Catholic Clergy Transfers

Parishioners and staff of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral in downtown Houston are hurt and angry. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo is transferring the rector (pastor), Fr. Troy Gately. Bad timing, they say; he just completed construction of the new cathedral, and has started renovating a new administrative center (the former Federal Reserve Building). Why pull a pastor in the middle of such a campaign, they ask?

Troy says he didn’t seek the new position (as pastor of St. John Vianney, one of Houston’s largest and wealthiest parishes). He says he declined when asked. But when it was no longer a question, he had no choice–you obey.

As some who comment note, the Catholic church is not a democracy. Priests don’t stay in parishes forever (though Gately’s predecessor at St. John Vianney, Fr. Morphin, seemed to). There is one person in charge in a parish, the pastor (all boards are “advisory only”), and there is only one person in charge of a diocese, the bishop. Some have learned it is wiser to do a lot of consulting, and to have open conversations with people.

The new rector will be Fr. Lawrence Jozwiak, currently Judicial Vicar for the archdiocese.