St. Mary & St. Joseph, Newton Falls, OH

Here’s another in my series of reviews of churches. It’s one that arguably I shouldn’t write. But the truth must be told.

This was one of the most bizarre Catholic worship experiences of my life. What the HELL (and I use the word advisedly) is going on in this parish?

I got lost getting there, and arrived during the “gathering hymn” (Gathered as One), so I didn’t have a bulletin.  Architecturally, it’s a nice traditional church, with slightly updated interior decoration. We did the spoken Kyrie option, and then…no Gloria. Hmmm, didn’t know that O17 was a penitential season. Then came the Psalm, and lo, it wasn’t what was listed in the Small Weapon of Mass Destruction (aka missalette), but it was there under O14 (same tune but with altered rhythm). Now I don’t know for a fact that this is illicit; there might be seasonal psalms like the seasonal propers. It’s lazy, certainly; responsorial psalms are easy enough to put together. [ UPDATE : it was, indeed, a seasonal Psalm and hence licit.]

Then on to the Homily. It turned out this was a very special day, being the farewell mass of Fr. Matthew Mankowski. So there was nothing at all about the texts of the day in the Homily, which was his farewell address. OK, fine, you don’t leave a parish every day; we can let the lack of catechesis slide. But there was recorded background music to the homily! I couldn’t make out the words at that volume, but it was a trained male and female singer with orchestra, in a style reminiscent of 50s movie musicals, and it looped several times. Fr. thanked everyone who needed thanking, and praised their accomplishments together…feelgood stuff. About 2/3 through, there was an abrupt change in tone. He said that he could be bitter about what happened, then cited Matthew 10:14-15 while stamping his feet.  Apparently, he’d been driven out of there. There were other remarks which seemed to express regrets that he’d focused on the physical plant and externals of parish life to the detriment of souls.

Then on into the intercessions, no Credo. Offertory: “Prayer of St. Francis” by a vocal duo (no point of contact with “Exaltabo te”, which would have been appropriate, considering). Communion was a choir “anthem” ( i.e., song). All of the music was “eccleasy listening” style, with only the opening and closing hymns (We are called) accompanied (loudly and with inappropriate style and foot-twitching on the expression pedal) by organ, the rest on piano. The choir, by the standards of OF parishes in the Diocese of Youngstown, actually sounded decent. Distribution of communion was efficient (should it be?). Then, after  Communion, Father sat there while they had more recorded music…it was a feature, not just to cover sacramental cleanup.

So, OK, apparently there are some toxic goings-on here, and we should pray for the parish, for Fr. Mankowski, and for whoever follows him. I don’t know the whole story; maybe my neighbor who sings in the choir can fill in the details. I don’t know whether this approach to the liturgy was Father’s idea (in which case maybe he should have been drummed out) or, as seems more likely, the inmates took over the asylum and he tried to stop it. At any rate, here are the violations of liturgical norms (not counting things like “not even pretending that the bologna of the 4 hymn sandwich has anything to do with the Proper texts”, which ARE norms here in the US, albeit aberrant norms):

Omission of Ordinary texts (2 counts)

Substitution of Psalm texts

Use of recorded music in church (2 counts)

If I were the incoming pastor here’s what I’d do: give the organist copies of Sacrosanctum concilium and Musicam Sacram and set a meeting to discuss how he would implement them, disband the liturgy committee, and sell the piano to feed the poor. I’d point out that since we’re not doing the FCAP thing where the Propers should be, maybe we should have real Propers, and that they don’t necessarily have to be in English. That superabundance of women singers would make a dandy women’s schola. And if we’re doing something extra, like a big homily, maybe Mass doesn’t let out at noon sharp like some public school class.  And Bishop Murry, could you keep an eye on these guys? They need some healing…and some supervision.

37 Responses to St. Mary & St. Joseph, Newton Falls, OH

  1. Frank La Rocca says:

    “eccleasy listening” — good one, Jeffrey.

  2. jeffreyquick says:

    Not mine…Jeffrey Tucker used it a couple of times on the CMAA forum, then had an attack of Christian charity or something.

