Fr. Michael Rodriguez Responds to Bishop Ochoa
The following is a press release from Fr. Michael Rodriguez concerning the unprecedented legal action taken by (his) Bishop Armando Ochoa against him (I formatted the press release to eliminate spaces, content has not been touched or changed):
On January 12, 2012, Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, Administrator of the Diocese of El Paso, filed a lawsuit against me. Once again, I want to reiterate that his action is dishonest and unjust. I pose the simple question: over the course of the past 9 ½ years, who is the one who has been laboring, struggling, sacrificing day and night, and caring for the spiritual and material well-being of San Juan Bautista Catholic Church? Has it been Fr. Michael Rodríguez or Most Rev. Armando Ochoa? Based on the factual record, which of the two has greater credibility when it comes to protecting and furthering the spiritual and material patrimony of San Juan Bautista?
Over the course of my 9 ½ years as parish administrator of San Juan Bautista, by the grace and mercy of God, the following spiritual goods were “achieved”:
1) Restoration of the glorious Traditional Latin Mass
2) Gradual restoration of the Catholic Church’s sacred language, Latin
3) Gradual restoration of Gregorian Chant and sacred music
4) Devout and worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist on the tongue and kneeling, accompanied by preparatory and thanksgiving prayers
5) Silence at Holy Mass and a real catholic sense of the sacred
6) Modest dress and reverent behavior at Holy Mass and inside church
7) Two daily Masses at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
8. Holy Hours with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at least four times per week
9) Regularly-scheduled Confessions at least five times per week; Confession available at any time, day or night, by appointment
10) Stations of the Cross every Friday in both english (12:30 p.m.) and spanish (6:45 p.m.)
11) Parish Lenten Missions in both english and spanish
12) Numerous vocations to the priesthood and religious life
13) Christ the King, Corpus Christi, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Processions through the neighborhood
14) In addition to the standard Catechism and Sacramental Preparation classes which most parishes have (at San Juan, these classes took place on Saturdays and Sundays), there were Classes in the Faith for the entire parish (in both english and spanish) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I personally taught one class every Tuesday evening, and two on Thursday evenings
15) Promotion of many Marian devotions, e.g. parish novenas to Our Lady of Sorrows and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, First Saturday prayers to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
16) Promotion of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima
17) Daily recitation of the Holy Rosary
18) First Friday devotions
19) First Saturday devotions. I personally led these every First Saturday of the month from 6:30-7:30 a.m.
20) I gave a monthly “mini-retreat” (in spanish) on First Saturdays for the Guadalupanas and other interested parishioners from 8:45-11:30 a.m, consisting of the Holy Rosary and a workshop on prayer.
21) Special First Saturday of the month Mass at 1:00 a.m. to help the faithful fulfill the requirements of the First Five Saturdays.
22) Holy Rosary every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. prior to Holy Mass
23) Holy Rosary every Saturday evening at 4:30 p.m. prior to Holy Mass
24) Different devotions and chaplets prayed after every weekend Mass
25) All-day Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on First Fridays
26) All-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on First Fridays
27) Devotion to the Precious Blood on Thursday nights at 11:00 p.m.
28) At least weekly, I personally took Holy Communion to the sick & homebound of the parish
29) A daily Procession through the neighborhood on the Rogation Days (the three days prior to Ascension Thursday)
30) Promotion of abstinence of meat on every Friday of the year and promotion of the penitencial aspect of every Friday of the year
Tragically, since my removal from San Juan Bautista on Sept. 20, 2011, it is not an exaggeration to say that none of the above exists anymore at San Juan Bautista. It is absolutely shocking! Masses have been cancelled. Confessions and Holy Hours have been cancelled, etc. Can anyone, anyone, seriously think that the diocese is carrying out its “sacred duty” to safeguard the spiritual goods of San Juan Bautista anywhere close to what Fr. Michael Rodríguez was doing?
San Juan Bautista is a poor parish, and the weekly Sunday collection before my arrival in May 2002, was usually less than $1,000.00. Over the course of my 9 ½ years as parish administrator, by the grace and mercy of God, the following building projects were achieved:
1) A beautiful, new tabernacle
2) An initial renovation of the sanctuary including a new addition for the tabernacle, new statues, a new communion rail, and a new marble floor
3) The installation of two magnificent, new Church bells
4) Complete renovation of the parish kitchen, including a brand new tile floor and new cabinets
5) Renovation of the parish hall storage garage with new cabinets
6) A completely new tile floor for the parish hall
7) A new porch for the parish hall
8. A brand new roof for the Church
9) All the Church and parish hall air-conditioning units were replaced with new ones
10) Exterior renovation of the Church: two new side entry ramps to the Church with railing
11) Exterior renovation of the Church: a new side-porch to the Church
12) Completely new asphalt for the entire Church parking lot
13) New exterior lighting for the Church and parking lot
14) An entirely new storage building-complex behind the rectory
15) A beautiful new GROTTO to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe with multiple shrines, a fountain, an altar, plaques, gardens
[still in the process of being completed when I was transferred]
16) The renovation of the sanctuary and a new high altar according to the norms of the ancient form of the Roman Rite
[still in its intial stages when I was transferred]
Can anyone, anyone, seriously think that the diocese is carrying out its “sacred duty” to safeguard the temporal goods of San Juan Bautista anywhere close to what Fr. Michael Rodríguez was doing?
Please continue to entrust me to loving protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Immaculate and Sorrowful Mother.
Fr. Michael Rodríguez
Parochial Vicar, Santa Teresa de Jesús Catholic Church