Clifton. Once again, I never encountered anyone who wanted to do me harm.
I believe that in this day of instant news the things that have always happened, like child abductions get front page news but back in the 50's were seldom reported. The sensationalism of these events have created unfounded fear in every community. Not to mention that most abductions occur by estranged spouses, not to mention the fact that crazy people are allowed to roam the streets instead of being placed in asylums because it infringes on their civil rights. No one has the civil right to be crazy and terrorize neighborhoods do they?  So because of the 24 hour news cycle the availability of instant video not to mention our preoccupation with everyone else's business through social media, random events become epidemic. Like back in the 70's when the rumor of evil people sticking razor blades in apples for Halloween caused every parent from that day forward to literally ex-ray every  Milky Way or Snickers candy bar. After all, what kid would not have thrown the apple they got at the person's house anyway? 
During school days, we needed to be home when the 5 o'clock whistle blew at the Manhattan/Raybestos rubber factory. But until then, me, Skippy Kaiser, Bobby McLaughlin, Davy Zapusek and Johnny Zmudsky would be playing on the Erie railroad tracks behind the factories, or taking the Athenia bus into downtown Passaic, riding our bikes down to Third Ward Park in Passaic, or just hanging around who knows where. Were we scared of being kidnapped? No. Would we have been happy with our mother's withing spitting distance of where we were going or what we were doing? No. We were toughened by living life, by being a kid exploring the world we lived in.
There was always one house that everyone liked to congregate at, and that was mine. My mom always supplied us with homemade cookies, chocolate milk from my dad's milk truck, and she never minded my friends hanging out. 
There was an empty lot a few houses down from where we lived, so we did what any group of boys do, we dug a hole there and built a fort. It was like the "he-man woman haters club" that the Little Rascal's had. It was there that we would plot and plan absolutely nothing but we had fun.
Living in North Jersey, we had many places to explore like the Beecham Factory who produced Brylcream, the men's hair cream. We'd go near the tracks where the garbage was dumped and we would always find interesting stuff there. One time we found cases of what else Brylcream that supposedly were damaged and unsaleable. So we gathered up as many tubes we could load up on our Huffy bikes filling our pockets to the brim. We wouldn't use the stuff. We would stomp on the tubes and squirt each other with the white stuff! What fun.  Of course the guard walking around would chase us off the property but we didn't care. We'd be back the next day. 
And if we did get into trouble or be someplace we should not have been, our moms found out about it before we got home even though there were no cell phones or GPS ankle monitors parents use today. You had something better than cell phones, you had nosy neighbors who knew you and  your parents calling them to report on our whereabouts.
Parents today don't have to worry about their kid's whereabouts. All they have to do is look into their bedrooms or on the living room couch because the urchins will be planted there exercising their fingers playing video games. That's why child obesity is at an all time high. That's why kids today cannot interact or converse let alone play with anyone. That's why our future looks grim because children have been coddled and shrink wrapped by their parents preserving them from living life.
No kid today can just go out to play. Their "helicopter parents" hover over their precious little china dolls scheduling play dates weeks in advance agreeing on time and places for their planned interaction where they are monitored and observed like laboratory rats. But it's worse than that.
One time when I returned back up to New Jersey to visit family, I went to my nephew's house for a visit. As I walked in I could see my two grand nephews glued in front of their flat screen TV. They glanced over to see who came through the door but that was about it. No hello Uncle Michael. No hug. No hand shake only a fleeting glance. I enthusiastically greeted them with a big hello. They just looked at me for a nano second and said "hi." That was the extent of my conversation with them, as they returned to their video games. True they were about 8 and 11 but even worse their rudeness was accepted by their parents. My parents would have turned off the TV grabbed us kids by our ears pulled us away from whatever we were doing and make us be sociable.
If you don't believe that many kids not to mention Millennials do not know how to interact with people just observe them next time you go someplace. They speak in sound bites hardly ever make eye contact, and are devoid of personality.
By now you're thinking that I sound like an old fart, but I grew up like kids today I would never have been able to succeed in life. Maybe kids today count on trust funds or handouts from the government as promised by liberal politicians so they don't have to hone their communication skills. If kids want to make something of themselves, they have to be able to sell themselves and the best way to do that is to have the gift of gab as my mom used to say They have to be able to verbally paint a picture of their beliefs talents and abilities. They have to be able to write to express themselves with words and ideas. They have to learn to be deep thinkers. They have to be eloquent in their speech, dropping what I call "bridge words"  like....."like" and "uh" and "you know."
That's why the more I reflect on my mom and dad I thank them for how they raised me.  Mind you they came from Eastern Europe at a very young age. My dad first got a job in a butcher shop, later a clothing factory, then bought  a milk route and built up his business all by himself. He worked like a dog and loved it. Even though he had a 6th grade education, he was never satisfied working for others. He wanted to be in business for himself and his milk business gave him that opportunity.
Imagine waking up at 1AM in the morning, heading to the dairy to load up the milk truck, then drive through four or five cities delivering milk house to house. He would get home about 6AM, take a nap wake up have breakfast, then head to the dairy to unload the empty milk cases. He did this day after day for over 20 years!
I remember one winter when he slipped on some ice deeply cutting a tendon in his right hand. He took a bunch of stitches and could not drive the truck for weeks. so my mom, all 5'-2" of her, would get behind the wheel of this 3/4 ton Dodge milk truck and drive the route while my dad with one hand all bandaged up delivered milk with the other hand.
But that's what love is all about. Being there for each other. Speaking about love, my mom and dad had a strange way of showing it. I mean they, being from Eastern Europe were not the huggy kissy type. They met young got married young in 1936 had my brother Emil in 1937, a sister in 47, me in 49 and my kid sister which slipped in at the last minute in 1959! I always thought they had bad planning, but then I realized that things got in the way between their first in 1937 and the next child, mainly World War II! Not the best time I guess to have another child just as rationing was in full force and money was tight.
But you see, we can always find fault with our parents, vow to be better parents than they were and not make the mistakes we think they made with us, but we always forget life has a way of throwing us curve balls just like the ones my mom and dad had to deal with.