  3. There’s this webpage, although I don’t see anything particularly illuminating there
    http://raider.mountunion.edu/~zwilliml/sj/church/mankowski.html

  4. Jeffrey Quick says:

    That’s the guy. Nice to see mention of Fr, Leo there too….he’s a good guy.

  5. Unknown says:

    Maybe they should think about re-opening the school since Fr. Matthew is gone. It’s the best thing that town has to offer children. It was a shame HE let it close.

  6. Unknown says:

    FIRST of all, I hate/looove father matthew.</3 end of story. but, we shouldn't be so hard on the poor MAN. He didn't CLOSE the school anyway, so? It was the BISHOP. Srry I just like to capitalize the important things. I hate him, and I love him. Father Matthew is my man, and I need him in my life! Kk? kk… I know, I know. He hates me to death, and I hate/looove him like crazy. And trust me, you will understand why I hate/looove him later. K? k. Done… SOrRy I just had to post this on the…Internet! And btw, I'm sooooo bipolar!

  7. no need says:

    obviously matthew (he was never a FATHER to our church) was not there keeping the parish as a hole he separated it. He also did not show care for the school and as someone who spent 10 years in that school it was so sad to see the LEADER of the parish not put 110 percent behind the school. He claimed low enrollment had been going on for awhile which of course was a lie thats what that man is good at. He had his few followers at that church and I can honestly say thank the Lord he is gone, we do not need that kind of posion in our church! His escape route was to leave the church because in some deep part of himself he knows the aid and choices he made that started the end of the catholic school was wrong. I hope he can’t sleep at night knowing he helped put a stop to many future generations growing up and experiencing a closeness with their religion. Case and Point how I know he did not (excuse me) give a shit about OUR school was he put a stop to the mime something so moving and religious you think a man of God would support…obviously he is not a man of God. Alls I can say is let the healing begin!!

  8. Jeffrey Quick says:

    There are obviously some passions here. FACTS are very welcome on this page. But please remember that you are Christians speaking of a fellow Christian. If it gets too wound up, I’m going to have to close comments.

    If enrollments in the school dropped under Mankowski (as you imply), what did he do to the curriculum to cause this? He “put a stop to the MIME?” THAT is why people stopped sending?? Ultimately, if we don’t support Catholic institutions, they will go away. You (plural, “y’all) are the Church, and y’all are responsible for the school, just as ultimately y’all are responsible for the liturgical abuses that went on there.

  9. no name needed says:

    I love reading how mean spirited these so called Catholics can be. This man is a priest that is lead in his days by God, he makes his decisions based on the answers and guidance given to him by God. Yet so many people feel that they know better than a priest what was best for this school or church. So many people want to forget that there was a principal at this school for 25 years that made numerous bad choices that led to the closing of the school. This priest came in at a time where he tried desperately to save the school but found it too far gone due to this principal. Maybe you all should take time to re focus and start praying for yourselves. You can not have hate in your heart for any of God’s children and I would assume having hate in your heart for a priest could be considered even worse. You are not going to fix any of this by spreading hate, start showing love for each other and remember that everyone played a part in this not just Father Matthew.

  10. not given says:

    The thing that some people don’t know about what happened to this school and church is that there was a very specific group of women that like to call themselves Catholic that played a huge part in the destruction of this school. This school was once a beautiful place filled with God that was turned upside down by a group of women that cared more about being #1 and right then following in God’s plan for them. This group of mean spirited moms that to this day love to say they only had the best interest of the school in mind took fund raisers and turned them into wrestling matches. The amount of hatred that was shown from this group was disgusting to say the least. It became mean girls truly like the movie and if you weren’t part of the cool crowd then you better watch your back. It was pathetic to see a group of grown women get together and try to act Holy only to know that if you were the one to get up from the table at a meeting, you would be the target of their venom. People need to understand that due to this group of women with the help of the then principal, this was the start of the demise of this school and not due to Father Matthew. Many of you might not be aware of what truly went on behind closed doors but I can tell you that when you take a group of mean spirited women that care more about looking good to others, add a principal that lost her way set by God, you end up with a school that did lose many in their enrollment, including the kids of these moms. You also end up with a place that no longer is filled with God but rather with personal agendas and egos and this is what caused this school to close.

