Ill will at Our Lady Help of Christians

Ill will at Our Lady Help of Christians

In the wake of the resignation of the two most recent pastors of Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Newton, Mass., (Frs. Walter Cuenin and Chris Coyne) it seems that divisions are being exposed in the congregation. The reporter doesn’t come right out and say it, but based on email I’ve received from people there it breaks down along the lines of those who were in the parish before Cuenin and those who came after he showed up.

Speaking in generalities here, the pre-Cuenin types think the Cuenin crowd worked to “run out” Coyne and even some of those who didn’t think Cuenin should have left, think Coyne was treated badly.

“Father Walter [Cuenin] was really mistreated,” said parishioner Roberta Whalen. “But I don’t think he was mistreated half as badly as Father Chris was.”

“Most people agree that Father Cuenin didn’t get a fair shake, but two wrongs don’t make a right,” said parishioner Lisa DeFelice.

Of course, the Cuenin crowd begs to differ.

Coyne was a slap in the face

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
8 comments
  • I’m not “feeling the love” in this avant garde “faith community”, to use a tired modernist cliche.

    Cuenin was mistreated? Cry me a river.

    His “mistreatment” is nothing compared to his own longstanding mistreatment of Catholic teaching and doctrine. He’s carved a career out of disobedience and undermining the Catholic faith and sold generations of Catholics a bill of ruined goods.

    The cries of rage at Cuenin’s removal from the “Catholic fringe” clearly bely an attitude that assumes no accountability and responsibility to his employers. It speaks of an attitude of autonomy and willfulness which is essentially nothing more than an ongoing problem with legitimate authority which has beset the “spirit of Vatican II” types for 4 decades.

    As always, with the liberals, it’s not about charity to individual souls. It’s all about the party platform. The agenda. The great liberal utopia. Fr. Coyne found this out the hard way.

  • Why are Rosa Buffone and Larry Kessler allowed to stay on the Parish Council when they flagrantly oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage being the union of one man and one woman only? And why is it that the Peace and Justice committee of Our Lady’s advertise that they “advocate” for those supporting same-sex sexuality? Will the parishioners at Our Lady’s gather at the ceremony planned by PFLAG/GLBT/GLAD etc. to honor Fr. Cuenin for all that he has done for their agenda before the Gay Pride Festival and March this coming June? Will Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who is the person, who has authority over Fr. Cuenin’s actions as a priest in the Boston Archdiocese, give approval by his silence?
    Stay tuned!!!

  • Same as it ever was. Sounds like the Sacred Heart Lexington story all over again. Cuenin was the parochial vicar who helped run out the pastor there and split the parish similarly.

    The priests who are part of Walter Cuenin’s circle, including Cuenin, have a reputation for doing exactly this in every parish. They split the parish on lines of those who were there before the priest arrived and those who were there afterwards. Usually, it takes a long time for such parishes to recover. Some never do.

    Of course who really is to blame? The people who made him and the other members of his circle pastors in the first place. One of whom was forced to resign as Archbishop by Cuenin et. al. 

    “God adds and multiplies, the Devil subtracts and divides.” Sign at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Easthampton, MA.

  • Reporters covering OLHC consistently report the views of the Parish Council as if this body actually represents the parish community.

    We have been members of the OLHC parish community for ten years, and still can’t figure out how people get on the Parish Council or to whom this group is accountable.

  • Why did Father Coyne allow this parish council to exists.  According to Canon Law, when a pastor leaves a parish or dies, the parish council ceases to exists.  Moreover, the new pastor has one year to establish a new council.  I think it is wise to establish a new council after a few months.

  • I found the following in the bulletin for Our Lady Help of Christians parish for May 8,2004—May 16,2004: “Call for Nominees to Our Lady’s Parish Pastoral Council(PPC)” “The PPC acts as an advisory board for the Pastor and the parish staff,focusing on the strategic direction and overall needs of the Parish, as well as providing advice and feedback to the pastor and staff in support of the parish’s mission and ministry. PPC positions are typically held for a 3 year term.
    Nominations for these positions are now being sought from the parish community. You may nominate yourself or another parishioner. Nominees will be contacted by members of the PPC to explain the expectations of PPC

    membership,gather necessary information, and answer any questions the nominees may have. Three new PPC members will be chosen by lot with the aid of the Holy Spirit from the list of qualified candidates at the 10:00a.m. Mass on Pentacost Sunday, May 30. Two additional members will be selected by the Pastor to maintain a balance on the PPC.
    To nominate anyone,simply drop the following information in the collection basket or email it to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address):
    Name:___________________________
    Phone:__________________________
    Address:__________________________
    Email(optional)___________________

  • Wow!  In the bulletin on a Sunday in May two years ago!  How did we ever miss that?

    So let’s review how the system works.  The PPC slips a note into the bulletin as a CYA measure.  Meanwhile, “friendly” congregants are contacted by word of mouth.  PPC members then vet the applicants to ensure they are “qualified”, which is code for “politically correct and supportive of Fr. Cuenin’s agenda”.

    One wonders how many people were nominated and how many survived the vetting process for selection by lot.

    The PPC has sixteen members.  According to the posting above, three are selected by nomination from the congregation and two are selected by the pastor.  How are the other eleven members selected?  How long do their terms run?

    I believe that OLHC’s PPC is a secretive and self-perpetuating group stacked with Fr. Cuenin’s personal friends and supporters.  It does not represent the OLHC community as a whole.  The present council should be abolished and replaced.

  • It sure looks like a system that Fr. Cuenin, Larry Kessler and Rosa Buffone and friends can work to their advantage. I know in my parish,St. Bridget’s, Framingham, we receive nomination forms to fill out and return the next week. Then the names of 10 people who received the most nominations are listed , with a brief biography that they themselves have given to the secretary,in a special bulletin insert and we choose five(I think that’s the number) out of the 10 to be on the PPC. So all parishioners have a chance to vote.  I don’t think that the lottery system of OLHC fulfills the requirement to have parishioners vote for the members.

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