Parish roundup: Activist calls for NY sanctuaries; Florida parishioners want pastor reinstated

Victoria Daza, a native of Peru and an immigrants' rights activist, holds her daughter during a rally in support of immigrants in Massapequa Park, N.Y., Feb. 24.
This article appears in the The Field Hospital feature series. View the full series.

CBS' May 21 "60 Minutes" featured a report on churches that have opened themselves up as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants. That report focused on Protestant churches. One activist, Felix Cepeda, wants to use Catholic property assets to aid the undocumented. Should Catholic parishes get involved? So far, there's widespread reluctance.

Canonical law justice grinds slowly. A group of parishioners from St. Isabel Parish in Sanibel, Florida, continue to ask for the reinstatement of their pastor, Fr. Christopher Senk, removed from his post seven months ago by Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice. Senk is accused of improperly receiving gifts from an elderly parishioner said to be suffering from dementia. Senk was cleared of wrongdoing by a Florida state investigation, but the diocese maintains there are still unresolved issues involving church law. Both sides are now making their case with the Vatican, but there is no word on how long it will take to resolve.

In the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, a pastor lives in what the locals describe as a mansion. He is now under investigation for embezzlement.

A parish in Tampa funds the construction of the first new Catholic church in Cuba in decades.

'Tis the season for diocesan parish consolidations. Here is what's happening in upstate New York, western Pennsylvania and Connecticut:

A Pittsburgh parish experiences a rebirth.

A parish in suburban Baltimore applies lessons learned from evangelical churches

[Peter Feuerherd is a correspondent for NCR's Field Hospital series on parish life and is a professor of journalism at St. John's University, New York.]

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