  11. Jeffrey Quick says:

    Very interesting information, but also interesting that nobody has interacted with my own points. Are those same women designing liturgies?

    This is from De musica sacra et sacra liturgia, Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy, Sacred Congregation for Rites – September 3, 1958:

    “71. The use of automatic instruments and machines, such as the automatic organ, phonograph, radio, tape or wire recorders, and other similar machines, is absolutely forbidden in liturgical functions and private devotions, whether they are held inside or outside the church, even if these machines be used only to transmit sermons or sacred music, or to substitute for the singing of the choir or faithful, or even just to support it.”

    GIRM 53. “The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text. The Gloria is intoned by the priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by all together or by two parts of the congregation responding one to the other.

    It is sung or said on Sundays outside the Seasons of Advent and Lent, on solemnities and feasts, and at special celebrations of a more solemn character.”

    GIRM # 68. “The Creed is to be sung or said by the priest together with the people on Sundays and Solemnities. ”

    There’s not much wiggle room there; “it is to be sung or said.”

  12. Cecilia says:

    I thought this was a commentary on liturgy and yet there are comments here that have nothing to do with that topic. Perhaps they SHOULD be removed so the integrity of this blog can be maintained. Those making comments concerning the former principal should be aware that slander is against the law unless they can prove what they are saying. The facts are that budget reports were filed in the Diocese that outline the viability of the school, which remained in the BLACK until after the principal’s resignation. Enrollment reports also on file further illustrate that the enrollment of the school was at its highest point ever since before 1970’s and remained consistent throughout her tenure. Those are facts that can be substantiated. All other comments to the contrary are speculations and rumors which were created to justify the closing of the school. No doubt that the school suffered a severe financial set back after the principal’s resignation when some 60 students left the school and enrollment dropped. With the lose of 50 students per year after that…it is understandable that the school was financially unable to continue to be viable. As far as the comments on liturgy, which was the purpose of the blog, I would like to say that for someone walking in cold, with no prior knowledge of any situations in the parish, most of the comments were right on!

  13. Jeffrey Quick says:

    “The purpose of the blog” is “whatever I want it to be”, but I do call it “a chronicle of the Endarkenment”. Liturgy has been a major concern of late, but that’s because I haven’t settled into a church (have a job waiting in the fall) and am wandering around trying to understand this Ordinary Form Catholic thing. As a convert (Lutheran, Wiccan, Anglo-Catholic, RC, in that order) with a strong background in the Latin Mass, I’m sort of Rip Van Winkle, living the Church of the 60s all over again.

    The info on the Newton Falls church has been useful. Certainly sometimes sheep attack; power issues are always a danger. And sometimes we expect that our priests can fix everything, flying in like Superman with a shoulder cape. If people want to be jerks, well, that’s the Endarkenment, and they’re Exhibit A, but when Exhibit B becomes “See, the church sucks”, then I’ll have to step in. My blog, my judgment call.

  14. Concerned Parishioner says:

    I have recently caught wind of some very disturbing news. A friend of my daughter told her that… (innuendo excised by the blogmaster)

    Sorry, Concerned Parishoner, but I think you have bigger things to be concerned about…the 8th commandment, for one.
    I am not “censoring” you. As a libertarian, I support everyone’s right to sin (and reap the consequences). But if I were to allow this post to remain, I would be enabling your sin, which would make me guilty of the same sin.

    I also have driven by the church a lot, as I pass it on my way home from work around 9:00pm, and have seen Joseph’s Cadillac parked outside.

    Organists frequently practice and rehearse off-hours. I was at such a rehearsal until 9:15, with the organist’s car parked outside, and I assure you that the only untoward thing happening was bad choral intonation.