I was brought up before "quality time" became the catch phrase for sporadic parenting. What I mean is that when I am asked about what quality time I spent with my parents I always say, mine was spent watching my mom wash clothes in her new Hotpoint automatic washer. I loved watching the agitator slosh the clothes back and forth and loved the smell of bleach. Funny, I never had a hand ripped off or got my head twisted for sticking it in the washer during the spin cycle. There were no safety latches that locked the lid. Too bad. Maybe some kids today would marvel at the simple things like I did more than they do now. That was my quality time with mom. And as for dad, my quality time is the lasting memory of going on the milk route with him, that is if he could awaken me at 4 o'clock in the morning when he would stop by the house for a break. I also remember Saturday collecting. That would be the day we would go to customers houses to collect the like bills. It was then that I learned how to speak to grownups at a young age, count out change, and realize how hard my dad worked to give us the things we needed. And as far as acting up in school, during parent teacher nights, my mom would tell my teachers that they should feel free to smack me if I need it, because when I got home with a note from the teacher, he would get worse punishment. Parents today do just the opposite. They sue the teacher for any corporal punishment, and the teachers today are targets for profanity and disrespect, and they can do nothing. No wonder kids today are so stupid.
You know, to this day, I get upset when I hear anyone be they 7 or 70 saying to a clerk or waiter "I want" or "I want this or I want that." My mom and dad would give me a smack if I talked like that. I remember dad would say, "I'll give you want you don't want!" as he gestured to undo his strap. In other words, they always taught us kids that we are not entitled to anything and we should not want anything. That we should be grateful for the things we receive, and that we should always say "I would like" this or that. It's a sign of humility and gratefulness.
And then when the milk delivery business started to wane due to the "Jug Stores" which sold milk at a discount started popping up, my uneducated (by today's standards that is) dad sold his milk truck and used the proceeds to put a down payment on a small 14 family apartment house in Garfield NJ. He drove by it delivering milk hundreds of times and even had customers live there so he got to know the owner who was of advanced age. So my dad made an offer and the owner accepted it. My dad was a landlord!  Back in 1970 he paid $65,000.00.
He loved going there day after day checking on things and keeping his tenants happy. IN the basement I think my dad created the first "Man Cave." He had some old furniture down there, a TV and radio, and a small work bench and lots of stuff my mom thought she threw out but dad dug them out of the garbage and brought them to the apartment!
That was mom. She wasn't a hoarder. My dad was. As I just mentioned, mom would throw stuff out going so far as to taking junk across the street to someone else's trash cans so that my dad would not discover it, but he caught on found his treasures and retrieved them from across the street.
I talked about my mom and dad being different than today;s parents. They loved each other but it was more a love of partnership responsibility, and commitment to work, church, family and tradition. Affection was not overt. It was not what Eastern Europeans did. Even with us kids. They showed their love mostly by being stern parents setting the examples and expecting us to follow them.  I can remember when friends came to my house and my mom and dad were conversing. They never used their inside voices that caused my friends to ask why my mom and dad were always arguing with each other? I simple said, oh, their not mad, that's just the way they talk!
They were so in tune with each other. One time while was in elementary school they were having a bake sale, so as usual, my mom would make a fantastic cake for me to bring. My dad, on his way home from Sisco Dairy just a few blocks from our house in Clifton where he bought his milk from, thought he would stop by School 13 in Clifton NJ to bring home a cake. Well out of the dozens of cakes available there guess which one he picked, correct, my mom's cake! He brings it home and when he opens the box, my mom looks at her cake and says "Mike (she called my dad Mike because I was Michael) you bought my cake you durak!" (durak is Slavic for dope) . My dad retorted: "...how did I know? It was the only one that looked the nicest!"
Mom was not only a great baker, she also had many other talents. She painted landscapes, one of which still hangs in my bedroom of a Spanish Wharf. Not only that, she loved to sing, and as a matter of fact she auditioned back in the 1920's at Carnegie Hall NYC for a Hollywood producer who saw her as another Susan Hayward. She even had head shots taken at the famous Voss Studio in New York City. Here's one.
But she decided that starting a family was more important than a career in Hollywood. So when we four kids were a bit older, she took classes and became a PBX operator. For you young people who never heard of that, PBX stands for "Post Box Exchange" which basically is an operator who routes incoming calls which today is done automatically. This was the "pre-voicemail jail" era where you had a lovely lady greet you and route your call. She then got jobs at Shulton in Clifton NJ the "Old Spice" company which has since been torn down and transformed into acres of town homes.  She then worked as a PBX operator for Farmland Dairies in Wallington NJ.
She became a den mother for the local Cub Scout s in town and was voted den leader of the year by her pack.
My dad loved big cars, and another "quality time" experience I had before "QT" was in vogue, was on a Saturday afternoon when we were almost done with collections, we'd stop at the various car dealers to see the new cars. Back then, new car models were always shown in the Fall. The dealerships would paper their windows so you couldn't see the new models until it was time for the unveiling. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20, and I remember looking at and sitting in 65 Chevy Impalas, Corvettes, Ford Mustangs shining beneath the showroom lights, Plymouth's, Chrysler's, Imperials (one of my mom's favorite cars) Caddies, GTO's, you name it.
And when my dad would really really like a particular car he would give the salesman fifty bucks as a deposit on it. It always had to be on the showroom floor. My dad did not believe in ordering a car. Then he would negotiate the price like someone haggles over melons in a marketplace. He was a master of the deal. One of his tactics was to bring cash. If he was serious about buying a car that the dealer said cost $3750.00, he would bring $3500.00 in cash. usually that would seal the deal. I mean what salesperson would turn down a cash deal? And dad would always insist they throw in floor mats and a full tank of gas!
But there were times when the car he fell in love with mom hated. He would plop down his fifty bucks and the next day bring my mom to see the car. She liked big cars too, but not the kind my dad liked. He drove a milk truck so big and bulky was his taste in cars too. But mom wanted a big car with graceful lines. She had a Slavic term she would use to describe a big bulky car. She would say: "That thing's a 'BOOJAK'  (pronounced boo-yock) which meant a big bulky hulking thing.  She loved Imperials though , and drove a 1957 Crown until she got her 1963 gold Crown Imperial the very car I took my driving test with. Looking over the hood from the drivers seat was like looking over the bow of an aircraft carrier it was so flat and wide. Even the officer who conducted my driving test realized that I could never make a three point turn in it so she allowed me to make a four point turn!
Here's mom in front of her 1963 Imperial Crown. Not only was there lead in the gasoline back then, there was also lead in my mom's foot. She drove that 5700 pound Imperial as if she was AJ Foyt sometimes leaving rubber as she took off.
They don't make patrents like they used to.



