Posted by: Joe of St. Thérèse | February 17, 2008

St. Lorenzo’s why I left the un-editied version.

Many people have asked me why I have active ministry at St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic Church in Walnut….The story behind it is quite long (well, not exactly long, but detailed)…Not to say that everyone there is horrible, as this is not what I’m saying, but the vast majority have done an injustice to me, and when it became inevitable that I wasn’t going to see the changes that I requested, I left because in good conscience I could not stay there.

My journey away from St. Lorenzo’s began when the 2nd YM left her position. This person happened to be a very good friend of mine. While not perfect she kept the conservatives (me, and 2 other people) there. She did a very good job of keeping things focused on the readings during the Liturgy which sufficed for me because I’d say the majority of the kids there did not know anything about the basics, so starting with the readings was a good thing. Something that she said was taken very much out of context and not understood, and that’s when everything started to change for the worse. They already put much pressure on her by forcing her to things that I know she didn’t agree with, this did not help manners….

The lack of structure after she left was the beginning of the end. Without any oversee from on high, the teachings started to get further and further away from the Catholic Faith…These by the so called youth leaders. I would very quietly point out when people were in error (I should have been more vocal probably). The fact that the pastor would allow this to go on was a very frustrating point with me….As a result of this, and my desire to teach, I decided that I could no longer sit back and do nothing about this that I would correct from within, by teaching Confirmation.

My mission during the summer was to get to know my material that I’d be teaching better than I already knew it. I knew that no book had the charism of infallibility, so I had to know the teachings of the Church, Church Councils, Doctors of the Church, writings of the Saints, etc as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church backwards and forwards sideways, I otherwise would not be living up to my baptism call. I then decided how I was going to teach the class was very academic, pass or fail, because many of them did not even know the basics, I know that I didn’t learn the basics during my catechesis at this Church. In otherwords traditional teaching style, memorize the doctrines of the Church. I figured this would be the best way as it’d be different then what they’re accustomed to. I noticed that from observing other classes that no catechesis was going on, but rather much more games and emotions rather than actual doctrine being taught. So I decided to do the opposite of what the others were doing. This lead to much persecution later on by people. Now there was a new program that was starting with the modules (that was not very successful). I was scheduled to teach Foundations of Catholicism and nothing else for the year. I taught my class for the 5 week period, which went without major problems (except for the All Saints’ Mass). Perhaps one of my biggest flaws is the fact that I’m a very nice person, and that I’m not concerned with myself, but rather the service of others before my own good. As a result, I ended up teaching the entire year. I’ll admit I didn’t put as much time and effort as I did into the research for my Foundations of Catholicism class, however; by no means was I doing anything heretical. I as a teacher like to prepare months in advance for classes, not weeks. I personally felt under prepared for the classes for the rest of the year (with respect to how I like to teach). Remember that I mentioned that teaching traditionally would lead to later persecution. Towards the halfway mark of the year, I noticed that others were coming into my class quite often, (I despise interruptions as a teacher). I took mental notes of this, but did not think anything too much of it. …There was a period when I didn’t teach in this time which was the beginning of the rest trying to take me down. My goal as a teacher was to make my personality independent of my classes, I thus tried to do things that would take the focus away from me, and put them on Jesus (I don’t think that I did a very good job of it last year anyway)…After the other teacher taught for this period…There was a comparison that went on by the students of me to the other teacher. Basically the whole individualism, “fun” ideal got to them by the other teacher…I noticed a total change in the students behavior after the other teacher taught. When I had no problems getting them to be focused on what I was saying, now it seemed impossible to keep them on task with what I asked of them…It got so bad that I basically asked of them what was going on, and my fears were answered. That they were comparing in their minds me to the other teacher….After reading all of there so called complaints (I call them so called complaints because of the fact that if it was regular school, these complaints would not be heard), I made a couple of minor adjustments, of course they ended up to no avail. As the change in the personality was going to take more work than 2 weeks could provide. ….I was a bit relieved at the end of the year. Just to have a chance to rest and re-charge and get ready for the next year. (I was also teaching physics so needless to say I was exhausted)…