  15. fed-up says:

    He’s at our church now… I don’t want to just jump over to a different parish and let him win, but it not fair how he is interfering with people’s ability to worship in peace. This man (and I use the term lightly) is clearly out for money and power. We don’t want him to ruin what our families have worked so hard to build! Oh, and what’s up with the one post about the person that’s in love with him? Is that post for real? It said we would all find out the truth someday, we are all still waiting!

  16. jeffreyquick says:

    What do you mean by “money and power”? If that’s what’s motivating him, he’s in the wrong profession, for sure. And you mention “worship in peace”? What changes has he brought to the liturgy? Does he Say the Black and Do the Red? I’m just trying to figure out why the people who are inspired to post here can’t marshall facts. We as Catholics believe in objective Truth; could we have a little here?

  17. fed-up says:

    Well, let’s see if I can get the ball rolling. I am not as well educated in liturgy and Catholic doctrine, but I have been brought up in the church, and feel I have a good understanding of right and wrong. So excuse me if I do not use the correct terms for everything.

    First you need to know that for the last 18 years St. Ann’s has not had a full time priest of our own and therefore has been run by committee. We have also been very successful too. One day he made and “announcement” at church that he has taking it upon himself to abolish church council, and the finance committee. This was done without even talking to anyone from ether group. These were some of the strongest pillars in our community! To this day he has not even acknowledged there years of service and hard work. They were not even given as much as a thank you. Now, had it been me, I would have sat down with these groups and explained my plans for the future, and why I needed to make the changes and thank them for all of the work they had done. This would have made them supporters of his ideas and not get on his bad side!

    Also, He has been here for a year now and he doesn’t know the first thing about me or my family! He shakes my hand at the end of mass and then runs out of church. I’m not the only one that has noticed this. I have spoken to many others at my church and at our combined church who have said this same thing. We would have thought by now after a year he would have found some time to meet us.

    We know why this is, he doesn’t come to events at the church. If he does come, he doesn’t stay. Today we had a combined picnic with our sister parish and he was only there for 20 minutes!!! Come on!! Where else do you have to be if everyone is at the picnic? I was not the only one that noticed this, there were a lot of fellow parishioners that were not happy about his. We also have donuts every month in the winter on Sunday, and we are lucky if he even comes down to get a donut. I have asked people from the other parish what he does to keep so busy there, and they look at me funny and say they don’t know what I’m talking about.. Then they said they thought he was always at our church because he is never at their church!

    I would like to hear from people at Newton Falls. What was he like there? Did it seem like he was snobby? He now has a chauffeur to drive him around in his big black expensive SUV. Was he next to impossible to get a hold of? No one is allowed to have his phone number, I liken it to getting a hold of the Pope. One last thing I will say about this guy. I am a firm believer that as a priest, you are representing our church when you are out in public. This being said, on more than one occasion I have seen him out seated at a bar drinking. He was wearing what looked like tattered shorts, an old tee-shirt and flip flops. This is not how I have ever seen another priest represent a Catholic church. Now, if he was at the beach, or camping it would have been a different story.

    So Newton Falls, does this sound like the Father Matt you had?

    I could go on and on, and maybe I will as the post come in.

  18. fed-up says:

    I have a new question. At mass today Father went on again to rant about this “discovery”. One of the parishioners took it upon themselves to record the audio as evidence and after the mass he was confronted by Father. He was told that no recordings were authorized, and that if he happens again he would call the police. Is it legal to record in mass? Calling the police is not how any issue should be handled in our church. Thank you for your help.

  19. jeffreyquick says:

    OK, short form of what you’re saying: Apparently Fr. Mankowski could use improvement in his people skills. That’s what some say about the Bishop of Cleveland, too, so he’s in good company. He could have been more collegial about council and committee, but forms of governance appropriate for a church without a pastor may not be appropriate for those with one. The Church is not a democracy; it’s an army with Christ the King at its head.