Friday, July 15, 2016

CRAZIES KOOKS AND LOONS PART 3: Beginning of the end...



THE FILLING STATION SYNDROME
There was a family who would come to church regularly, by that I mean every other week, or they would drive their parents to church but rarely join them. Months go by without them attending. Then the grandmother dies and they're all over me with funeral plans as if the pope died. The funeral's over, and you don't see them in church for months and months. Then the grandfather dies and once again, they're calling me to arrange funeral plans. So I question their membership and all hell breaks loose. How dare I bring up the fact that they haven't been in church since their grandmother died years ago. Not to mention they never sent in their donations, never came to fund raise, didn't participate in parish life. So what do they do, they go over my head and call not my bishop but the Archbishop in Pittsburgh with whom they were parishioners of back in the day. So then my bishop calls me inquiring about the situation. I tell him it would not be fair to have these fly by night members get the full benefits of the parish when they really don't belong.
This is typical in most instances. The moment you hold parishioners feet to the proverbial fire they tell you to go screw yourself. So much for life long members of the church. It shows you how people react to authority or when they're told the truth. Mostly, they blame the priest and you're put on their hit list. So a while later I hear that they went to the local RC church who buried the old guy. So you look like a jerk because the RC priest with no scruples will bury anyone regardless of whether or not they were members. So I guess prostitution is alive and well in the church!
And as for the faith of the members? They were like the Knights of Columbus in a way. They loved having a church but not to be able to grow in Christ, but to grow cliques and to gossip. Many loved to come to cook Slavic food in the kitchen but didn't have time to come to services. They loved fundraising but eschewed faith raising. So I called their bluff. Being fed up with the lack of attendance at the many and varied church services I would celebrate week in and week out, I closed down the kitchen and sold all the kitchen equipment out from under them! That;s right, the stoves, refrigerators, and all the baking equipment went up for sale. I gutted the kitchen and turned it into a social hall in which to hold adult religious studies. Well, you'd think I killed all of their first born children, They hated me for that. Not one came to my defense. Not one said, 'Father, you did the right thing. After all we're supposed to be faith raising not fundraising." And, no one came to any of the classes or services other than the usual few.
After that, I could feel the resentment.  I wanted to prove to them that we are first and foremost a church in the business of serving God and one another and our community.  But that was not what they wanted their church to be. To them it was a social club not a church, even though after a few years I designed and we built a proper kitchen addition with equipment which rivaled the best restaurants in which to raise funds, much of the equipment bought with my own money for which I was never reimbursed. 

WHAT ME WORRY.....
Being sent to a parish holds many surprises. Like I told parishioners throughout the years, I have hundreds of personalities to deal with while you have one namely me so give me a fricken break!
The last parish in Florida to which I was sentenced was probably the weirdest. It was a fruit salad of personalities with members from all over the place. 
You had born and raised Byzantine Catholics, you had those died in the wool Traditional Roman Catholics who hated the Novus Ordo (the new Mass) dealt with disorder in their church, were suspicious and jaded and so seeing the Byzantine Catholic Church as an oasis, brought their hate suspicion and jadedness to us. How wonderful. 
That mixed in with the fanatical Byzantines created a zoo-like atmosphere.
People see the church as some kind of mystical magical place where all their wants needs desires and dreams will be dealt with by the one person who they demand action from namely the priest.
Those RC's  don't come to the BC church to become Byzantine Catholic they come to change it more to their liking and therein's the rub. They insist on keeping their traditions for worship instead of conforming to their new church. They'll question things like: "Why don't we kneel?" or "How come 'mass' is so long?"
If I would gently remind them that when in Rome do what the Romans do, and when in Byzantium do what the Byzantines do, they get pissed off. They begin to turn on you and their new church.
Here are a few examples and I will refrain from using their names so as not to embarrass them.That's the way people look at their parish in today's world. They see the church as a filling station. Gas and go. Get your Jesus fix and take off. I would say that half of the members would come to church regularly. Most would just gas and dash.
Now let's get to the crazies, the mixed nut bowl you see at Thanksgiving.  There was a family recently joined with 6 kids, whose husband was a "Prepper." You know the ones who were preparing for Armageddon. His garage was filled with rations water and other items in preparation of the end times. He was the one who being in law enforcement decided to run a criminal background check on yours truly his humble pastor. Of course that would be the first thing anyone in their right mind would do when joining a parish, see if their new priest has a criminal history.
Then there was another displaced Roman Catholic family who joined  with a bunch of kids. At first like many new members they were enamored with the rituals and practices of worship in their new church, but when the reality of responsibility hits, the honeymoon slowly ends. It was a blessing to have children in the parish, but again, here came the old members complaining about the little ones being under foot and not behaving in church. I even had one member comment to someone that this guy should keep his zipper up and not have so many kids!
Then I had some fruitcake join the church who was married divorced and living with her new husband, but because she was so Catholic she wanted me to fix her marriage. I did, got them married in the church thinking they would live happily ever after.. They did, but in the mean time made my life a living hell. She came into the church like a bull in a china shop. I thought she was on my side stating how hard I worked and they everyone on the parish did not appreciate me nor help me as much as they should have and promised to show all of the, off.. Well each time she was supposed to run something she had family problems to take care of. Each time she was supposed to help work in the church kitchen, she had an excuse. It didn't take me long to realize she was all talk and no action, at the same time alienating everyone else in the process.
Then you had the token gay couple, the henpecked husband, spinsters and the spiritually challenged to round out the bunch.  

