Yes, you read the headline correctly. In my book men of the cloth are just as prone to errors as we laypeople. And the Archbishop is guilty of an egregious lapse in judgment.
On Sunday (tomorrow) for the third week in a row the doors to the English language 10:00 AM Mass at St. Anthony’s in Milwaukee will be closed. There will be no Mass at the venerable church that has stood on the city’s south side since 1852. It’s the only parish I’ve ever been part of.
Posted on Facebook on April 28, 2021:
We want to inform you that starting immediately on Sunday May 2nd the 10:00a English Mass is cancelled for in person, until further notice. The 10am mass will only be broadcast online thru Facebook (St. Anthony & St. Hyacinth Parishes) htps:/ebok.o/anith We apologize for the inconvenience. God bless you!’
The quick backstory: Our pastor Hugo Londoño-Gallego has been a decent enough guy. Up to now I’ve had no issues with the young priest (10 years). He’s been pastor at St. Anthony’s for five years and during that time he just hasn’t warmed up to a lot of parishioners who are loyal and devoted, traveling from all parts inside and outside the city to attend Mass.
Apparently a handful of ignorant yahoos at the 10:00 Mass have, in no uncertain terms, expressed their rather evil desire for him to return home to Columbia. As I’ve mentioned before on this matter I’ve been an usher for 51 years at the same Mass. I hear all the gossip and there’s plenty. This accusation, which I don’t doubt is true, has escaped me. No one can finger the guilty parties.
Father Hugo has played the race card. He and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki have colluded to punish everyone at the 10:00 Mass for the despicable actions of a very few. When not enough folks were wearing masks to Mass several Sundays ago to suit Father Hugo, that also set him off. The day after the first Sunday Mass was denied Father Hugo fled to the airport for a month long vacation. I repeat: must be nice. Needless to say people are upset.
Here’s just one letter that was sent to Listecki:
May 12, 2021
Dear Archbishop Listecki,
Please open the doors for 10:00 AM Sunday Mass at St Anthony’s on 9th and Mitchell. For the last two Sundays the doors have been locked and we are being deprived of the only Sunday Mass for English speakers at St Anthony’s. When I began attending Mass at St Anthony’s over 20 years ago, we had four English Masses on the weekend. First the 5 o’clock Saturday English Mass was dropped. Next the 5 o’clock Sunday Mass disappeared and lastly the 8 o’clock morning Mass was gone.
The 10 AM Mass is the only Anglo Mass remaining.
Jesus gave us the Church and the Sacraments to lead us to everlasting life. We need all the help we can get. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of this virus is mania. The Mass is a gift from God; mask mandates are a contrivance from man. The Mass is essential; masks are not. Perhaps some of us fear this virus more than they love the Lord.
I have no fear of death, only of the Final Judgement and the state of my soul and those of my loved ones. I am confident the Lord will not judge us for not wearing a mask. He will judge us for not leading souls to Him. As a parent and grandparent my most important job is raising Godly children and grandchildren to conform to His will out of love for Him.
Perhaps have the mask-less on one side of the church and the masked on the other.
I have the equivalent of an entire year of income for a well-paid pathologist invested in renovating St Anthony’s. And while I may have no legal ownership rights, Justice demands that I and my family be able to attend Mass there on Sunday.
The pleas of St. Anthony’s faithful have fallen on deaf ears. For now, Listecki stands firmly in the corner of Father Hugo and appears to have taken a Pontius Pilate-like attitude toward this controversy. No sense of urgency whatsoever.
There continues be dialogue between church liaisons and the Archbishop’s office. Paraphrasing, here’s the current status:
1) The 10:00 AM Mass remains shut down.
2) Listecki wants everyone to be nicer to Father Hugo.
3) We are keep an eye and ear out for any racism towards Father Hugo and immediately move to stop it. Of course we would but again, I for one have not witnessed any such incidents.
4) Mask and social distancing restrictions remain in effect, when the Mass returns.
Meanwhile attendance which had been suffering during the pandemic will more than likely continue to slide. That means the collection baskets will be lighter. And supposedly educated Catholic leaders wonder why the pews aren’t overflowing.
Archdiocesan priorities seem mixed up.
So, yes, shame on Archbishop Listecki and Father Hugo. My opinion of both isn’t too high right now.
Would love to see a local TV news crew outside the doors Sunday morning with lots of frustrated parishioners denied entry. I’m told it’s the last thing the archbishop wants: negative publicity. He’s looking pretty bad.