25 NOVEMBER/5 DECEMBER 2013
Distorted crucifix planned at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai
Agitated parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Dubai, UAE, have contacted this ministry expressing their indignation and concern that the erection of a stylized distorted, truncated, “broken” cross has been proposed by their parish priest and his building works committee.
Fr. Tomasito Veneracion OFM Cap., the Parish Priest issued a letter dated November 22, 2013 to his parishioners in connection with the forthcoming Golden Jubilee of the parish [2015-2016] stating among other things that “a new crucifix will be installed”. Renovation work apparently commenced July 28, 2013.
Below is the proposed “crucifix” followed by Fr. Tomasito’s “theological” justification for its non-traditional design. He has solicited feedback from Catholic laity on his proposed “renovation” at email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theology of the New Altar
Christ freely offered himself on the cross for our salvation, giving his life as a ransom for many (Mt. 20:28) in his final act of love “to the end” (Jn 13:1) so that we might be ransomed from the futile ways inherited from our fathers (1Pt 1:18). He tasted death “for everyone” (Heb 2:9).
But in his death, he has reunited the separation of the soul from the body in the Resurrection, “so that he himself might be the meeting point for death and life” (St. Gregory of Nyssa). Jesus Christ, the “Author of life” who was killed (Acts 3:15) is the same living one who has risen” (Lk 34:5-6). In the Resurrection we must forget the sacrifice of the cross, but it was not possible for death to hold him.
Our figure of the crucifixion shows us Christ’s limbs stretched out as they were nailed to the wood, but the cross now broken, powerless to hold him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him (Rom. 6:9).
St. Mary’s parishioners have pertinently pointed out that THE TABERNACLE has not figured in Fr. Tomasito’s scheme of things.
A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 4, 2013 RECEIVED FROM A PARISHIONER OF ST. MARY’S, DUBAI
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I would like to bring your kind attention to St. Mary’s Church in Dubai and some irregularities that is going on there since last three years. Our parish priest is Fr.
- The parish priest dissolved the parish council and installed a dummy council who always say YES to him.
- All the old staff of the parish was sacked and he brought all his team from Qatar where he was parish priest before. Is the church is a company?
- Many faithful are serving in the church office/accounts without a single Dirham (local currency) where as he brought and installed Filipino staff and all of them are highly paid and sponsored by the church that give the church unnecessary expenses.
- He demolished the grotto and reinstalled another one and after a year he changed to the existing style!
- His office is relocated and again relocated and made it luxury and within a month again it rearranged!
- Church benches color was very good, but he changed its color matching to the new style matching to the renovation of the church and before the painting work finished the paint is start peeling off. He started repainting it again and it never reaches anywhere till date!
- He changed the sound system twice, which was doing fine by the help of God! It is not in order yet, always making problems. I am sure that he will change the sound system again!
- He installed lots of water fans outside the church.
- Adoration chapel is also arranged and now it is also going to change to another location!
- Church tiles are changing, removing the existing tiles that were there almost 25 years and in good condition! It looks good, but it is slippery as it is smooth. Such a big parish, it is not advisable, I believe.
- He is going to change the cross (Jesus hang on the wall, not on the cross) and tabernacle and his importance is his PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR. As per the liturgy the importance to be given for Tabernacle and Cross, not the presidential chair!
- None of these changes are briefed properly to other priests who are serving in the church, I believe!
- He is imposing like presidential rule and he thinks that he is right always which was wrong always.
- Tuesday is off for the parish office and for the priests too which was the new practice that Fr Tomasito installed! Here, all of the foreigners are working for their livelihood and especially the labour class people are enjoying their off days as and when they get. Whenever they request for a confession either the priests are not available or not on station or the faithful needs to come for confession only during the mass! What happened for our priests? What kinds of faith that we are practicing?
The parish priest never appears any of the morning services!
His Holiness Pope Francis is practicing and showing the humble way of living like Jesus, but here is this part of the Gulf, the Capuchins are really misusing their priesthood, and giving bad examples to the parishioners, which is not appropriate.
The money that the faithful is giving to church is simply wasting like water, the money the faithful are donating to the church will have the value of their sweat and blood because we are raising this money with our hard work and labour away from our family. The money is not for wasting for constructing a good future for the church. Please do not allow any church authorities to waste our blood money just for their own intentions and that is my kind request now.
Many parishioners are send their concern to the parish priest and the local Bishop Paul Hinder, but whatever Fr Tomasito says, our Bishop will do. That is their relationship and that is our fate too, but this practice has to be rectified and corrected with immediate effect.
Reinstall the parish council with the representative of all the communities. If there is a proper council, the entire parish related matters to be discussed and thru the discussion, we can avoid all the complications and know the pulse of the faithful.
Communication gap between parish priest and the parishioners and other serving priests is to be corrected.
What is the outcome?
Many faithful are going far away from our mother church where they can feel the right treatment and services.
Please involve in the above matters immediately and save our faithful and beautiful church, St. Mary’s Church, Dubai, and that is my humble request with letter.
Name withheld [This letter was slightly edited — mainly grammar — for clarity. -Michael]
Categories: Liturgical Abuses