JESUS HASN'T SUNK IN....the power of passing judgement
It's human nature to pass judgement on others. For a moment it makes us feel superior. It gives is the feeling of power since when we look at the faults of others we feel better about ourselves. Even though Jesus taught us to judge others as you would have others judge you, the people in this parish seemed to have forgotten that.
There was a homeless young man who used to come around the church looking for a handout. he would come to the rectory asking if there were any odd jobs needed to be done. Usually he never completed the work and or did it poorly. But as a priest I always looked at losers like that as Jesus in disguise. As Jesus said :"What you do for the least of these you do to me..." and I always remembered that all of my life.
Too bad most parishioners didn't. I remember one time he showed up when they were making pirogies. if looks could kill they would have. Sure he was all sweaty and smelly disheveled and in disarray.  He knew that Tuesday's were cooking days so he hoped to get a quick meal. While some members were kind, they were in the minority. One time I overheard someone say something to the effect of "he should get a job... he only comes here for a free meal.: Well, I was outraged. I laced into the entire bunch just as Jesus did when he heard his apostles murmuring.
My goal was to make Christians out of these Byzantine Catholics, and while it may sound strange, you would think just because they were Catholics they would by default be Christian. Not so. Most of the members there were Byzantine Catholics just for the nostalgia of it. Since their forefathers came over from Eastern Europe, they have fond memories of a church long past thanks to them. Back in the day, I remember our churches to be centers not only of spiritual life but also social life as well. Now the church was a club filled with cliques of one ilk or another. And so when it came to acting in a Christlike manner most of the time they failed. Once two members of the parish stopped coming to church because I mentioned Catholic doctrine concerning abortion candidates for the 2012 election cycle. I mentioned that in good conscience, one could not vote for a pro choice candidate. Well the last thinking they wanted was for their spiritual and moral leader to tell them not to do something. So they and their two toady member friends left the church, and upon their hearing that I left the church two years later rushed back to to continue to spread their hatefulness singing no doubt "ding dong the bastard's gone..."
Their judgmental nature came out and they reveled in it. Take this kid for example, even though helping him was akin to throwing money down a rat hole because of his drug addiction and inability to keep a job,  he was still a human being and needed mercy not judgement.    He told me that he would be sleeping in a a junk yard van because he would wash cars for the owner. I can remember setting him up with a small studio apartment. I bought him bedding, kitchen items, food, clothes and sundries. The experiment lasted the two months I paid his rent in advance in the hopes he would have found a job. He didn't and he was back on the street. Come to think of it, I wonder what happened to all the item bought for the place...
But again, I saw Jesus in him perhaps hoping He would have revealed himself and say "good job" to me. Regardless, I knew I was doing the proper thing, something my dad always reminded me to do.
I wonder what ever happened to him since I left. Like a cat, he always landed on his feet, so I hope he's doing OK.
AFTER EVERY PALM SUNDAY THERE'S A GOOD FRIDAY...
After 17 years of hard labor at the parish with little help cooperation enthusiasm and with a growing chorus of evildoers looking for opportunities to betray me, I had enough. Enough of the back stabbing, enough of the gossip, enough of being unappreciated over stressed overworked and demoralized. I had enough of lackadaisical attitude for their spiritual life, and enough of them hating me without cause as they did Jesus.  They never judged me, like Jesus said, "by the work I do and did." Instead they let the hatemongers destroy the one who made their little clique  church. The one who transformed the parish from a second rate one star church to a five star jewel box that, if the members were as beautiful as their church, more Christlike, probably would have grown by leaps and bounds. I was welcomed as a hero when I arrived there, but seventeen years later the same crowd who welcomed me would be shouting crucify him, crucify him. They didn't get the chance, but what they did was even worse. They destroyed whatever faith I had left both in the hierarchy and those under them. It was Sunday November 30, 2014 that I celebrated my last mass there, and at the end when I left the altar to walk down the isle to the back of the church, I just kept going, walking to my car filled with the last items I was taking and left forever. Like the Beatles song I "stepped on the gas and wiped that tear away."



THE MYTH OF PRIESTLY JOY...an expose on my life in the ministry


Sure they say that calm seas does not a sailor name; that the hotter the fire the stronger the steel; that after every Palm Sunday there's Good Friday. That we should make lemonade out of lemons. I'm aware of all these sayings and agree with them to a point. I thought I could bring people to love Jesus more.  I believed our church had the stuff to help. I was idealistic for most of my 35 years until the last few years before I retired in 2014 after nearly suffering a nervous breakdown realizing that people will not change even if Jesus came and stood in front of them. 
That most people are two faced. They pray in church then flip the bird to someone who cuts them off in the church parking lot. 
That you can preach and preach and preach, and people don't listen don't care don't want to change.
They hear the "Good News" but they prefer the bad news which nourishes their self centered "selfie" judgmental devilish existence. 

I was ordained in a church while it was already on life support but at least in 1979 the year of my ordination people still went to church. Kids were interested, and I was hopeful. But as the years passed membership declined and to this day most of our churches are empty tombs soon to be either museums of a culture gone by, restaurants,  property ripe for development, or Mosques. We were an ethnic church that today has no real measurable growth. We populated with disgruntled Roman Catholics displaced Latin Catholics who seek religious purity or at least their own version of it. Not many born and raised Byzantine Catholics 1st 2nd or 3rd generation anymore. We even have a convert protestant bishop! 
While these memoirs are difficult to recount as they do bring back mostly bad memories I still felt the need to write them down for the record.
INTRODUCTION
They say men are "called" to the priesthood by God. Maybe I should not have picked up the phone. But I did and I wanted to do great things for the Church, the church of my birth. After all, my brother was a priest. So, I wanted to also join him so that the church of our birth would have a bright future. A church that I wanted to preserve, promote and be a part of its growth. So I took the plunge. I entered the seminary in 1974 and was ordained in 1979. I know my struggles as a priest in parishes could be shared by many other priests and they are not unique, but they are my struggles.
The life of a priest is fraught with challenges from within and without. You're dealing with the sacred and profane sometimes within and without. Your dealing with a corporation that has been around for two thousand plus years. It is entrenched bureaucratic and for the most part immovable as are the clergy running the operation.
IN THE BEGINNING
What you need to remember is that before I went into the seminary back in 1974, I was a second year student at Pratt Institute School of Architecture in Brooklyn NY, and had dreams of being a famous architect. Cooper Union also in NYC considered me for their school of architecture as well!
Design was in my blood. I can remember my mom and dad taking me to New York City to Madison Square Garden to see the Ringling Brothers circus. But what interested me more was the Garden itself, and I looked more at the architecture of the building. I got straight A's for my four years at Don Bosco Technical High School in Paterson NJ architectural drafting department. My senior project was the design of a new Pan American Airport. It had traveling walkways like airports have today, and a satellite that planes taxied up to just like airports have today. Even the Port Authority was so impressed I still believe to this day that they took my idea for the new Newark Airport! (At least that what me dad teasingly said to me!) 
I worked with architects in New Jersey at the tender age of 20 after I spent a few years in retailing working my way up from salesman to assistant manager of men's furnishings in Stern's in Paramus NJ, and even while working there got involved with designing various seasonal displays. At my last job with a Morristown NJ architectural firm, I become romantically involved with a cute blond receptionist there who was crazy about me. 
So just when I thought my life's goals seemed within reach, I get "the call."  I was sitting in church one Sunday listening to the graveled voice priest who made an impassioned plea for more vocations after the surprising death over the last few weeks of three priests. I was moved by his words, and thought to myself, sure I could be a famous architect, but maybe I can do more by becoming a priest and bringing people to our Church and to Christ.This blog is about my assignments in Byzantine Catholic parishes I was assigned to over the years and how they were anything but gay experiences. Quite the contrary they were for the most part demoralizing not to mention depressing. I felt like a young colt wanting to win the Kentucky Derby but instead penned in by a bunch of old priests with old ideas who saw their parishes as little fiefdoms over which they ruled supreme. The flame of priestly zeal began to diminish day by day parish assignment after parish assignment. 
The church of my birth, the church that I dedicated my life to is but a shadow of what it was or could have been as parishes shrink become infested with cancerous zealots from other parishes and are filled lazy uninspired faithful many of whom stay only to be buried  there.
And it couldn't be more obvious that the older members didn't care about the future because if they did their children and their children's children would have remained in the church of their birth. 
What I write below is what I experienced firsthand as a young priest and it was anything but...gay.

