Shavertown Parish Wants Priest Back St. Therese's Petition Will Appeal to Bishop

By Margaret Matray
The Citizen's Voice [Pennsylvania]
June 17, 2006

A teal spiral notebook containing more than 200 signatures could help answer parishioners' prayers and bring Monsignor J. Peter Crynes home.

Or so Donald Secor and his fellow parishioners hope.

Secor put the notebook in the vestibule of Shavertown's St. Therese's Church several days after Crynes, the church's former pastor, resigned two weeks ago amid sexual misconduct allegations. A place card next to the notebook explains that it is meant to show support for Crynes "because we have all made mistakes."

The petition, which asks for Crynes' return to the parish, will be given to Bishop Joseph Martino at the end of the month if Secor still believes it's necessary, he said.

"I've already volunteered to hand it to him personally," the 77-year-old Shavertown resident said. Secor has been a member of the parish for more than 40 years and administered Holy Eucharist at masses with Crynes for 12 years.

The Diocese of Scranton announced Thursday that the Rev. James Paisley, current pastor of St. Maria Goretti Church in Laflin, will take over as St. Therese's pastor July 6. The reassignment was part of a larger announcement that provided 36 new clergy appointments. While appointments such as Paisley's will move pastors to different parishes, others will put pastors in charge of multiple parishes or give them emeritus status.

The diocese has announced seven parish restructurings since the end of May. William Genello, communications director for the diocese, said a priest shortage is one of the "principal factors" creating the need for restructuring. While nine priests will retire this year, only two will be ordained, Genello said.

Paisley said he would not comment on his reassignment because "feelings are so deeply hurt right now."

Secor said St. Therese's is hurting as well. Parishioners there miss their former pastor, whom Secor calls "one heck of a man." No one in the parish has been given new information about the ongoing investigation involving Crynes.

"We're still as much in the dark as we were the day he disappeared from our midst," Secor said.

Genello said no information could be released about Crynes, the ongoing investigation, the accusations or the two women who filed them. He said he doesn't know when additional information will be available.

Secor said Crynes asked parishioners in an e-mail not to write to the bishop, but Secor put the notebook in the vestibule to "get it off my chest." He said he would wait to see if more signatures are added to the book in the next few weeks before sending it to Martino. Although the parish would like to see Crynes return, Secor said it would welcome Paisley as the new pastor.

"He's walking into a great parish and we wish him well. We'll do everything we can to help him," Secor said. "But we are heartbroken. I don't know if there's any repairing the people's hearts."


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