Saturday, August 22, 2015
HISTORIC AND DRASTIC FOR THE DIOCESE OF SAVANNAH! BUT IT IS ACTION THAT THE BISHOP FELT HAD TO BE TAKEN
For a few years now there has been great tension leading to serious divisiveness between a significant number of parishioners in both parishes and the priest who serves both parishes. One can say that it is Protestant congregationalism gone wild in two tiny south Georgia Catholic parishes. At the heart of the divisive crisis is the lost of Catholic Ecclesiastical Identity rooted in the Sacrament of Holy Orders and centered in the ministry of the Bishop of any Diocese who sends priests to parishes as a part of his ministry as the chief Shepherd of the Diocese. In other words, it is all about ecclesiology and the failure to observe a Catholic ecclesiology and the legitimate canonical and moral authority given to the priests the bishop sends.
Thus Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer has had to take drastic and unusual steps never before seen in our diocese. You can read the public letter for yourself from our bishop:
August 21, 2015
Dear members of St. Mark and Holy Redeemer:
It is with deep regret that I inform you that Father Daniel Oghenerukevwe, MSP has resigned as administrator of both parishes effective immediately. His resignation is due, in part, to the internal conflicts and discord that has existed in these communities in recent years. This is a serious and unfortunate situation that has not been able to to resolved.
The Diocese of Savannah is experiencing a shortage of priests. As a result, there is no priest available for pastoral care at St. Mark or holy Redeemer. Therefore, St. Mark and Holy Redeemer will remained closed for worship, religious education, and all social activities until further notice. The doors of all buildings on church property are to be securely locked. The Blessed Sacrament will be removed from both sanctuaries.
This weekend, August 22-23, all members of Holy Redeemer and St. Mark's are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. During the following weeks, I encourage all Catholics to worship at the closest parish of their choice. For those for whom this would be a hardship and grave inconvenience, the obligation of attending Mass on Sunday is lifted.
I strongly recommend the entire communities of St. Mark and Holy Redeemer bring this matter to prayer and reflection so that a suitable solution may be found to remedy this difficult issue.
My office will communicate with the parish leadership regarding further developments.
With prayerful best wishes, I am
Most Reverent Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv.
Bishop of Savannah