Creeped out by a visiting priest of last Sunday

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1997
Creeped out by a visiting priest of last Sunday
2
Wed, 10-31-2012 - 8:05am

I forgot Fr. Dennis was going away for a couple weeks.  I see the back of a priest with black hair.  I'm like Oh visiting priest.   Hmm.  Is that Fr. Thomas from another parish.  They turn around.  No it's someone else. Who might be in their 60's.  His cassock vestments whatever you call them they wear.  Looked to big for him. We sit there quietly till mass starts.   He was going around shaking hands with everyone.  It's 10:30am.  Mass is not starting. He's still going around shaking hands and just seeming not normal.  Finally our director of worship starts playing the opening song. That was at almost 10:40am.  Everyone stood up.  It got his attention.  He walks in.  Starts the mass.  But seemed to not know the order of mass.  At the point of the Gospel.  He forgot the book was on the alter. He walks back to grab it.  apologizes that in the old days. The deacon walked it down to him from the back of church.  Then we get to bringing up the bread and wine. This family comes forward.  Their teen son was carrying the bread.  Normally the priest will take the wine.  Hand it to the alter server. Then takes the bread.  Him and the alter server walk to the alter.  He sets the bread down.  Then takes the wine.  No.  This priest tells the teen to put the bread on the alter.  It seemed like he messed up the Eucharistic prayers. Like he was reading them in the old way.  Not the New Roman MIssal.  We get to the Lamb of God.  He don't have us read the prayer after that.  Lord That  I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof etc.  Then the Eucharistic ministers come forward. stand in their spot.  Waiting to have the priest give them Communion first.  Before they take their plate or cup to pass out to the people. He signals them to grab their own.  They all looked at him. Huh?  But do it. Dh said the priest messed up to many parts of the mass.

Last night I get a call from this Rosemary. She is from the prayer chain.  She gives me a list for the prayer chain.  I email them to houla couple other ladies.  Who like to get the list via email.  I asked her about the visiting priest. It appeared the same one had 8am mass.  She said the priest came late. At that point this deacon. Well who is almost a deacon.  To be assigned our parish.  He did the readings.  Says he was not prepared to do a homily.  Had he known he 'd be speaking.  He'd planned something to say.  So he asked everyone to meditate quietly a few minutes. Then 8:30am.  This priest walks in.  He said he thought church was 8:30.  Even if it was.  You don't just walk in then. Don't you come a little early to prepare for mass.  The Deacon says he did the readings. So this priest attempts to move on in the mass. At one point told someone to shut up loudly.  Someone got wierded out.  They called the police.  2 officers sat in back of church till after the 8am mass would of been over.  As I didn't see any police at 10:30 mass.  I was told by Rosemary a couple ladies she was with. They were calling the diocese.   She said she was not sure who would be there for mass on the holy day or the next weekend. As Fr. Dennis is gone a couple weeks or something like that.  So I was wondering also.  After we ended our call.  I ask dh if he thought I should contact the diocese.  He said if I want.  So I sent them a email to their contact address.  Saying Not sure who to direct this message to. Then went into what happened. Then also left our parish secretary a message with the same thing.  At the end of 10:30 mass. The cantor says. This is the worst mass ever.  I put that in my message also to the parish secretary.  That if you were at 10:30 mass. You'd of heard it.  I told her if we get stuck with this priest again. We will not be at mass.  That I talked to some others who felt the same.  That you might have a very empty church the holy day and next Sunday.  Can you please email back who will be priest in Fr. Dennis's absence.  I did ask Rosemary if he ever said who he was.  She said he said Simon. Not Fr. Simon. Just Simon. Then said what city he was from.  When I left message at the diocese office.  I wonder if I should of actually sent it to the Archbishop.  The personality and behavior of this priest.  Made me wonder if he was on drugs or something.  I can understand minor things a visiting priest don't do.  Like read the announcements of the week.  If no one clues him in before hand. He won't know. The list of announcements is in his binder.  This priest never announced that Thursday is All Saints Day.  A holy day of obligation. 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-2000
Wed, 10-31-2012 - 2:52pm

That sounds really strange that he didn't even seem to know the mass.  It almost sounds like he wasn't even a priest at all.  Have you heard anything back from the diocese yet?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-26-1997
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 7:30am

I got the first message from the parish secretary. Then the one below that from the diocese. So it seems like someone will be on top of this priest right away. So I was not the only one who complained to the parish office.  Since the parish office knows. Maybe they contacted his religious order.  I wonder if I still should write the Jesuit place the diocese said to write to.  To complain of this priest.   I was surprised at the quick response I got to my messages.  I hope they don't brush this priest under the carpet If he has problems. I pray he gets the help he needs.

Thank you for your email Carol. Yes, we received many comments from parishioners about this weekend’s Masses. Be assured this priest will not be having Mass here for the remainder of Fr. Dennis’ absence. Fr. Dennis will be back Nov. 8, and we will notify him of what occurred and make sure the priest will not have Mass here at any time in the future.

I called St. Rita, West Allis, and to learn the name of the priest and discovered that his name is Simon Harak, SJ.  Because he is a religious order priest, and not an archdiocesan priest, I recommend that you refer your concern to the Jesuit Provincial: Very Rev. Thomas A. Lawler, SJ, PO Box 080288, Milwaukee WI 53208-0288 (414-937-6949).I have also learned that Sunday, Oct 28, was the only day that the parish had scheduled his help. Thank you.