ASSIGNMENT #1: NORTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA  MAY 1979-OCTOBER 1979
My first assignment as an assistant pastor didn't last long. 
Dealing with novelty of being a new priest is hard enough, but when you are assigned to parishes with entrenched pastors and people your bubble bursts pretty quickly. I arrived with great ideas for youth programs, and other activities since most of the life of the parish centered around church on Sunday and meetings of grownups about fund raising. I was all in for that however I felt that faith raising should have been just as important. But it wasn't. Life living with the old school pastor wasn't very joyful either. I had a pretty nice room with a small sitting area. It was a good thing because I was never invited into the living spaces nor if I entered them was I welcome. This old priest was one of the last of the married ones before Rome put the kibosh on married clergy in the 20's lead by the mafia-like archbishop Ireland. So after the priests wife passed away, the housekeeper took over and with a vengeance. She ruled the roost. A plump buxom broad who idolized the good Monsignor but hated almost every young assistant assigned to the place. I remember one evening while raiding the ice box I passed by the pastor's den and there he was reclining on a Lazy Boy while Attila the Housekeeper massaged his head! Yikes, I hope as the evening went on that's all she was massaging. My main responsibility was to drive the two miles more or less to the school in downtown Hazleton. I'd get there about 7:15 and start mass at 7:30. The altar was on the auditorium stage. When I started the mass there were about 20 kids, but by communion time and the bus drops off the kids the crowd swelled to about 100. That was the highlight of my life there. I would stay as long as I could hopefully avoiding breakfast with the Monsignor which he ate after his 8AM mass at the church. The kids were delightful and I would joke with them, even shoot some hoops until the good sisters corralled them into lines to get to class. That was the one an only joy of that assignment.
Returning back to the parish grounds was the low light of my day because there was nothing to do, or at least nothing that I was allowed to do.  I usually went to the local diner for breakfast rather than eat the slop the housekeeper threw together which would have been cold since I would arrive ate.  I had so many ideas that I though if implemented would build the parish's spiritual life. I didn't want to have a church that was dying when I just started my ministry. I was young idealistic and energetic. However, that enthusiasm was seen as a threat to the pastor's authority, or should I say, the housekeepers. Regardless,  I suggested youth programs and  I got shot down. When I suggested adult programs I got shut down. It was a time when parish members were only expected to pray - pay- and obey. And you wonder why the Byzantine Catholic church is on its death bed. Well, in a few weeks, I guess the old pastor had enough of me and asked the bishop to get a new assistant. I was thrilled until I found out where I was going... I liken it to being transferred from solitary confinement to death row.
One cool think was that I visited Andy Warhol's mother on First Friday sick calls. She was a shut-in member of the church and a stained glass windows is proof as it reads "The Warhola Family" (Andy shortened his name to 'Warhol') She had photos of her son mixed in with holy pictures all over the living room in the little patch town near Hazleton. 

ASSIGNMENT #2: SOUTH JERSEY NOVEMBER 1979-MAY 1980
Talk about going from the fire into the frying pan, or being transferred from solitary to death row. If I thought the former old monsignor and his housekeeper partner was difficult, stubborn, and just plain mean, I was about to endure 6 months living with another monsignor who made my former pastor look like Mother Teresa. It was a living hell. This monsignor, a rotund man, thought I was so stupid inept and untrustworthy (actually he thought that of all assistants)  that he would hand write the weekly bulletin and I would have to type it onto the stencil word for word with no deviation or grammatical corrections then after he approved it, run it onto the mimeograph machine. Hey it was the 80's.  And while his housekeeper was more docile, she was a worse cook that the other housekeeper. She was a little gnome would make the monsignor's favorite dishes each day of the week every week with no change no alteration. It was lamb shank Monday and "pencil stick" Wednesday. Pencil sticks being tube macaroni, chicken soup Sunday, Steak-um Saturday, etc, etc.
My room was just above the pastor's office.  He had a wall safe in which contained cigar boxes filled with either Sunday collection money, slush fund money, or bingo money. Without fail every morning at about 5:30AM like the king in his counting house counting all his money, he would be slamming the door of that damn wall safe dozens of times as he shuffled the cigar boxes counting his booty. I think he enjoyed doing it since he knew the assistant's room was directly above his office. 
He ran a mass factory. That's the only way to describe it. He had two weekday morning masses one at 6:45AM the other at 7:30 for the school kids. Saying mass usually took at least 40 minutes if you rushed through it  skipped things and didn't dawdle. Not good enough. If I ran one minute over the 40 minute allotted time as I was concluding the mass, he would be coming around the corner starting his. It was like a tag team match or relay race! Oh, did I mention that I would hear about my slacking and dawdling at breakfast with criticism about taking too long to celebrate the timeless mystery of the Eucharist! Go figure.
The place was run like a prison too. I would get my one day off during the week leaving after morning mass and I had better be back by 11PM or I would hear about it at breakfast.
Now I tell you, a man in his late 20's living like a preteen is unhealthy not to mention demeaning. 
And like in the other parish, the Trenton parish had a school also, but God forbid if I ever walked over to it during classes to visit the classrooms. I did this once when I first arrived, and was excoriated for it. "Father, you have no business going over to the school!' was the Monsignor's reprimand. Why I wondered. The kids needed to realize that not all priests were old farts mean and nasty. I would have hoped that perhaps a seed of a vocation would have planted in the hearts and minds of the little boys if they saw a happy young priest. They were the future of our Church.         No way Jose.  I was told without equivocation that the school was off limits, and that I could not even play with the kids during recess. It was then that I started to question whether or not I made the right decision to become a priest.
I thought maybe things would be better once I was assigned to my own parish which came 6 months later after we almost came to blows during an argument with the good monsignor. With this guy, you either kissed his ass, or he crushed you with it. Oh, the subject of the argument: I wanted to start a youth group!

