So here it is. It's about a week and a half or so since we heard word that my high school alma mater is closing. My reaction has been a strange amalgam of emotion, running the true gamut from indignation, to sadness, wistfulness, nostalgia and back again to anger.
Yet in a way, the anger is not really from the fact that the school couldn't survive, its financial viability has been uncertain for many years. No; for me, the anger stems from being the last one to know; from having the rug pulled out from under me (and especially from my sister and my mother). I'm rather aggravated that the Church in general and St. Michael in this case have not learned from recent upheaval and reconsidered some operational procedures.
One would think that that this ship didn't sink overnight, nor did it sink over a period of a few months, more than likely this ship has been sinking for several years. I mean going beyond the general "one sheet of paper per art project" budget. So why are we, the parishioners, the people who are supposedly the focus of the parish, the point of the parish (the people who are the best source of capital) the last ones to learn about it? And why have we found out about it after the decision has already been made? I have a feeling it's because generally, the parishioners point of view is still largely irrelevant.
Perhaps this is the latest in the long line of perpetual punches in the gut. Perhaps the Church is banking on parishioners to turn the other cheek again and concede to the mandates and dictums, regardless of how it affects us. Adding insult to injury is the fact that any attempt for St. Michael's parishioners and HCH students to make their jumble of emotions known, have fallen on deaf ears; not just deaf ears; plainly dismissive, and outwardly aggressive and hostile ears. How is it possible that the spiritual leader of the parish might close the door in the face of his parishioners? And how is it possible that the layperson principal of the elementary school might punish a student for clinging to the hope that their school might be saved. Is that actually Christian? Is that actually practicing the concepts you teach?
My anger over this entire thing is how poorly it's been handled. How poorly parishioners, students, current faculty, and alumni have been treated. I'm equally upset that some of these injured parties have resorted to unseemly letters and comments, but that being said, much of the reason for this entire episode spiraling out of control, can be laid at the feet of the pastor and the group he selected to handle PR.
Hudson Catholic High School is immensely important to me. Much of who I am, and most of my values can be attributed to both the school and the parish with which it is associated. Much of how I behave and act toward others can also be tracked back there. How interesting that a parish that instilled Kindness, Patience, Compassion and Service as core values in me can seem to throw them by the wayside when situations most demand them.
HCHS is closing. It is unfortunate. But even more unfortunate is how parishioners; no, people have been treated during this episode. At this rate, no one is going to come out of this without injury, and that is what never had to happen.
Generally I don't say things like "I'll pray for them." That's not really my style. But really that's all that can be done right now.