Monday, February 16, 2009

The "Pastor's Special Fund"

Holy Cross is still some $8,200 short of its 2008-09 CMA assessment.  Some folks who feel that they can no longer support the CMA have made extra donations to the parish that cover about a quarter of that shortfall.  Now Fr. Wheeland is asking other parishioners to do the same.

From the Holy Cross bulletin:

Our CMA Goal is $70,916 and we have pledges in the amount of $62,703 so far. We also have $2,100 that has been given to us in place of donating to the CMA. Therefore, we as a Parish must come up with $6,113 to make our goal. So if you haven’t made a pledge, we urge you to do so this month. (You can make your pledge online at You have until May 2009 to pay your pledge.)

Pastor’s Special Fund

If you have already pledged or do not wish to pledge to the CMA, we ask you to help make up our shortfall by putting an offering in an envelope and marking it “Pastor’s Special Fund”. I will use that money to help cover the difference between our goal and what has been pledged to the CMA for this year. If there is any money left over, it will stay in our Parish. Please include your name and address so we can give you credit for your gift to the Parish.

Our desire was to end the CMA appeal by December but we were not able to do that. As of February 28, we will end our reach out and live with what is collected by June and then make up the difference.

Thank you for your generous response.


curiouscatholic said...

So what's wrong with this?

Anonymous said...

"So what's wrong with this?"


~Dr. K

curiouscatholic said...

I commented "so what's wrong with this?" because so many times the posts on this blog are so negative... I was just wondering if folks had a problem with Fr. Wheeland, in my opinion, one of the truly great and holy priests of the DOR, dealing with the CMA shortage @ Holy Cross in this manner. I, for one, do not! I think Fr. Wheeland is doing the very best he can with the situation.

Mike said...

curiouscatholic said, "So what's wrong with this?"

Absolutely nothing!

Fr. Wheeland is being a realist and doing what he has to do to save his parish some money. He is confronting substantial anger in his parish over the way the diocese handled the 2008 school closings and is providing his parishioners with what amounts to a way to support the CMA disguised as support for the parish.

I, too, believe he's doing a great job.

curiouscatholic said...

Thanks for your comments Mike. I guess I still new enough at this blogging thing... I responded to a post on a different blog... with what I believe to be very balanced views... simply calling for a little more civility and less name calling etc etc with regards to Diocesan leadership... and my comments were abruptly deleted and I was accused of being someone I never want to be associated with.

I thank you for your support of this wonderful priest... and for doing your best to be balanced in your posts. As I mentioned in the post that was deleted on another site... we can disagree vehemently with someone... but are still called to be respectful of their position... whether it be President, Bishop, Vicar General, Mayor, Governor, City Councilperson, Pastor... or what have you...
Blessings to you and all who read/respond to this blog

Mike said...


All opinions are welcome here, just as long as we are respectful of each other.

Theatrics and histrionics create a lot more heat than light. They are incapable of convincing anyone, swaying an opinion or deciding an argument.

Facts and logical arguments, however, can.

I will be the first to admit that I am critical - often highly critical - of some of our diocesan leadership. However, I try to make sure my criticism is based on facts, whether those facts are found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican documents, diocesan data available on, statistics from other dioceses, U.S. Census Bureau data, reports from reliable observers, etc., etc.

The CCC, quoting Canon Law, tells us, "In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (#907)

Anonymous said...


~Dr. K

Anonymous said...

I wish our priest would be a realist. He won't even acknowledge the feelings in our parish toward the CMA and our bishop. He long ago took the position of "it is what it is, now grow up".
He makes no secret of the fact that he cannot wait until he can retire and get away from all of us irritating parishioners. The feeling is becoming increasingly mutual.
His attitude is not helping our parish recover from the severe blow of losing our school. We are even farther away from our goal than Holy Cross. It's not surprising since we didn't come close last year and they increased our tax $12,000 this year.
I wish we had a Father Wheeland!

Mike said...


Do you know if your weekend Mass attendance is down since your school was closed and, if so, by how much?

I ask because Fr. Wheeland, his staff and many committed parishioners are holding many special activities in an effort to keep our parish family together, even without a school.

It seems to be paying off, as our official 2008 Average October Attendance number was down by 7.2% from last year, while our EG/C PPNM Planning Group as a whole was down 8.7%

(Interestingly, Our Mother of Sorrows, the member of our Planning Group which got to keep its school, was down 8.5%. I don't know what to make of that.)

FWIW, DOR as a whole had been declining some 3.5 to 4.0% per year every year from 2000 through 2007. In the past the diocesan-wide numbers had always been available in early January. This year they still aren't available and it's now mid-February. I wonder what that could mean?

Nerina said...


You are absolutely correct that an attitude of charity should be demonstrated by everyone. You have to remember, though, that many people are simply frustrated. And speaking as someone who is frustrated, I sometimes fail in my attempts to be charitable in all things. I work constantly to correct this deficiency. Name calling, etc...isn't effective in presenting a person's point and I don't think I've ever resorted to such tactics, but like Mike, I will criticize actions if appropriate.