ASSIGNMENT #3: PASTOR/NORTH WEST NEW JERSEY MAY 1980-AUGUST 1982
It seems that I was always the "mission priest" sent to fledgling parishes with no money, no church, no organization, and usually no hope. The bishop at that time in the 80's would start a parish if only a handful of people wanted one. He never looked at the consequences and challenges not to mention demographic viability of starting a parish. I guess he liked the idea of being the bishop who would have started the most parishes among his piers. 
Presently, I can think of at least half of those pop up parishes have since closed. So much for doing one's homework. I didn't mind such assignments were it not for the fact that I always had to come up with ways to raise funds to keep the churches afloat by hook or by crook  and beautify what was essentially a bingo hall. Such was the case in this parish. it was located out in the boon docks of central north Jersey off the beaten path which was another flaw in the location of new parishes. Rather than spending more money for a location off the main drag, land was found out in the wilderness. As in many mission parishes, the house on the property became the chapel rectory and class rooms for the children. Only in this case, someone got the bright idea to build what else, an all purpose hall for bingo baking  and praying. Only in this case the building was undersized, horribly built so much so that the heating bills took almost all of the Sunday collection, and had the tiniest of kitchens imaginable. The cost to heat the building in the winter time got so bad that I had to buy space heaters that ran on kerosene walk over to the hall and start them at 6AM on Sunday morning so the place would warm up by 10AM for church. Forget about having any other functions there int he winter time. All other activities ended up in the pastor's house. The basement of the house became the class rooms for Sunday school, and the living room the meeting place for church groups. So basically the only area off limits was the second floor of the two story house which was my quarters. Seeing the need for more money we did what we do best, we baked. We baked all kinds of Slavic pastries to sell, and believe it or not, the parish came together and supported the endeavor. I'll never forget hearing about John Lennon being shot while kneading dough the morning of  Monday, December 8, 1980!  While the parish seemed to be growing and spirits were high for some reason I felt unfulfilled. Kind of like the Peggy Lee song saying "Is that all there is?  Sure I transformed the ugly hall into  a church as best as I could, painting and appointing the sanctuary which could be closed off by a folding wall, adding small chandeliers to use for church services instead of the dreadful fluorescent lights which made you feel you were holding church in a K-Mart. All those things I did to give some pride to the members and to attract new members. But being off the beaten path as I said, and seeing that few were into evangelizing I became despondent. So I looked to the one thing that always gave me great joy and fulfillment namely architecture. I asked and was granted a leave of absence and was hired by a prestigious architectural firm in Morristown NJ, and for that year, I not only worked among talented professionals, I was treated as one. That's one thing about being a priest that disappointing me the fact that people took your and your talent and hard work for granted. Not so in the real world. You were respected, appreciated and rewarded for your talents and abilities. I missed that in the parish.
Nevertheless, it seemed that as Francis Thompson declared in his book "The Hound of Heaven," Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home,
Rise clasp my hand and come
Halts by me that footfall
Is my gloom after all
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Though dravest love from thee, who dravest me...
So I asked and received reinstatement.
Once again, I would try to serve the Lord at all cost

ASSIGNMENT # 4:  CENTRAL FLORIDA JUNE 1983-DECEMBER 1987

Drove down in June of 1983 excited and energized in the prospect of taking a fledgling group of people and making a parish out of them. First things first. Unlike the priest's up North who loved in palatial rectories, mine was a converted garage a block from Daytona Beach. At least I could walk to the beach whenever I had nothing better to do like clean the Knights of Columbus hall.  But I felt that the sacrifice would be worth it and set a good example for the parishioners. Boy was I wrong. In fact no one ever objected to my living conditions or suggested that they pay for someplace worthy of their resident priest. My mom had a saying from the old country which would be in response to wishful thinking which translated meant: "(That will happen) when the blind see..." In other words never! 
First Liturgy was in a church that can easily hold 500 people. So the 20 people in attendance seemed more like Lilliputians in that huge church. Luckily I persuaded the local Knights of Columbus Grand Knight (more like the Grand Dragon)  to allow us to have mass in their hall on Sunday mornings. It was a blessing and a curse. Sure we could celebrate on Sunday morning, but it's what happened in the hall the night before that made the transformation to a proper place of worship a challenge each Sunday.  You see Saturday night was bingo night, so when I arrived at the hall on Sunday morning, the stench of spilled beer and cigarette smoke was awful. None of the Knights came to help set up the church which meant moving tables and chairs to one side of the hall to set up the collapsible altar and the candles, and all the other appointments which had to be stored in a couple of steamer trunks every Sunday. Once church was over, we then had to set up all of the tables and chairs according to numbers on the tables exactly as they were taken down. and did we hear about it if the tables were put back incorrectly. I came to realize that these guys had a chapter so that they could have a bar, drink, and play bingo even though the whole purpose of the fraternity was to help the church not themselves.
Because of my architectural background I started to look for property. We had grown considerable and I felt that the time was right after two years of living like transients to find property any property to relocate. Ideally a house on a few acres would be the best since the existing building could serve as the church and rectory. I remember one parcel found by a member in a great part of Ormond Beach. It was just off a residential area and would have been a perfect location.
There was a public hearing about our purchasing the property and all the good god fearing Christians came out in force throughout the neighborhood to STOP the purchase by our small congregation. Many got up and said that it would increase traffic. That the church should not be in a residential neighborhood because it would decrease property values. And the killer was when someone said that the church would draw ne'er do wells, transients, and bums to the church! So much for Christian compassion. Needless to say our plans were rejected by the good townspeople.
NOTE: So the property was later sold to a developer who build about a dozen houses, which caused more traffic than we could ever generate. Something to be said for Karma.
So the search continued. I spoke to a "good ole boy" owner of property further West on State Road 40 heading to Ocala FL. He had undeveloped land that he wanted to unload. I reluctantly entertained purchasing a few acres since they were so cheap. The only problem was that to develop the property would have cost more than the the church would have since being on a major roadway would have required DOT approvals, acceleration lanes, etc, not to mention the cost of developing raw land.  Then as I returned home one afternoon after riding the bulldozer of the fellow who wanted to sell us the raw land,  I see out of the corner of my eye a house for sale sign. It was on the corned of Rt 40 and looked like it had a lot of frontage.
As it turned out an older couple was selling their 3000 SF ranch house on five acres. It was perfect! Even the sunken living room and dining room was designed perfectly to create a chapel, and the house had four bedrooms, one of which would easily become the church office. The two car garage could become the social hall all for the asking price of 135K. We bought he property and in short order I created a beautiful little chapel that could seat about 20 people, an office and garage converted social hall. We even got an old church bell, and one of the parishioners built a tower for it out of wood beams.  We put the sign out on the road, and were in business.  We attracted new people and the future looked bright. I can remember when it came time to cut 5 acres of grass. It would take at least a full day and a half, but I enjoyed the riding mower. After a few years, we saved enough money to start to make plans to build a church and hall which I would design.
Not wanting to make the mistakes of the past I designed a proper church and an adjacent social hall joined together by a large lobby which featured bathrooms gift shop and office. This way with the rainy weather in Florida being a certainty, you could walk from the church across the lobby to the social hall without leaving the building. (This concept was adapted later on by the bishop for all future parish to copy). It was better than the bingo hall/church combination that was prevalent at the time. I completed the plans for the church and were ready to break ground. We would not be able to start to build right away, but I thought showing plans and having a ground breaking would prove to the members that I was serious about this and that they should open up their hearts and wallets and pledge toward the building fund.
They did, and in another year the foundation was about to be poured. It was at that time that there were some Roman Catholics which joined the church one in particular who wanted to be the Cock of the Walk as it were. He was a blowhard who thought he knew everything and was going to boss me around. Well when I bossed him right back, he grew indignant. Kind of like Judas who after being disillusioned with Jesus as the bible says "looked for an opportunity to betray him..." Well, this guy did the same to me. So he sets up this elaborate plot to expose me as being gay. You know someone once told me that there are basically three things parishioners can accuse of namely stealing money, having a girlfriend or having a boyfriend. They were right and perhaps if I had a girlfriend it would have been more acceptable.
The irony was I had no boyfriend either only male friends instead of female friends which I saw as inappropriate as a celibate priest. Funny that even though people know you're celibate, they still see you as a sexual being. They fantasize about your having sex with this person or that rather than fantasize about you loving and doing God's work, and they judge you not by that but by your perceived sexuality.
So to make a long story short, I tried to help someone with their "sexual identity" and as it turned out they were a plant, a patsy, an agent of the devil sent by a God fearing blowhard to see if I would make sexual advances towards him. I didn't but it didn't matter. The word spread like wildfire, and when the bishop heard of it, he sends the Dean to the parish to interrogate me. No matter that the Dean was having an affair with his secretary unbeknownst to anyone. (He later left the church and got married) But before he left, he threw me under the proverbial bus then backed over me for good measure stating to the parishioners that they should be glad you got rid of "that kind of priest!" What kind of priest a celibate one who had male friends?
So I went home in the Fall of 1987, and on the way thought I could end all this by driving my BMW into a bridge abutment. That's how depressed and betrayed I felt, but just couldn't do it. I loved my BMW too much to wreck it!
Well from 1987 to 1997 ten years passed in which I returned to Florida settled in the Orlando area and got a job with an architectural firm working my way up to company president, bought a house and lived happily ever after until 1996. My dad suffered a stroke which left him unable to speak, and then was hospitalized. He died September 19, 1996. At the funeral, even though I was on extended leave, the bishop at the time attends the funeral for which I was grateful. As we brought out the casket at the back of the church, the bishop calls me over to speak. He asked me to come to the chancery office before I returned home. I agreed and visited him the next morning. It was then that he asked me to come back to the active ministry. He told me that he reviewed what transpired when I left and he found no fault in my actions and was sorry the situation was handled so poorly. He gave me a year to think about it. I said I would and left.
Well, as the year came to an end, I thought and prayed and then decided that I would return. He was happy I was coming back since priests were in short supply. I did tell him I wanted to remain in Florida since I owned a house there and also was working. He had no problem with my working since the parish he was to send me to was small and as he referred to it was a "weekend parish." Even though it was 125 miles South of Orlando in Fort Pierce, a town I never heard of, I took the assignment. In retrospect, I would come to regret that decision immensely because it would be the nail in the coffin that would end my ministry. 