    As a former horndog, I’m well aware of what priests have renounced. And anyone who can turn bread into the Body of Christ has a class of power I can’t touch. My policy is to give priests the benefit of the doubt; it’s not like we have a ton of them. After 18 years of waiting, it’s a disappointment that you didn’t get St. John Vianney…whom perhaps you should ask to intercede with God to give Fr. Mankowski all the graces he needs to be a real success.

    As for dress, I think priests should be wearing the Roman collar any time they’re wearing a shirt, just like I wear the symbol of MY vocation (my wedding ring) 24/7. Given that I’ve sometimes seen people attend Mass in ” tattered shorts, an old tee-shirt and flip flops”, I can understand him thinking that’s appropriate attire to go to the bar in.

    Is he saying what’s in the missal? Is he preaching substantive homilies? Is he readily available for confessions, and for other pastoral care? Are the finances working? Has he avoided scandal? If so, he’s doing his job, and you should cut him some slack. Besides, most Catholics DON’T want their priest to do his job, because they might have to,you know, CHANGE.

    Here’s an example of a priest doing his job, from this morning’s bulletin. It’s strong medicine. “I wish to thank all who helped in making the annual rummage sale a reality again. However, I regret to inform the Parish that this will be the last one. The reason is that some very sinful clothes were donated (by parishioners — which is a very disturbing fact in and of itself) and the organizer of the rummage sale was unwilling and/or unable to remove these clothes from being sold. They were removed by myself. If any parishioner wishes to see a sample of these sinful clothes, they may do so in the Parish Office. The Parish’s and my reputation for modesty in dress and behavior will not be compromised for the sake of a few dollars; this includes a very grave offense against Our Lord.”

  20. fed-up says:

    Let me quote you: “Is he saying what’s in the missal? Is he preaching substantive homilies? Is he readily available for confessions, and for other pastoral care? Are the finances working? Has he avoided scandal? If so, he’s doing his job, and you should cut him some slack.”

    In which of your categories would you put running off family’s? Because this is for sure something he is doing. I guess to some people a few family’s here and there isn’t a big deal, but it is to me. As for the finances, we are not going to wait until we are 1.5 million in debt like Newton falls before we say there’s a problem!

    This is like saying, “can you breath under water?”. Yes, technically you can breath under water, but you will also die. He goes through the motions, but that in and of it self is not enough to say he is doing his job as a spiritual leader. I think your brief description of a priest is missing quite a few items to truly grade him on, especially spiritual guidance.

    I better be careful or maybe he’ll call the cops on me!

  21. jeffreyquick says:

    *sigh* Fed-up, I’m not a canon lawyer. I’m also not part of the Church’s chain of command. If you have a problem with your priest, you need to discuss it with the priest, and then with the diocese, in that order..not with some blogger somewhere. I don’t believe that a public homily is covered by wiretap laws (but I’m not a civil lawyer either), nor should a priest have any problem with his remarks being recorded.

  22. fed-up says:

    Jeff, Thank you for all of you feedback. Of course I will follow the chain of command here. The reason I posted on your blog, and that is the reason for a blog if I’m not mistaken, is because it is the only one I have found on the net that talks about Fr. Matt. I was hoping to get some friendly and spirited suggestions on how to handle this situation. I would have liked to have heard from more of the people at Newton Falls. Thanks again for keeping this blog active and open for all this time, even if it did stray from its original topic!

  23. jeffreyquick says:

    I’m a little sensitive to the possibility that I’m racking up 8th commandment violations by keeping comments open, I want nothing but the best for everyone involved, but I only ever get half the story. Keep on doing your best for Christ and it will all work out.

  24. fed-up says:

    Well I won’t say any more at this point. Please don’t let me be the reason you close your blog. Someone else may have something truly important to say at some point.

  25. jeffreyquick says:

    No, you’re cool. The only person I really had to step on was “concerned parishioner” above.

  26. fed-up says:

    Three more families left his church yesterday. It may be letting him win, but I understand why they want want to leave.

