Here's the letter an OLL parishioner has given me permission to publish on the blog. He sent this to Msgr. Lisante last November in order to share his legitimate concerns over the appointment of Mr. Peter Rapanaro as music minister at Our Lady of Lourdes parish---despite the fact that, as has been meticulously documented on this blog he directed the blasphemous and obscene 2002 off-Broadway production of "My Big Gay Italian Wedding" at the Actor's Playhouse in Greenwich Village.
As noted in the last post, this excellent letter was never answered by the Monsignor. It's simply unfathomable that the man who sent such a sincere, sympathetic and courteous letter was completely ignored by the Lisante Team. Here was a parishioner who clearly would have been a valuable ally of the new pastor if his concerns had only been addressed in some way.
I congratulate the author on his fine Christian attempt to iron out this conflict.
It is with great unfortunate sadness that I feel compelled to inform you that, after being a loyal and constant spiritual and financial supporter of the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes for the past ten years, I feel obligated to temporarily divert my weekly donations to other worthy Catholic charities.
My family and I are having great difficulty reconciling our feelings toward a recent change at the parish, and I am simply taking this opportunity to explain myself.
My young family and I are in no way opposed to change or reform in any way per se. In many mundane and otherwise situations, the phrase,“There’s always room for improvement” can be effectively applied with successful and positive results. Originally my wife and I were very happy to learn of your appointment to Our Lady of Lourdes, and eagerly awaited the ways in which you would become a new and exciting addition to our beautiful, devoted spiritual family.
I have continued to attend masses and functions at Our Lady of Lourdes since your arrival, and have observed changes and alterations of varying degrees in the parish accompanied by your weekly addresses in the bulletin. I have seen most of these changes as either basically cosmetic, or simply a different point of view, and have been able to continue to support you and your vision of how we can all move on and live and love in the Lord together.
Unfortunately, the incident that has left me unable to negotiate my continued financial support of the parish is the employment of Mr. Peter Rapanaro. I have no personal problem with Mr. Rapanaro; the Lord has blessed him with a wonderful gift, and using such a gift to serve both God and man is truly the worthiest of endeavors. Nevertheless, my predicament based on the current situation remains unaffected. The facts remain that Mr. Rapanaro is currently a public advocate for homosexual marriage, and is simultaneously receiving monies from the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes through his employment. This I cannot support.
In the past, my wife and I have given Our Lady of Lourdes all the financial support we possibly could. As much or as little as it could be at times, we knew it was our responsibility nonetheless. We realize full well that heating the church in the winter costs money; cooling it in the summer costs money; keeping the food pantry stocked costs money; maintaining the school costs money; and the lists goes on and on. We are happy to sacrifice all we can for these more than worthy causes.
Mr. Rapanaro continues to advertise proudly his directorships of both of his blasphemous theatrical productions throughout various media, especially his biographical summaries released and posted by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (of which he is on the board of directors), and those printed on his recordings on compact disc.
Not once have I heard Mr. Rapanaro denounce his associations with these productions in any way, and he himself has issued nothing resembling any type of retraction of his past affiliations. His silence speaks volumes.
In a way, I can appreciate the precarious position in which Mr. Rapanaro currently finds himself. On one hand, he is a part of the world of professional musical theatre, which is in large part populated by a great number of homosexuals. This is not just a colorful stereotype; it is a fact. I’m sure Mr. Rapanaro feels that if he publicly denounces homosexual marriage, he will alienate himself from that world, and lose the friends, acquaintances, employment, and performance opportunities that go along with it.
On the other hand, if he continues to maintain his support for homosexual marriage, by his current silence or otherwise, it will bring him and any Church which permanently employs him nothing but trouble. I can see how Mr. Rapanaro might feel like he is “between a rock and a hard place.” This unfortunately does not change the fact that no man may serve two masters.
Once again, I have absolutely no problem with Mr. Rapanaro dedicating his time and talent to the good people of Our Lady of Lourdes in any way he sees fit. I do have a problem when the Church takes the money that I donate and uses it to employ an outspoken public advocate for homosexual marriage.
How can the Church tell me not to vote for candidates for public office that promote homosexual marriage, and then turn around and put a publicly outspoken advocate for homosexual marriage on the payroll?
As long as Mr. Rapanaro financially profits from his employment and affiliation with Our Lady of Lourdes, either through direct payment or through the “mandatory wedding and funeral vocalist” arrangement, I will have to send my weekly donations elsewhere. The Lord will not be denied His share of that with which He has blessed me and my family, but at least for now, Our Lady of Lourdes will have to be.
I am only one parishioner, and my wife, son, and daughter, and I are only one small family, but we will continue to pray for you and your continued success at Our Lady of Lourdes. So far, my family and I have appreciated all the things you have done for us and our parish, and look forward to your continued leadership and service to make Our Lady of Lourdes the vigorous and vibrant “welcoming” parish it can be.
We will also continue to pray for Mr. Rapanaro, in the hopes that he will someday reconcile what he has done in the past, and as long as he is a public figure in the Church, publicly align himself with the Lord and the catechism of the Catholic Church.
I look forward to resuming my weekly donations to Our Lady of Lourdes with great eagerness as soon as this situation has been resolved.
Again, I want to publicly applaud this letter-writer for his charity and kindness. This was an exemplary overture on his part to find the best way possible out of an unfortunate situation, with genuine compassion and sympathy for all involved. It's a lasting pity his very earnest attempt to reach a solution fell on deaf ears