ASSIGNMENT #5: SOUTH FLORIDA.... UBER CRAZIES KOOKS AND LOONS
Our parishes being Catholic but not Roman, attracted all sorts of people all for different reasons. You had the Latinizers who hated the new mass. You had the ones who thought it was still 1950 dressed like it and acted like it. You had the ones who became uber sanctimonious wanting to make up for their past lives of debauchery no doubt. You had the moms and dads who again like reformed debauchees or worse, parents vowing to not make the same mistakes their parents made bringing up their kids. You had the priest and priestess wannabes who second guessed every decision I made.
So I did not know which plurality of members would be down there nor did I realize the work that awaited me.
              When I got to the parish it was a dreary. They bought the building from a non denominational church of the hoot and hollering kind. TOP: Before BOTTOM: After

 How do I know that? The neighbors told me so.  And true to form it looked non denominational and nondescript.  As a student of architecture, especially in the housing sector, "curb appeal" is paramount. You won;t go in a house if you're turned off by the what you see from the curb. The church was no different. It looked like a church that no one cared about. Upon entering I suppressed my initial reaction holding my New Jersey "charm" within since I was with two of the members, who later turned out to be some of my detractors.  But it was for me a "what in the world?" moment. It just seemed depressing and from my experience in design, if a building looks depressing then it's inhabitants don't really care because, just as the outside appearance should impress, when you walk into a building you're supposed to be uplifted, especially when walking into a church. TOP: Before BOTTOM: After

