Meeting Of April 3rd, 2002
In Attendance: Deacons Dean C. Bulpett, Daniel F. Crimmins, Joseph L. Delaney, Leo J. Donoghue, Herbert C. Hanson, Philip P. Hardcastle, Francis A. Mandosa, John R. Menz, Jr., Joseph M. Messina, Gerald P. Ryan, Alfred E. Santosuosso, John E. Whipple
1. Deacon Donoghue opened the meeting with a prayer.
2. A name and address list of deacon widows was distributed to those in attendance.
3. Deacon Donoghue requested reports from the committees on goals and objectives.
n Deacons Messina and Menz spoke about a meeting in the Southern region with Bishop Malone scheduled for April 19th. Father Michael J. Kearney from Quincy will be the keynote speaker. All deacon widows from the region are being invited.
n Deacon Messina continues to have meetings regarding the “Stephen Fund.” This is a fund aimed at assisting deacons in crisis. Deacon Messina has met with Dave Smith from the Chancery who has expressed his support, and indicated that he sees no obstacles. Next steps include: (1) creating the necessary documents and getting them approved by the Chancery, and (2) raising funds.
4. There was general conversation about what the regional representatives were hearing from their regions pre and post convocation.
n Deacon Bulpett reported that deacons in his region are somewhat sensitive to the issues. Many are purposefully avoiding one-on-one situations.
n Deacon Santosuosso is personally being more careful. He told a story of a young lady who needed a ride to the convocation and told him that she would understand if he didn’t want to be alone with her in the car.
n Deacon Hanson reported that in his experience, priests are angry.
n Deacon Hanson teaches 9th grade and the children are hearing nothing but negative things concerning the issue of molestation by priests. He wonders what we can do to counter this.
n Deacon Wildes talked with a priest in Florida and concludes we need to reach out to priests with support; they are hurt but have self confidence. Deacon Wildes says many people want to talk about the issues and they’re more willing to talk with us as deacons. We need to be open to this ministry.
n Deacon Crimmins noted we need to be cheerleaders for our priests. In his parish, about twenty people held a surprise “affirmation party” for their priest who was deeply touched by this gesture.
n Deacon Whipple said the “emotional” side is drowning out the “rational” side. We can and should support the rational without denying the emotional. He noted a supportive article published by the Globe which helped diffuse the theory that we did nothing but “coverup.”
n Deacon Santosuosso...we need to listen to our priests...they need a sympathetic ear.
n Deacon Wildes...how can we grow from all this...this is a social sin - it effects society and how we live...people don’t see the rational side, only the emotional.
n Deacon Crimmins...people need to vent, and we need to listen.
n Deacon Donoghue...we need to affirm our priests and be present to them to help them sort it all out.
n Deacon Delaney...his pastor faced the problem early and set up meetings for anyone to come and discuss - 80 people showed up...the pastor consolidated all the remarks and sent them on to the Cardinal which satisfied the people...people were pleased with the “Promise For Tomorrow” letter which stated none of the money would be used for lawsuits, etc.
5. Deacon Donoghue reported on the meeting with the deacons and the Cardinal. There were mixed reviews.
6. Deacon Wildes noted we can’t wait to be trained in the issues surrounding child molestation. The people aren’t waiting; we need to be pastoral, non-judgmental and compassionate.
7. Deacon Ryan reported on the subcommittee to promote the role of deacons, and for deacons to be more of a diaconal presence to the bishops. Deacons are underused and misunderstood. They have suggested to Bishop Malone that he meet with the deacons to discuss how deacons can be better utilized. Deacon Ryan suggests all regions do the same.
8. Deacon Ryan asked the council if his committee should go forward with plans to contact BCTV and the Globe to apprise them of deacons and what they do. His committee, which includes Deacons Hickey and Delaney, are working on a document highlighting the role of deacons which will hopefully clarify any misunderstandings. Deacon Donoghue asked for a written proposal for his review. He also expressed that he was generally favorable to the idea.
9. Deacon Wildes noted that we need consistency across the archdiocese so people can clearly understand what deacons do. Perhaps the Cardinal could issue a document to this effect to the priests as well, identifying deacons with priests as “brother clergy”.
10. Deacon Messina asked: as a body, is there anything we should do re: the sexual abuse issue. Meeting with the bishops is one thing; utilizing more of our talents is another; affirming priests in our own ministerial circles is another; supporting our bishops at all upcoming functions is another.
11. Deacon Whipple suggested we write letters of clarification to publishers who don’t understand the truth of whats happened, i.e. we should counter the misinformation when we see it. He spoke of his personal success with the Wall Street Journal in this regard.
12. Deacon Messina noted that we are very concerned for those who are abused; we need to recognize the marginalized - we need to seek them out and support them.
13. Deacon Santosuosso noted that no matter how cautious we are, we’re all being slightly hazardous, in some cases, we may be running scared.
Next Meeting: June 5th, 2002 @ 7:00 p.m. (please note new start time)
Deacon Francis A. Mandosa