The Church ‘threw us out into the cold, shut the door in our troubled faces’. opinion

During Mass on July 3, parishioners listen to a videotaped message from the Rev. Rene Costanza at the Thomas Moore Newman Center, parish and student ministry at Ohio State, telling them that the diocese is taking over from the Paul Fathers, Those who have it run for 65 years.

Sabrina Evans-Renker is an independent filmmaker and assistant professor of media at Capital University.

I am One of hundreds of faithful priests At St. Thomas More Newman Center Catholic Parish, those who feel like Diocese of Columbus Is Suddenly we were thrown into the cold And slammed the door on our worried faces.

After 66 years of service and ministry to The Ohio State University and Central Ohio communities, Fernandes of Bishop Earl – A person so new to the post that his clothes still smell of his incense – has suddenly decided to cancel the mission. The Paulist Fathers At the Newman Center, they are given barely three weeks to pack up and leave the spiritual community that has depended on them for decades.

More: Parishioners shocked, angry as Paulist Fathers prepare to leave Ohio State’s Newman Center

It may come as a surprise to some that the Newman Center is so far away. More than just a church for students.

It has a large and vibrant resident community in addition to its student parishioners and contains all the threads of God’s human tapestry – even the faithful misgivings that even the so-called “Big C” congregations would frown upon. Can: Strong women, LGBTQ peopledivorcees, progressives, and even those who are simply Catholics but reasonably skeptical of religious hierarchy. With a deeply flawed history.

More: Jordi: Not everyone feels welcome at an LGBTQ-friendly parish anymore. Bishop ‘shutting it all down’

Father Evan Cummings Hugs Greg Stipe As He And Other Parishioners Walk Into The Newman Center.Father Evan Cummings Hugs Greg Stipe As He And Other Parishioners Walk Into The Newman Center.

Father Evan Cummings hugs Greg Stipe as he and other parishioners walk into the Newman Center.

As my mother will tell you, one of the many reasons she and I started going to Newman when I was 13 wasn’t just so I could hang out with other teenagers. Act on your faith.but so that we can be part of a community that is as devoted to God intellectually as it is spiritually (after all, the name of the center One of the most famous Catholic scholars in history).

Newman Center There is a thinking church. This is a church filled with people who are not just Christmas and Easter Catholics, but people who are constantly reading the works of Christian scholars. the exchange of ideas in religious retreats and prayer groups; Pursuing progressive paths towards equality and social justice; and are constantly pushing themselves to grow as both thinkers and believers.

More: Six things to know about the leadership transition at Ohio State’s Newman Center

Sabrina Evans-Renker Is An Independent Filmmaker And Assistant Professor Of Media At Capital University.Sabrina Evans-Renker Is An Independent Filmmaker And Assistant Professor Of Media At Capital University.

Sabrina Evans-Renker is an independent filmmaker and assistant professor of media at Capital University.

More: How to submit guest opinion columns to the Columbus Dispatch.

I don’t think it’s too bold to claim that Newman Center Catholics fully believe that the best way to do the work of Christ is to use our minds as much as our hearts.

This extraordinary community is made possible in large part by the leadership of the selfless, open-hearted, all-welcoming Paul Fathers, whose work at Newman is always to “build a home where love dwells / and all safe ways.” can live from”.

That last line isn’t mine – it’s the beginning of it. Marty Hogan’s beautiful song, “Everybody’s Welcome.” A song I have sung many times with my fellow Neumannites over the 25 years I have been a member of this parish.

Indeed, his message of radical inclusion best represents the religious formation Newman instilled in me. This is one of the key principles that helps me keep faith in an increasingly faithless world.

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Take the beating heart out of us for Bishop Fernandes. Seemingly without warning feels not only like a barbaric attack on one’s own people, but also somewhat suspicious.

As a thinking Catholic, I like the questions many of my friends at Newman have: If, as defined in the diocese;Real Presence, Real Future” campaignNew OSU Newman’s role has become more of a student-made evangelistic tool, which is why the Diocese waited until the students who cherished the community to announce the dismissal of their spiritual mentors. Gone in the summer?

More: ‘God’s plan’: Fernandes takes over Columbus diocese with ceremony at Westerville parish

And why, when attendance and resources are dwindling across the diocese, is there a large parish that welcomes hundreds of people and Brings in over a million dollars a year. Considered expendable?

And why is it that as part of the Real Presence, Real Future plan, the Diocese promised to “listen to the needs of our local church and listen to your ideas, concerns and desires” and then give Newman any advance notice. No, no invitation for feedback. , no listening sessions, just three weeks’ notice that our entire clerical staff is being laid off?

Father Jimmy Hsu Leads A Catholic Mass On July 3 At The Newman Center.Father Jimmy Hsu Leads A Catholic Mass On July 3 At The Newman Center.

Father Jimmy Hsu leads a Catholic Mass on July 3 at the Newman Center.

One of the anchors of the Newman Center, Father Vinny McKernanjust celebrated His 65th ordination anniversary And he continues to be an important spiritual guidepost and dedicated servant to the greater Central Ohio Catholic community — as he has been for more than 30 years. Whose needs exactly are being served by sending him and his brother pastors packing?

I can’t help but wonder if building a name and legacy has become more important. US Conference of Catholic Bishops By connecting a core faith community that can only expand the reach and potential of Christ’s message in the world?

More: Letters: Faithful 91-year-old pastor among those evicted from residence Bishop steps out.

Of The New Bishop, Earl.  Fernandez, Seated, Applauds Archbishop Dennis M. Schnorr, Left, During His Ordination And Installation As The Thirteenth Bishop Of The Diocese Of Columbus At St. Paul The Apostle Church In Westerville, Ohio.  , May 31, 2022.  Fred Squillant-The Columbus DispatchOf The New Bishop, Earl.  Fernandez, Seated, Applauds Archbishop Dennis M. Schnorr, Left, During His Ordination And Installation As The Thirteenth Bishop Of The Diocese Of Columbus At St. Paul The Apostle Church In Westerville, Ohio.  , May 31, 2022.  Fred Squillant-The Columbus Dispatch

of the new bishop, Earl. Fernandez, seated, applauds Archbishop Dennis M. Schnorr, left, during his ordination and installation as the thirteenth bishop of the Diocese of Columbus at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Westerville, Ohio. , May 31, 2022. Fred Squillant-The Columbus Dispatch

Sadly, I don’t have any questions. Memory The Dispatch’s coverage of the story cited the diocese’s intentions to equally embrace more forward-leaning movements as well as intolerant groups.

The answer to me and my fellow parishioners seems heartbreakingly clear: that very soon not everyone will be welcome at the St. Thomas More Newman Center.

Sabrina Evans-Renker is an independent filmmaker and assistant professor of media at Capital University.

This article originally appeared on the Columbus Dispatch: Opinion: Why pastors are leaving St. Thomas More Newman Center