This was not the case here. To me it looked like everyone cleaned out their attics collecting any old religious painting and placed them every which way on the walls. I always believed that we should give God our "first fruits" the best we have. These people gave God their second hand junk. They acquired pews from an old Roman Catholic church that were so long they stretched across the entire width of the church with no main center isle. So I joked, well, I can lay some 4x8 sheets of plywood over the center and have a fashion show-like runway! The two members with me did not laugh. And to top it off, most of the altar appointments were hand me downs from other parishes including the vestments.
The rectory which was a block away had a few sticks of furniture. Luckily since I just moved out of a three bedroom house in Orlando I was able to furnish it myself.
It was then I thought to myself what have I gotten myself into?  
The parish had no money not because the members were poor they were cheap. When I visited them during Christmas I could see that they all were pretty well off. The reason there was not much money was because many of its members were poor givers and remained so for my tenure there. Many members thought that 10 bucks a week would be sufficient. When you have an electric bill of $1500/mo, their measly $520 dollars a year wouldn't cut it. For many months during my tenure there I could not even draw a salary. But did they care? Of course not. And when I would complain that we can't make ends meet, they would complain about me saying "we don't come to church to be yelled at" and other crap like that. Hell, when they can't even pay for their very own priest not to mention the electric bill, it showed  as the Gospel says where their hearts were.  It was as if they all got together to plot plan and scheme to do nothing around the church, to aggravate and upset me so much that I would explode and let in to them only to have them take pleasure in my pain.
If you had kids, you can identify with them doing things to upset you so that you blow up and they laugh. These evildoers did the same thing. I told them to welcome strangers. They said why?
I told them to stop gossiping. They said go to hell. I told them they should come to church more. They shrugged and went on with their lives.
I told them we can't pay the electric bill and all the other bills and pay my salary. Then I passed the basket asking for another collection. I got one hundred dollars!
Yet, I always tried to make the best of it. I went in like gangbusters decorating, painting, beautifying, much of it with my own money over the 17 years I was there. I paid off the initial debt, put a dome on the church, landscaped, built a kitchen all in the hopes of bringing people to our church. But it was the toxic people that turned newcomers off. Sure they blamed me. They said I was the one who was toxic, never thinking that their lack of love enthusiasm, dedication, hard work, there leaving me to do everything brought me to despise them. I worked shoulder to shoulder with them, and I never asked anyone to do anything I was not willing to do myself. Fix the toilets? No problem. Wax the floors? Done! I lead by example, but their hatefulness washed over the good  as waves wash over a child's sand castle.  When I left, I believe they had the most beautiful little parish in the East coast. That was my sentence served 17 years. But it was a constant battle of good against evildoers one that I just could not fight any longer. After seventeen years, not only did nervous exhaustion take its toll on my physical health, but the hatefulness malice calumny not to mention slander and defamation of character that I experienced,  I now suffer PTSD Priest's Traumatic Stress Syndrome to this day.
Also to this day not one of those members had the compunction to apologized for the way they acted and ultimately for what they did that caused me to leave them. Not one wrote me a letter regretting how they treated me.
Immediately upon my departure not one organized a group to petition me to stay that they would change, that they would be better parishioners. It was if like priests were a dime a dozen and they could get rid of me and get another one right away.
Well they have been without a full time priest for two years now, and the parish has just been assigned a married priest with a family who will have to live in the dilapidated rectory filled with my furniture for which I was never reimbursed who will have to care for another parish down south Miami.
I doubt however that he will be waking up at 6AM to start to prep in the kitchen, then staying till 4 in the afternoon baking and cooking.
I doubt he'll be out on the grounds picking up garbage.
I doubt he'll be setting up for every holy day and holiday.
I doubt is he'll be fixing clogged toilets and leaky roofs.
The parish still owes me over $100K in back salary not to mention thousands of dollars in tolls gas and other expenses, furniture I left in the parish house since I arrived there in 1997. The bishop refuses to pay me saying it's the parish's responsibility yet  I was an employee of the Diocese as it states in my W2's from the government.  No matter, I intend to collect every penny and more even if I have to go to court to get it. Even Jesus said the worker deserved his wages.
They'll never have the kind of priest I was. A jackass really who worked harder than any parishioner there, who was more generous than any parishioner there, and who gave more to support the church than anyone there. So what happened to the trouble makers after I left?
Two, upon hearing of my departure, returned back to join their den of thieves.
The one who accused me of stealing from the church and that I was a fraud and a liar has since left and returned to the Roman church. The Prepper left months before returning to the Roman church probably ready to do a criminal background check on the priest there like he did to me.
Why is it that most Romans who join our church are certifiable?

EPILOGUE
So that was my priesthood.  Oh, there's other stories and experiences but too many to remember let alone put down on paper. Suffice it to say I never got a "plum parish" in my 35 years. Unlike other priests who got parishes in the Northeast flush with money saved by penny pinching old and now deceased Monsignors, I got the dregs of the diocese. All I saw those years while I was struggling to pay the electric bill or make a church presentable, were priests up in the once rich Northern parishes emptying parish savings accounts spending money on fancy icon screens, chalices, vestments, personal desks, and feathering their own living quarters. All this for churches that had 200 to 300 plus families, now down by more than half, celebrating mass in churches that could hold 300 people yet serve 40 or 50 on a typical Sunday.  One priest serving three parishes at once, like down in Florida where it's only a matter of time that those parishes close their doors due to no priests, no dedicated members, no soul and no faith. Yet the bishops, like our politicians do nothing. They think they know everything. They're not honest with their priests or their flock. After 35 years of ordination in service to the church the bishop has rejected any retirement compensation, and rejected any compensation of months and years of past salary never taken.
They say men are "called" to the priesthood by God. Maybe I should not have picked up the phone.

THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS HAS COME


Actually it's the clash of the CIVILIZED against the UNCIVILIZED.
Governments have failed their people. At least in the Middle Ages leaders could define good and evil and they wiped them out with great force. Our stupid leaders think that all the enemy needs today are jobs, and a house in the suburbs. They won't say it but this is World War III and we are losing.
Our leaders are allowing these Islamic religious savages free reign to destroy our way of life. Just think about life before the rise of Islam, and look at how we have to live today.
We wait in two hour lines to board a plane almost being stripped searched in the process. We're wanded going to a sports event Go to a major city and you have armed cops at every corner and venue. Our bags are searched attending the opera.
Not one Muslim leader or their followers denounce the atrocities because deep down in their hearts they know it furthers their insidious goal of destroying western civilization. The irony is that they are destroying us with our own inventions and genius. Name one thing, one good, one invention, one car brand even that has been produced by Muslims. I watch rich Saudis racing Porches, Lamborghini's, Jaguars, talking on i-Phones, using our computers, and other inventions created by Western Civilization. What the hell have they invented? 
Ironically, having produced nothing, having contributed nothing of value to the world, it's clear that our two cultures will never coexist.
They use our stuff to kill us, be it plane, train, automobile, a box cutter or truck. They are a people bankrupt and incapable of exporting anything but death and horror and we do nothing to expose their vapid culture build on the laws from a book filled with errors by an author filled with hate. If you point that out you're labeled as a bigot and intolerant. 
But there will come a time when we will have to face the fact that Islam and the Western Judaeo-Christian world will never reconcile. Instead, like a cancer Islam will destroy us from within. They will continue infiltrate Western countries populate them and slowly but inexorably change our way of life. Sharia law had already been introduced in European countries. Muslims block major thoroughfares throughout the continent to pray. Imagine if Christians or Jews did the same. They would be arrested for disturbing the peace, yet the authorities allow Muslims to break the peace with no ramifications.
And Gay people better watch out. They have a love everyone attitude and as commendable as that is, they must also realize that by their condemnation of democracy, capitalism and America in general, they give rise to the same people who would perpetrate a thousand Pulse Nightclub shootings if given the chance. They's have daily executions of gay people throwing off buildings for all to see. 
And you women who hate Trump, or guns, or any conservative  ideals. In Islam you are not even a second class citizen you're chattel to be bought and sold abused and covered up from head to toe. 
 Islam is succeeding in their goal of world domination and Obama and his elite ilk are allowing its citizens to take the hit yet denounce those who wish to protect themselves with a gun. They are the reason we live in fear today. They have failed us all.