Our diocese is in serious trouble. I object strongly to the coercive nature of the annual CMA (which I've stated before is really a tax dressed up as an appeal). I appreciate Fr. Wheeland's honest approach in trying to recoup the shortfall. At least his parishioners know what is going on with the CMA. No one in my church realizes that a church that doesn't meet its goal is required to make up the difference out of collections. This is not right.

Anyway, thanks for listening. And be thankful that Fr. Wheeland is your priest.

Anonymous said...

"Do you know if your weekend Mass attendance is down since your school was closed and, if so, by how much?"

Our Mass attendance is down, but the numbers can not be blamed on the school closing alone. Over the summer months our parish sees an attendance drop, during which they drop a Mass. This year, our pastor decided we would not add back the Mass that is cut during the summer. As a result, it is not unusual for families to be split apart during Mass because there is no room. Obviously, this is not acceptable to many. They are finding other churches to attend Mass where they can sit together and not have to be packed in like sardines. Since their children no longer attend the parish school, there is nothing to hold them here.
Of course, our priest thinks we're all being unreasonable, and has stated that it is a directive from the diocese and our bishop that we reduce the number of Masses.

Mike said...

"[O]ur priest ... has stated that it is a directive from the diocese and our bishop that we reduce the number of Masses."

I have heard something similar from 2 parishioners at Our Mother of Sorrows. Fr. Bradshaw is polling his parishioners regarding which of their 4 weekend Masses the parish should drop, in the "hypothetical" event they are told they must.

curiouscatholic said...


Fr. Wheeland is not my priest... but is a long time friend.

gretchen said...

At a meeting, our pastor (of a church in the east Greece/Charlotte planning area) said that when he does his marriage prep. classes and baptism classes, he always asks the couple if they attend Mass regularly. He said that many say that they do - they attend every six weeks or so. My husband was appalled. (My smart-@$$ response was, "Every six weeks is mathematically regular...")

Numbers are down in the pews. Maybe we need reminders from the ambo (for at least seven weeks in a row) that regular Mass attendance means EVERY week!

As for the dearth of summer attendees, what about adding a Sunday night Mass? At our church in Raleigh, NC, we had a 7pm Sunday night Mass during the summer for many years. It was great for everyone returning from their weekend at the beach. At some point we got a new pastor and he switched it to a permanent, year-round 5:30pm Sunday night Mass (in addition to all the other Masses).

Mike said...


EG/C will not be adding any Masses. Just the opposite, they have received orders from the bishop to CUT one Mass.

I was just re-reading the bishop's most recent letter to the group and the following jumped out at me (I don't know why it didn't register before):

"As the Diocese of Rochester continues to respond to a declining number of priests and given the significant decline in Mass attendance within your planning group over the last several years, six priests will be available to serve within your parishes until 2014 ...

"You will need to develop a weekend Mass schedule consistent with six priests serving your parishes. While a change in Mass times is difficult for people, you may find that with fewer Masses each weekend, there could potentially be even more vibrant liturgies with fuller participation by the congregation."

Six priests translates to 18 Masses. What goes totally unmentioned - and what had eluded me until now - is the fact that the parishes of EG/C currently celebrate 19 weekend Masses.

Therefore, one Mass has to go!

FWIW, cutting Masses in DOR has never, to the best of my knowledge, resulted in "more vibrant liturgies with fuller participation by the congregation." The only measurable result has been a decrease in overall weekend attendance.

Anonymous said...

"more vibrant liturgies with fuller participation by the congregation."

Bishop Clark said that would happen to the Cathedral community, now they have less people coming than ever.

~Dr. K

Mike said...


I have to amend what I wrote above. I mis-counted when I said that EG/C currently celebrates 19 weekend Masses. The correct number is 21.

That means that the 6 parishes of EG/C will have to collectively cut 3 Masses!

The next Planning Group meeting is Tuesday (2/24). A member of the group told me this morning that Mass reductions were on the agenda and that he expected that fur would be flying before it was all over.

gretchen said...

ARGH! They've got it all backwards here! Instead of cutting and running (and closing churches and schools), the bishop needs to be building up the church.

OT, we were in Raleigh last week and attended Mass at our old parish on Saturday night. They have a new pastor who gave a homily on sin. It was awesome! Since the new bishop in Raleigh arrived (Aug. 2006), tradition is thriving.

Is it a sin to pray that our bishop decides that an early retirement in Florida would be nice???

Mike said...


There's a scene in Fiddler on the Roof where a man asks his rabbi if there is a proper blessing for the czar.

"Yes, there is," replies the rabbi. "May the Lord bless the czar and keep him ... far, far away from us."

Sounds pretty good to me.

gretchen said...

Mike, I like that blessing!