for St. Pius’ Rev. Carroll:
Bishop Lori says more
(Posted to Fairfield.Patch.com 3/26)
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2011. All Rights Reserved.
Fairfield, CT – Parishioners at St. Pius X Church on Brookside Drive got both a treat and letdown at Saturday’s 5:15 Mass. The treat was the personal appearance of William E. Lori, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, to lead the session. The letdown was his announcement that more deliberation would be necessary before a successor to Rev. Lawrence Carroll, who stepped down last weekend, could be named.
“Rev. Carroll served just under ten years,” said usher Charles Chiusano. “His reasons for leaving were not about health or any legal matters. He pointed that out specifically to allay any concerns, but still didn’t give his reason for departing. He did a phenomenal job here, growing the parish. He was a very good man and very spiritual.”
Chiusano said Carroll’s departure was abrupt and surprising. “Everyone was shocked and saddened by the pastor’s leaving,” he remarked. “He was the pastor to everyone. He was all inclusive. It didn’t matter if people had disagreements with something said or done. He was there to provide support and counseling. He was great for that. There was no wall between him and anyone.”
As Lori initiated the Mass, he said, “I thought it would be appropriate to come here personally after last week’s announcement, to pray with you and share with you the experience we are all undergoing, and to pray for Rev. Carroll at this time in his life. After Communion, I will speak about the events of last week and events going forward.”
Acknowledging parishioners’ concerns, Lori said, “The season of Lent has taken an unexpected turn as Rev. Carroll has left the ministry. I’m sure many of you are wondering what the parish holds in the future and for the families of the church.”
Lori thanked Rev. Samuel Kachuba, who has been with the parish for the past three years, for his service and “stepping up to the plate” over the past week as Kachuba stood in for the departed Carroll. In turn, Kachuba thanked parishioners for their “emails, calls and even baked goods,” adding, “You have responded so well with your prayers during this time of transition.”
With regard to announcing a successor, Lori said, “It would be premature for me to make an announcement. We’re not quite ready. I met last Thursday with the priest personnel board and had a chance to review this parish’s strengths and needs to determine the best fit for a new pastor. After a lot of study, the board will consider candidates that might be appropriate for this parish.”
Lori added, “The most important thing in a priest is that he is prayerful and full of integrity, a man who is a priest 24/7. As I arrive at a decision, it will be announced at that point. I will try and do that with as much dispatch as I can.”
The bishop acknowledged that Kachuba had a full plate and that it would not be fair to leave him on his own. To that regard, Lori said he had appointed Father Liam Quinlan, a resident at St. Leo parish, to assist and work with Father Kachuba while awaiting a new pastor.
Parishioner Tony Marone of Fairfield commented, “Whoever they bring in is going to have to fill some big shoes. Rev. Carroll was a great guy. We hope the bishop makes a good choice.”
Usher Dian Palmer said there was no hint about a successor. “There’s been no word on a replacement at this point in time,” she said. “People are longing to find out. They want to know who’s going to lead them. Hopefully we’ll know soon. Father Sam’s got a load on his plate, but he’s doing a wonderful job.”
For his part, Father Kuchuba said, “Rev. Carroll’s announcement was a shock for all of us, but this is a prayerful parish. It was difficult to hear, but we immediately turned to prayer to ask for a blessing. This was an unexpected role for me that I didn’t anticipate. I’ve been praying a lot, I’ve been trusting God. Father Quinlan will assist with celebrating Mass. I love the guy, he’s a wonderful man. It will make this interim period much easier.”