PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A letter mailed out to parishioners in a Catholic church is raising some eyebrows.
Reverend Robert Grecco says he’s trying to clean up the church rolls and tell who is and who is not a real parishioner in light of a future merger.
But one man who got the letter said it’s too harsh and he feels like he was being shamed.
“I had to sit down,” said Rich Poploski of Bridgeville.
“I had tight pit feeling in my stomach, like you are not worth it. It hurt.”
Poploksi of Bridgeville showed KDKA the letter he received Monday from Reverend Robert Grecco of St. Simon and Jude Parish on Greentree Road.
In it, it points out the benefits of membership, including taking sacraments.
But the part that hits a nerve for Poploski: you may not be attending regularly or even “financially supporting the work of the parish during the past three years.” The letter also says he may be attending Mass at a closer parish.
The letter ends by saying, “As of this date your registration at SS. Simon & Jude parish has been cancelled.”
“It made me feel a way that I don’t feel the church should make anyone feel,” Poploski said.
The Pittsburgh Diocese tells us they announced every parish in the Pittsburgh region will be consolidated with two or more churches.
Reverend Grecco tells KDKA he sent the letter in light of a future merger with two other Catholic parishes in the South Hills area. He wants to nail down membership.
“The letter was sent with the intention of determining who was still a registered member. Before merging the three parishes in our grouping, I wanted to be sure of real numbers and to address the financial needs.”
Reverend Grecco does leave room for parishioners to call back if there is some misunderstanding.
Still, for Poploski, he feels shamed for not contributing and feels like the Reverend could have used a different way to tell him the news.
“I guess it’s questioning what I’ve learned. What I believe. What I’m supposed to believe.”
Poploski says he doesn’t plan to leave the parish.
A Pittsburgh Diocese spokesperson told KDKA this type of letter is not sanctioned by them. It’s up to the priest to decide how they want to run their church.
The letter, given to KDKA reads in full:
“Our membership records indicate that, although you reside in an area beyond our boundaries, you are registered at SS. Simon & Jude parish. They also indicate that you may not be attending Mass here in a regular fashion or even financially supporting the work of the parish during the past three years.
Registration in the parish, among other criteria, is required for approval to act as a godparent for baptism or a sponsor for confirmation. Registration can assist you in scheduling a wedding ceremony in our beautiful church building. The most important and necessary benefit of your registration is reception of the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, and participation in the life of this parish.
You may be attending Mass in a parish close to your residence, and if you have joined another parish community I wish you well. As of this date your registration at SS. Simon & Jude parish has been cancelled. If this has been done in error, please contact me at the phone number listed above.”