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Priest at St. Sebastian’s Church Comes Under Fire, Allegations of Financial Impropriety

Protesters Lined Up Outside St. Sebastian’s on Sunday (Photo: Ethan T., Woodside)

July 5, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

About 40 protesters have been turning up outside St. Sebastian’s Church in Woodside on recent Sundays accusing a priest of failing to disclose parish finances and for playing a role in the exit of a fellow clergy member.

The protests, which have been dismissed by the church as unfounded, target Father Kevin Abels. The protesters say that Abels has not been transparent about the amount raised from weekly church collections and was involved in the removal of Father Joey Francisco from the 58-02 Roosevelt Ave. church.

“Father Kevin, we want you out,” read one sign at last Sunday’s protest. “Father Kevin be a leader,” reads another. Another protester carried a sign: “Boycott Church Collection.”

Abels has also been the subject of harsh comments on social media.

In a statement, the Brooklyn Diocese, which serves the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, said that the allegations directed toward Abels were baseless. It noted that its financial reports are publicly available and that they are closely monitored by parish and finance councils, along with trustees and accountants.

Father Kevin Abdels

The 2017-2018 Annual Report has been issued and those leading the protests are now asking for the 2019 report, when the Diocesan fiscal year does not end until August 2019,” according to a statement issued by the Diocese.

The Diocese argues that the allegations about St. Sebastian’s finances are motivated by people upset by Francisco’s departure.

“The protests have been sparked by the fact that the diocese decided not to incardinate Father Joey Francisco and has asked him to return to his home diocese in the Philippines, which he has not yet done,” a Diocese spokesperson said.

Some protesters claim that the St. Sebastian’s used to disclose in its bulletin the amount of funds generated by its weekly collection but that Abels brought a stop to it.

The Diocese, however, says these allegations are untrue.

In a statement, the Diocese said: “In the five years that Father Kevin Abels has been the Pastor at St. Sebastian’s, and as was the case with the Pastor before him, there has never been a weekly or monthly publication of the finances in the bulletin. It has always been done on an annual basis.”

Father Joey Francisco

The church said that the protests have made no impact on its day-to-day operations or on its parishioners.

“Parishioners are not fazed by this small handful of unfounded opposition, nor has the weekly collection been affected,” the Diocese said. “The people who attend Mass regularly, and are part of the St. Sebastian community, know that the financials are monitored.”

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71 Comments

Anonymous

This is one of the few parishes that does not report the weekly collections. It is very unfortunate for Fr. Abels.

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Michael D

I am a member of the parish for over thirty-five years, and I have seen a lot of pastors come and go. Currently, the parishioners of St. Sebastian are racially and ethnically diverse, and it appears to me that Fr. Abels is very accommodating in regard to the different ways people have of worshiping at the church; the church has numerous groups, and there is a lot of church activities geared to accommodating all traditions. It is very difficult to keep everybody happy, and you will always have some people believing that the pastor is favoring one person or group over another.
I don’t know what the real story is in regard to the departure of Fr. Joey, but clearly it was not handled well by Fr. Abels. However, I believe it is shameful that a group of Filipinos demonstrate with placards hiding their faces on the plaza opposite the church, and this group and their supporters are alleging all kinds of malfeasance, without proof, by Fr. Abels; this is not a very Christian way for supposed church people to behave. Clearly, their goal is to embarrass Fr. Abels and force the diocese to remove him; I hope the diocese does not kowtow to this group, who are not representative of the Filipino community, but who are actually making that community look bad. I am all for accommodating people’s different ways of worshiping, but we should not stand for any group holding the church hostage and trying to dominate everybody else in the parish.
We have enough political division in this country already, and we don’t need this kind of acrimony in the church; not every decision that goes against your group is based on discrimination, and unless you have proof of discriminatory intent and or wrongdoing by Fr. Abels, what you are doing in the way you are trying to destroy his reputation and ministry is wrong and immoral. None of us, priest or laity, is perfect, and we need to work together to resolve any issue.

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Anonymous

While your statement makes sense, how do you know for sure that what people were claiming were true or untrue? The diocese and a third party should really do serious investigation about Kevin’s whereabouts and wrong doings that people have put out.