Then, the pastor of the Church decides that we should all be certified by the archdiocese. (Heresy central). So of course me thinking, service, alright, why not, let’s do it. Of all the Catechists that taught Confirmation I WAS THE ONLY ONE THAT WAS THERE FOR THE TRAINING. I took a mental note of that, as this would be something I knew I wasn’t going to forget). So the training goes by, finished it, bearing with all the heresy’s (Vatican II changing the language of the Liturgy, women priests, etc). Then I had to go through more training for the Confirmation and Youth Ministry certification. Feeling re-energized I was ready to get started in another year of teaching. (Of course also during this time I was researching more on the Faith, and had that summer to get more conservative than I already was)….This is where it all begins, I get ready to go back for the catechists information night thingy or whatever you want to call it. I was then pulled aside at the end of it, after working extremely hard during the summer months to prepare everything for this years students, (since I already knew the book that we were going to use). And I was asked not to teach. This struck me as odd, so things started to add up for me all these mental notes started to click. When I asked them why, everyone beat around the point and tried to pull off something nice (which means the excuse was total bs), they said that there were not enough students (Found out later that to be a lie)….Then they said something about parents complaining. Which of course I can take. I wasn’t even given the chance to defend myself or whatever they were accusing me of (which to this day I don’t know, nor do I care to know…certainly better not be of heresy, as I made sure to stick by the book). I know that this is wrong. Whenever accusations are made against someone, the person accused should always have the chance to defend themselves. I was not given this opportunity and the scar from not being given an opportunity to defend myself is forever great in my heart…So I’m pretty angry at this point. From this point I went on defense, saying, what is wrong with all of you, why don’t I have the chance to defend myself, and you tell me this now, after I’ve done everything to prepare for the coming year. After I’ve worked so hard to finish all the certification. Knowing how I work, knowing that I don’t prepare things weeks in advance, but months in advance. (My class materials were done by June, I spent July-August matching my teachings to the various sections in the Catechism, and aligning the Saints that I wanted to cover on specific days)…Then I come to find out the real reason is because of the way that I ran my class, is why I wasn’t going to be back. (As I said, persecution was going to be there). There was a secret committee that met on me. They didn’t even have the respect of me to tell me of this so I could defend allegations made against me, as well as have the opportunity to explain my actions and why I did them the way that I did them. That should tell you something about the committee right there, as well as the community. I during this time made a couple of good friends in Fr. H, the associate pastor as well as one of the kids that I didn’t have that knew of my situation….Then to make matters a bit worse during the Masses I would see people snatching Jesus in the Eucharist, dropping the Host, sacrileges committed throughout. Few people genuflected where the Tabernacle was, people would just walk right past Jesus, that showed a laziness in Faith, which I could not stand. ..Not to mention several of the Liturgical Abuses that went on, the changing of the texts of the Mass, Mass for entertainment not for what its meant to be the worship of God…. Continuing on my fall with the RE staff, basically, because I was traditional, I was told not to come back (Liberals try to spin it in a different light)…I basically stood alone in this fight with a couple of others. Because I believed that Confirmation was the fulfillment of your baptismal graces and not fun for an hour and a half (CCC 1302, 03, 06)…I was told to go…And of course me not wanting heresy to be taught, on the first day of class noted that a teacher taught that you needed to be Confirmed to be married in the Church which is absolutely not true. I called him out on it then and there…He said that he was trying to keep kids in the Church. And I told him that you can not teach anything that’s wrong in Church manners, if you do that, you’ll lead yourself to teach heresy….In a separate meeting with the YM, she said that if something’s heretical and the kids understand it, it’s okay. Of course I in good conscience can’t let that be. There is no compromising of the Faith for any reason. The Truth is absolute, you either live by it, or you’re a Protestant. If you’re going to be Catholic, be Catholic. Then she said something about my blogs, and how they were mean. I basically said you chose to read them, I didn’t make you read them, they are open for anyone to read, but I did not force you or anyone else to read what I have to say. If you don’t like my opinions, that’s too bad. That was the tip of the iceberg for me, and I left looking for a new home.

Which I have found in St. Thérèse Catholic Church in Alhambra in November. Now friends don’t let friends lead souls to hell, so I occasionally go back to my old Church to make sure things are being done according to Church teaching (which they aren’t, and I call people out on it)…that Liturgical abuses stop (With Fr. H, Masses are clean). Every time that I go back there, I feel a genuine fake curiosity by some of the people there. You know how when people say hello, they’ll ask how you are. Well, of them I know 2 people in particular who really don’t care for me, and only do the nice person act for an attempt at hospitality. One of them being the head of this parish. Why do I make such allegations? They were the 2 that basically forced my hand out. They’re the ones that told me not to come back. They’re the ones that told me to go away. I took those words to heart and left. The only times I come back there are for spiritual direction from Fr. H (a very holy priest, solid and orthodox), and to give thank yous to a couple of people. (which reminds me I need to get their Confirmation presents), I’ll be buying a Mantilla for one of them I don’t know what I’m going to do for the other one….It has gotten to a point over there where the inmates run the asylum. I can only pray for the parish’s soul that it come back to Church teaching….This is why I left; this is why I had to go. This is why you don’t see me for those of you that go there.

I must say now that I’m at St. Thérèse, life is much better, I’m able to be free, my involvement with the Latin Mass has built up a vocation. I’m able to kneel for Communion without strange looks from everyone. I’m able to be myself there, which for that, I shall ever be thankful.

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