Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photo by Schwartz,Michael ,Freelance,NYDN

About 100 people paused after Mass at St. Jerome's Church on Alexander Ave. on a recent Sunday morning to hold a rally. That's nothing new for this church; its pastor has always spoken out, organized protests, held marches and prayer vigils and hosted meetings to try to correct all manner of social ills.

But this gathering was different. For one thing, the Rev. John Grange wasn't there.

And for another, it was about him....

Many times such "rallys" are "all about him."

Is he one of those kinds of priests? It's hard for us to know, not knowing the man.

However, such priests are usually easy to spot. They routinely wear a multi-colored stole around their shoulders - outside the chasuble rather than on the inside as required. As soon as one sees a priest wearing one of these, it's probably best to steer clear of him. Too often, he's usually a dissenting priest on doctrinal or disciplinary matters. At least, that's been my experience - with zero exceptions to date. And, of course, I could be wrong, but decades of experience leads me to believe otherwise. I quickly lose respect for priests who ignore liturgical directives, even small matters like the wearing of the stole.

The parishioners were drumming up support to keep Grange at St. Jerome's, where he has served for 30 years, and has become an iconic figure in the Mexican immigrant community.

Way, way too long for a parish assignment - no wonder there are problems. Who is responsible for the troubles? Looks like the bishops who let priests stay in one place for decades - Just look at the Rev. Michael Pfleger.

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