  27. catholic and loving it says:

    In response to fed-up here goes. St ann parish has been run by the same click of families for many years now and quite frankly some of us are glad to see them go. now we can finally get involved and have a say about the direction our parish is going in. For a long time now the goal has been to build this big building that many of us see no need for but have been powerless to stop because those “pillars” were controlling everything. The abolishing of the counsel sent them packing, finally. I have never heard Fr. Tom or Joe C. put it to a vote if the members of our parish really want certain things. We simply haven’t had a say. And if you tried to talk about it well you were not given a listening ear.
    Those “pillars of our community” also control the nepitism in the West branch Schools. I’d love to see them knocked off their pedestals. Maybe then some of us who don’t have the ‘right last name ‘ could get a job there or maybe at least have our kids get the chance to play football too and not just sit on the sidelines. But that’s a whole different blog.
    Those “pillars” ran a CCD program that didn’t give our kids even the most rudimentary understanding of their faith. My kids get that from Mom and Dad. I heard one 6th grader trying to explain to his CCD teacher what the Gospels were in the bible and how to find them and also that they shouldn’t be giving snacks at the end of class because they were some of them on their way to mass and were supposed to be fasting. That’s pretty sad. Those same CCD teachers participate in the choir and sit up there in the loft drinking coffee right through mass!! and they still receive communion!! Some of those “pillars” kids dress trashy and act as altar servers wearing flipflops and ripped, dirty clothing and even chewing gum while on the altar. It’s horrible, the lack of reverance that some of these so called “pillars” have.
    Fr. Matt will explain to anyone who wants to know why he is making the changes that he’s making. He will absolutely not tolerate a few families controlling the whole parish. If you want to talk to him then make an appointment to do so. If you want to call him on the phone then call your parish phone number and press his menu number. I have done so several times and if he’s available he answers and will talk with you about your concerns. If he’s not there then leave a message and he will call you back. I have not once been disappointed with the process of getting to talk with him.
    If you want to know why he can be hard to get a hold of at times it’s because he’s not sitting around at the rectory waiting for the phone to ring. And it’s not because he’s out drinking. I’ll tell you where he’s been because I’ve personally experienced it. I was in the hospital several weeks ago up in Youngstown and he came to see me. He brought me communion and anointed me when I was really sick and lonely. After he left me he was on his way to Cleveland to visit someone there in the hospital. He was taking them communion and serving them with anointing. And he goes to Akron and Canton and where ever else he has parishioners that need him. Where is he? He is serving the sick and dying which is where he is supposed to be.
    One Saturday one of our members had a friend who had a miscarriage. She wasn’t catholic but she has volunteered with our fund raisers making pierogis many times. She hid her child’s remains from the ER doctors so she could bury her son. When our church member, her friend, told Fr. Matt he offered to do a funeral service for her so that her tiny little son could have the decency of being laid to rest because our society sure wasn’t going to give him that.
    I’ve seen him driving his SUV a few times and have never seen anyone at the wheel of it but him. However, if he does have someone driving him all over Northeast Ohio to visit the sick and dying then that’s fine with me. Maybe it’s his way of offering a job to someone who needs one.
    I also appreciate his reverance during mass and his homilys are excellant. If you take the time to talk with him about matters of faith you will find that he has a deep love for the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. Both strong foundations for a priest to have. He feels that before we spend a million plus dollars on a brick and mortar box we first need to build our parish up spiritually. He feels we need to do a better job of evangelizing and catechising our own membership so that we can get away from this ‘watered down’ catholicism we’ve been getting for a long time now. He wants to spend some money on enriching the current church building so that we bring back some of the richness in our decoration and make our environment at mass more condusive to our worship.
    Many of us agree with these new goals. I, for one, watch many of those “pillars” at mass behave without any reverance. Maybe Fr. Matt can enrich our experiance at mass through his own reverance so that we can begin to truly understand why we come to church every Sunday.
    And think about this. Maybe Fr Matt isn’t perfect. Maybe he is a flawed man just like we are, you and I. Jesus says we are to Love each other and that we are forbidden to Judge each other. If he is making mistakes you should be holding him up in prayer and supporting him. Not tearing him down all the time because he doesn’t run things how You want them run. Is that why you come to church? To have it all done the way You want it all done? Stop whining and start respecting him. He is our Priest!! He has the God Given power to feed our sorry souls with the body and blood of Jesus Christ; to give us forgiveness in the name of Jesus; to offer us healing love and prayer when we are sick and dying. He is here to bring us the sacraments when we need them. He is NOT here to toe the line to a click of families that want the parish to revolve around their materialistic demands.
    Ask yourself WHY are you Catholic? To belong to a church? Or to be part of the Body of Christ. Is your complaining allowing you to be a light to those around you? NOT! If we stop battling Fr Matt then maybe we can support him as he builds up the Spiritual growth of our parish.

