Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"It's all good..."

So, here's the low-down on the Church Job Drama. I haven't been able to write about this, since it's so upsetting, but it's been over a month, so.....

Back in February, our pastor was transferred to the position of Vicar-General in the Archdiocese (a pretty big promotion). He was at our parish for almost 12 years, and we loved him. He was the one who hired A as Music Director, he supported the music program at the parish immensely. It was sad to see him move on, and we were reassured that the former Vicar-General (who was now going to be pastor) was wonderful.

Well, he wasn't so wonderful. Within the next few months, we had a nickname for him-Monsignor Speedy Gonzalez, for his tendency to rush through the Mass (he had even got the Mass down to 38 minutes one Sunday-with music, and an organ prelude and postlude). He also didn't seem to be a "people person", which isn't a great thing for a man who, as a part of his profession, has to minister to others....hmmm.....

It all started with A's meeting with him. Monsignor Speedy stated that he didn't "do high church", and that he wanted to make changes to make it more "efficient". Then it was the change of not reading the names of the sick out during the Intercessions (they're now in a "Book of Intentions" located in the church). Then it was changes to the music-less organ, less Latin, more piano, less care in the congregational singing.

Needless to say, it was worse for A than for any one of us-he had to deal with him more. Finally, in November, he couldn't deal with it anymore-after 10 years, he handed in his resignation, effective the end of November. The assistant organist was hired as Interim Director, and everything went on as scheduled.

The new director is NOT a choral director-he's not even that great of an organist, to be honest-he plays waaay too quickly, has no sense of cadence, but he is a body available. The Carol Sing went on as scheduled, with "changes"; a lot of the music cut, a few things added in that were more than cheesy, and no rehearsal time. This guy can't conduct worth a hill of beans, and he rehearses not for the benefit of the choir, but so that he can play the accompaniment (which he can't do anyway!)-after a hasty run-thru, he declares it as "that's good" and moves quickly on. He's not even prepared, with the exception of the prelude and postlude.

He's not really a leader-kind of wishy washy-so other choir members have decided to take up the slack and be leaders. Which leads to the "too many cooks in the kitchen" syndrome that's typical anywhere. Not to mention the backbiting, people leaving the choir outright rather than stay, and the mere fact the Monsignor Speedy decided to address all of this mess at the Carol Sing dress rehearsal, one month after A left. He was even stupid enough to "open the floor for some questions", which was a BIG mistake-it was like opening Pandora's Box.

Monsignor Speedy is ignorant. He doesn't care ultimately about what happens-he could care less about music in general. He doesn't get how the music can set the tone and actually enhance the liturgy, and elevate people to a level of prayerfulness. This is a guy who keeps calling me "Jessica"-he's been there for almost a year, and SIGNS my PAYCHECK and still doesn't know my name. This is a man who talks and laughs with another priest while the celebrant is saying the Consecration, for crying out loud. By the way, when he was confronted with it by a parishioner, he told them not to "tell him how to be a pastor".......is this guy FOR REAL??

People are leaving left and right. Morale is shit. Camelot is over. Sean and I are so upset-this parish was like another branch of our family, and it was a wonderful place to be. Sean is leaving the choir after Sunday's mass, and I'm trying to hang in as long as I can, but it's so damn disheartening. We've been both grieving this loss-our faith has been shaken and both of us have been unable for weeks to pray (or even receive Communion), we've been so angry and sad.

Whenever we've been driving up to church for the past few weeks, we've been having to mentally prepare ourselves for rehearsals and Masses, so we can get through the ineptitude. So, Sean's been saying, "It's all good...." every time something goes wrong. Unfortunately, the meaning behind it has become more and more sarcastic as the weeks have gone on. It's our code word for the situation, which has become seriously FUBAR.

If it's "all good", then why do I feel like shit, then?

9 comments:

Susan said...

Is there anyone you can talk to about this? Possibly get together with other parish members and voice your concerns with someone? I understand about your church. Mine was like that and the same priest went crazy with his sermons and going on and on about donating money. People left because they didn't want to be lectured every time they went to church. Things are now different that he is retired. Sorry about your church.

S said...

I wish....the Parish Council started complaining, so he disbanded it and put all new people on it, of course they are people who will do what this guy wants. Unfortunately, it's a boy's club, and the only thing that the Archdiocese will listen to is if the donations drop off. The other sucky thing is that this guy isn't old, perhaps in his mid-to late-forties. It's just so sad and frustrating....

Anna said...

I am so sorry about this, S. It's heartbreaking when your Church is failing you. Is there another parish you can turn to? One that's a better fit for you and Sean and not too far away? It doesn't appear that things are going to change at yoru current parish. I'm sorry about all of this. I hope something works out for you guys!

Heather said...

That is horrible. It is amazing how one bad bean can ruin the pot...kinda going through that at my work right now too... But that is work, not my church. That has to be hard. I hope something changes soon.

Shelli said...

Oh Jessica, I'm so sorry honey.

;)

There are so many signs to find a new neighborhood and a new parish. I'm just so darn sorry for all of this insanity.

Shelli said...

What does the board have to say? Or is it run like a Synagogue, where the board hires the Rabbi? Probably not, huh?

Thalia said...

s it sounds awful, I'm so sorry. Really not what you needed. I hope you can find another church which is more your kind of place.

OHN said...

When we had a similar situation, we changed churches and actually faiths and it was a great change. They are human too but when you choose to live your life as a minister or any kind, you have to be good at that job since people are relying on you!

wanttobeamom said...

I'm really sorry you have to go through this with your parish! It is heart breaking to see your faith community fall apart and not be able to do anything about it. I know it's not a consolation now, but if people really are leaving collections will go down. Maybe that will get the Diocese's attention. I can't believe this guy was the vicar general! Bad liturgy really can tear down a person's faith. Do you think Fr. Speedy would be open to reading a book about the meaning of the liturgy? It is the source and summit of our faith... If you want some book ideas, let me know. I have an MDiv, so I have read a lot about the liturgy.

I really relate to the struggles you describe in your blog. I hope that things work out for you!

BTW, I tagged you for a meme. Hope you don't mind.