Now I’ve heard everything — including a story about a priest who evidently didn’t hear enough.
Some parents with students in Nebraska’s largest Catholic grade school think their priest went too far in ordering 250 sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders out of Mass because they weren’t singing loudly enough.
Incensed, the parents say they’re paying tuition so their kids can get Catholic instruction — not for the kids to be denied Holy Communion during Lent.
Other parents, however, back the action of the Rev. James Tiegs, pastor at St. Stephen the Martyr parish since 2004. They see him as a shepherd guiding the flock.
“If he thought that was necessary, my hat’s off for his courage,” said Bob Finger, who has a daughter in eighth grade at the southwest Omaha school.
The Archdiocese of Omaha is reviewing the week-old incident as a “personnel issue” and declined to comment on what steps, if any, might be taken. Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, did say, however, that archdiocesan policy does not support the lesson.
“Trying to get children, or for that matter adults, to fully participate in the Mass is a 2,000-year-old issue in the church,” he said. “We would never suggest that 250 children be dismissed in the middle of Mass for not singing a song.”
The incident that has the 11,600-parishioner church abuzz raises broader questions, including: How best can a person of the cloth go about inspiring young people to make the most out of pew time?
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