  28. jeffreyquick says:

    Thanks for presenting “the other side”. My only question, beyond the pastoral and political stuff, is: How is the liturgy? Does he “say the black and do the red”? That’s how this whole discussion started.

    The Church ultimately has only one problem: it’s an organization run by and for sinners. And it works to the extent that it lets Christ the King call the shots.

  29. catholic and loving it says:

    What does that mean? Say the black and do the red. I have not heard that before. okay, I googled the phrase and I can see that you are basically asking if he is sticking to the proper format and prayers of the mass. I would say yes he does. In fact, I feel he is bringing that back to us bit by bit. He does not change the prayers and he his sermon often has theology worked into it. When we had a guest from another organization asking for a second collection for their charity he had them speak at he end of mass not replace his sermon with them as has been done in the past. He has brought back to us the ringing of the bells at consecration which we had not had with our previous priest. He supports those who wish to genuflect at communion which I have seen some of our people try to do in the past and get critisized for. He takes time to bless the young children coming up at communion time with parents and also when someone comes up but has their arms crossed to show they aren’t able to receive. I have heard someone say he is taking us back 50 years with our liturgy. I say give us the older traditions back. Bring back the richness of the liturgy.

  30. jeffreyquick says:

    Good! If he’s ” taking you back 50 years”, then he’s taking you back to Vatican II — which, if you read the document on the liturgy (Sacrosanctum concilium) never envisioned half the nonsense that passes for a Catholic church service nowadays.
    Sorry you had to look up my language…the Missal has what the priest is supposed to DO in red letters (that’s why they’re called “rubrics” )and what he’s supposed to SAY in black — so that he doesn’t start chanting “Lift up the Host and say..”

  31. catholic and loving it says:

    I agree with you there….and thanks for the explanation. Makes sense.

  32. fed-up says:

    My prayers are with you “catholic and loving it”, I hope things work out the way you wish. I’m sorry you have had such a bad experience over the years, but it looks like now might be the perfect opportunity for you to step forward. The church is going to need people to step up and help run all of the committees, I hope you volunteer to help insure the future for further generations. Best of luck to you!

  33. Golden Rule says:

    This is defiantly NOT the place to solve any of our church’s problems, whatever they may be. This needs to be done by making time to talk with the people of authority in our church, or diocese if need be, and that means starting with Father!

    A few months back I was elected chairperson of fellowship and I will first say this, only a few people consistently showed up for the meetings. One of my first goals was to try and increase the number of people attending meetings, and to put the minutes in the bulletin so everyone could be kept up to date on what was going on. If more people would attend, EVERYONE’S opinion could be heard! At these meetings many times things are put to a vote. In the last few months I can remember one vote specifically about the new building, and this vote was required to proceed with planning. Now please understand that I am not trying to take a side. I simply think people should know that if they are not happy with the way things are being handled, then they must go to the meetings and vote. If they don’t attend, the administration many not know there are people who oppose the current plan. As a matter of fact, I welcome the opportunity to hear both sides so that I myself can make a more informed decision.

    Please remember we are all human, we make mistakes, and we have feelings and emotions. This is a church community and we should all do our best to lift each other up emotionally and spiritually. Let’s not forget the 8th commandment and try to only say kind things from this point forward about your fellow parishioners. I guess if people feel they want to hold father to a higher standard, and wish to discuss these issues then please try to keep it tasteful. I will say for my own reasons I left St. Ann’s, but this is not the place to discuss it. Remember, this blog is also how others will view St. Ann’s church, and its sure making for a good read.

