To the Editor:
In my opinion, Ms. Essomba is wrong to attack the motives of those who contributed to The WIRE’s article’s article about Fr. [Peter] Miqueli (Letter, September 26). Though I was not a source for the article, I am one of the parishioners who left Cabrini because of Fr. Miqueli’s conduct.
Sister Regina was liked and respected by many Islanders, especially the young. I won’t repeat the slanderous statements that Fr. Miqueli made about her, but many parishioners – and other Islanders – were upset by them. Some Catholics stopped coming to mass at Cabrini. For me personally, the last straw was Fr. Miqueli’s failure to say a memorial mass for Fr. Gorman, Cabrini’s pastor for 14 years. There was no mass, even though Fr. Miqueli had promised one to parishioners, the Gorman family, and even The WIRE. When a group of parishioners organized a ceremony honoring Fr. Gorman on the first anniversary of his death, Fr. Miqueli publicly attacked us for doing so. Fed up, I joined another parish and wrote a letter to the archdiocese, detailing some of the things Fr. Miqueli had done that I considered inappropriate.
Five years later, my daughter got engaged, and she needed her baptismal certificate from Cabrini to marry in the Church. Fr. Miqueli came up with one reason after another as to why he wouldn’t surrender the certificate. It became evident that Fr. Miqueli was going to try to force my daughter to get married at Cabrini – despite the fact that my daughter and her fiancé lived in England. After weeks of trying to get the baptismal certificate from Fr. Miqueli, I asked a priest in my new parish for advice. He suggested I contact a specific person in the hierarchy. Less than an hour after I provided the information to that contact, Fr. Miqueli left me a message saying I could have the certificate. Because of this experience, I believe the anecdote in the article about Fr. Miqueli tearing up the baptismal certificate of a woman who wanted to get married in another parish.
Fr. Miqueli is now in a different parish. Some of his opponents at St. Frances de Chantal [in the Bronx] are no longer contributing to collections because they think that Fr. Miqueli is taking money from the collections for purposes unrelated to the parish. I have no personal knowledge as to whether he is, but since there were allegations that Fr. Miqueli stole money from Cabrini, I think the allegations should be investigated, and not immediately dismissed as the work of a small group of disgruntled parishioners who don’t support their parish financially.
To argue that The WIRE would not have published the article if the same allegations were made about a rabbi or imam is unfair. To contend that the authors acted with animus toward the Church is just plain silly. (I know Linda Heimer, one of the authors of the WIRE article, as a good person and good Catholic.) I wrote to the archdiocese about Fr. Miqueli over a decade ago. I know that other parishioners complained as well. Yet, the problems persist. Maybe it’s time to try other avenues. Even if Ms. Essomba and others think publishing the article was wrong, attacking the motives of those who believe otherwise is inappropriate. They too love the Church.
Joan M. Markey
To The Editor:
I’ve been taking yoga, taught by Islander Lauren Blankstein and offered through the Beacon program, for three years. Class took place on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., perfect for residents who work. Lauren’s class was very well attended, and because it was in the PS/IS 217 cafeteria, it had a beautiful setting for a restorative, end-of-the-week class. Viewing the city lights and skyline from the safety of the Island is a wonderful experience.
Unfortunately, due to change in personnel at Beacon – Kim Massey, whom Lauren describes as a wonderful person, is no longer there – Lauren told us that she doesn’t know what will happen to the program. She said that she has gotten no response from current Beacon management, and isn’t clear about whether or not she’ll be teaching this year. It’s already October, and we’re in limbo, waiting. Can someone at the Youth Center please give Lauren the okay to start the class up again?
To the Editor:
The facts in The WIRE’s September 12 story about Fr. Miqueli have been challenged by a Cabrini parishioner who has accused the authors of “brainwashing and manipulative gossip.” I deeply question just who has been brainwashed and manipulated. The writer’s defense of her pastor rests upon the delusional assertion that “people have a problem with Fr. Miqueli because he doesn’t try to impress them.” Ironically, in his current parish in the Bronx, Fr. Miqueli has referred to himself, in front of witnesses, as “the King of St. Frances”.
As a faithful Catholic, it is almost impossible for me to find the words to relate how our current pastor at St. Frances de Chantal has systematically destroyed the financial health and, more importantly, the spiritual life of our beloved parish and her people. This is a man who has repeatedly and proudly stated that he has a protector in the hierarchy of the Archdiocese of New York and, therefore, he need not engage with parishioners who displease the “king”. From his first days here, he has engaged in deceit. He began his tenure with the lie that he had to share his time with the Cabrini parish to assist in their transition. Patently untrue! He was spending his “transition” at the Jersey Shore at his personal residence, a mortgage-free home, purchased for $265,000 in 2009 while he was pastor of the Roosevelt Island parish.
Our “king” has emptied our rectory of witnesses to his questionable activities. He denies his parishioners’ requests for meetings. He deletes parishioners from the church roster if their donations do not rise to the level that satisfies the “king”. This ‘man of God’ dismisses any volunteer who voices doubts of any kind about what this pastor has done to our parish. No usher may assist...No Extraordinary Minister may serve...No lector may speak...No rosary may be recited...No activity may be conducted...without the royal approval of this disgraceful pastor/king.
The writer further asserts that “These allegations and attacks against Fr. Miqueli are led by a small group of bitter individuals on Roosevelt Island and in the Bronx who feel that the Catholic Church is their personal possession to use, abuse, and take advantage of.” In truth, Fr. Miqueli is the very personification of that description. In both parishes entrusted to his care, he plundered them financially and, more unforgivably, abandoned them spiritually. We faithful Catholics of St. Frances de Chantal are neither small nor are we bitter. We are parishioners who are trying to protect our parish and, indeed, the Church itself, from the evil that has been visited upon us in the person of Peter Miqueli.
Fr. Miqueli has been given every chance by his parishioners to set things right, to tell us how we are mistaken. Many parishioners have directly asked him to meet with them, either individually or as a collective. Fr. Miqueli is too craven to deliver his refusal in person. He appoints his deacon to deliver all the unpleasant and, often, unjust rejections. I write this letter as one of hundreds of heartbroken parishioners who continue to be ignored, despite their many signatures on online petitions, hundreds of online postings of personal experiences, and dozens of letters to the New York Archdiocese. I withhold my name because of the vindictive actions frequently exercised against us by Fr. Miqueli.
To the Editor:
I know you are always looking for breathless items about Island activity. However, some of us lead ordinary lives out of touch with the breathless.
How about asking readers to report the latest boat/ship traffic they’ve seen on the river?
It might encourage people, including smaller people, to look up from their cell phones while they’re outside.
Such a commonplace matter could grow into an interesting small news segment about East River sightings.
A typical commonplace ship event: On Wednesday, the tug Dorothy J went by the Island pushing a large no-name flat-top work barge, loaded with Rizzo construction equipment, south against the incoming tide.
David J. Bauer