    A priest that I have always held to a very high regard once said this, and I think we could all benefit from committing this to memory: “Many of us would never think of robbing a dime from another human being, but so many of us get trapped into robbing a human being of his or her own reputation and that is much worse. Let’s learn to control our tongues, control our evil imaginations, and if we can do that we will all be better for it.” I myself am working on this everyday…

  34. […] back, I did a very negative review of St. Mary and St. Joseph Church, 131 W. Quarry St. in Newton Falls, which became one of my most […]

  35. Marie says:

    And Fr. Matthew found out that some members of St. Ann’s were embezzling money on a large scale, (not gossip, i was there when he announced it) and it wasnt long after that that they ran him off. Thank you, St. Ann’s and i hope you got what you wanted, now St. Josephs has a full time WONDERFUL pastor, Fr. Matthew. I went to Mass at St. Anns a few times when Fr. Matthew was there, figured if we were sharing a pastor it was ok to go there on occasion, when we would have been late for our own mass usually. The irregularities were NOT because of Fr. Matthew, i will say that, because we had a few irregularities at St. Joseph that had been around for two priests and just never changed, sometimes i would wish these good pastors WOULD change things for the better (get rid of some of the EMHC’s girl altar servers, etc.. sigh..) but so far, no good. One WONDERFUL thing Fr. Matt has done is to bring the Eucharist back front and center as He should be, placing the Tabernacle behind the Altar under the Crucifix, rather than off to the side (still in a prominent place, but not front and center) as He had been. He is slowly making more changes to the inside of the Church, making it a more reverent, Holy environment, rather than the slightly sterile 1950’s church vibe it had.. (sigh, it is a 1950s church… the Methodists across the street look more Catholic than we do lol) Father Matthew often preaches on the horrors of Abortion, on reverence for Life from conception to NATURAL death, He convicts each one of us often on many matters and isnt afraid to preach TRUTH. He is a young Priest, so maybe he had to work his way up to making big changes, or maybe the fact that he tries to change things (for the better) is why he was basically run out of a couple small town ohio churches, maybe they didnt like a young energetic pastor who loves Jesus and mother Mary, i dont know, all i know is he has been with us for two years and i have seen nothing but good from him. St. Anns is an aging congregation, when we went there we were one of maybe two families with children in the whole place, most were gray headed, so maybe they found it hard to confess to a young priest (Fr. Matthew is a year older than me, which makes him 40 right now. and Yes i will admit at first it was hard for me to confess to a Priest my age.. but that was MY problem and i got over it.) I dont know, i just know that he has been a wonderful pastor for us, he is bringing some much needed change to the physical church here at St. Josephs Alliance, and while he hasnt (yet) made all the changes i personally would like to see, i believe he will. As to a bar… i must have missed the part of the CCC where it says a Priest may not go out and relax and enjoy himself once in a while.. heck i spend time at the local bars myself,i love me some karaoke🙂 And a little Jack never hurt anyone either, what are we, southern baptists??? Father not only attends our get togethers, he often cooks for them! I had a hard time catching time with him for the first few months, but i understood, because running TWO parishes has to be time consuming, especially when you have an aging population at both, like a poster said above, there would be so many members in hospitals around the area, and so many weddings and especially funerals to attend, it would drive me to drink as well. I guess all im saying is (this all started because i was looking for an email address to send Father a joke, and found your blog.. talk about sidetracked) is that there ARE several sides to any story, and my personal experience, as an orthodox Catholic who leans traditional (i wear a veil and kneel for Holy Communion… yep, just outted myself to anyone at st Joes or St. Anns lol) Is that Fr. Matthew has all good intentions and is a very good Pastor. Thank you for letting me say my piece.

  36. jeffreyquick says:

    I’m really grad to see some praise and good feedback here. Thank you, Marie.

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