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Long Time Parishioner

Michael D…. some of your comments make sense from a spiritual standpoint. However, not that many can say as to whether people’s comments/allegations are true or not. It is normal that people speak up and do such kind of actions. Therefore, it should not be taken lightly. And this is when the diocese or the bishop and perhaps a third party (independent) should come into play. Thorough investigations should be done in this case. Something has to be said and done if there are things a pastor of a parish is doing wrong. Someone has to speak otherwise things will just continue and will get worse. If no one says anything and let things go, nothing will ever be resolved. Again, someone who is unbiased and high authority should intervene. And if wrongdoings are found, they must be corrected.

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Michael D

I don’t have all the facts, and I doubt if many others have all the facts either; therefore, in my post, I never concluded that something is not awry here, and I am not against investigating any and all alleged wrongdoing by the church. What I am against is a bunch of people writing up all kinds of wrongdoings by the pastor on placards and holding them up in front of their faces to hide their identities. It appears to me that allegations are being made against the pastor that have nothing to do with the departure of Fr. Joey, and everybody is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. We have freedom of speech in this country, but it is subject to certain restrictions, and we do have slander and libel laws. Apart from the foregoing restrictions, I believe that most parishioners believe it is inappropriate and hypocritical for a small group of supposed church people to demonstrate and hold their nasty signs alleging all kinds of malfeasance by the pastor, while saying prayers opposite St. Sebastian church. Investigate all you want, but do not attempt to destroy a man’s reputation by gossiping and unproven charges just because you do not like a decision that you perceive as discriminatory against your group. If you have an ax to grind, do not abuse the freedoms you have in this country, freedoms you do not currently have in the Philippines.

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Anonymous

Speak only for yourself and don’t speak for others.
Your comment is soooooo ridiculous!!!!!

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Lou M

As parishioners of St Sebastian, we need to know the truth, aside from what Fr Kevin is saying, we also want to hear from Fr Joel.
Fr Joel is beloved by most of the Filipino church goers and also a very good priest. We are really sad that he was not anymore part of St Sebastian.

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Ed

As a guest/visiting priest Fr. Joel had to undergo a certain process called incardination. This is conducted at the diocesan level. The result of this was negative. Fr Joel was not incardinated in this Dioscese. Ergo, he has to leave. The main pastor has nothing to do with this. It happened that Fr Joel was close to a group of Filipinos. Let it be known that even before Fr Joel came to this parish, there was already an existing faction among Filipinos (sad but through but that’s how split-level Christianity works). Now when Fr Joel was”ousted” as they would claim, they put the blame to the main Pastor who had nothing to do with it. To Fr Joel, you know everything and every detail why you were denied incardination….tell it to these people who are protesting. But anyway, to accuse Fr Abel of many things, example, finances, the parish has an able accountant.To Fr Abel, I believe in your leadership. You do not have to listen to these people. There are just few of them, though recently, they are inviting activist organizations to join and support them in their “cause”. THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL.

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The story now

From the standpoint of the now majority of St. Sebastian’s sizable Filipino population:

Few, even the Filipino parishioners, now believe that money was taken, despite an appearance of a lavish lifestyle. But Abels has alienated the majority of Filipino members by telling all, at many masses, that he had nothing to do with the “firing.”

Abels had him sent back. The Diocese took the heat. There is no way Francisco would be sent back with no explanation without Abels. The information the Diocese gets is from Abels. Even if personal issues made it hard to work together, Abels would have been able to help relocate Francisco. He would be welcome elsewhere in a faith needing priests.

Abels also made a gesture in public, pulling a finger across his throat and pointing at Francisco. He was signaling that the demonstrations should halt. Arrogance seems to now be the problem. More arrogance is coming from Abels than Francisco.

Francisco has had no serious problems until now, at 55 years old, here in the states a long time.

Abels has thus far refused to meet with Filipino community members who have already started to boycott St. Sebastian’s.

As this spreads, it will grow into a worse situation.

Abels is an experienced, competent priest who needs to repair this problem.

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insider

There are many other priests from the Philippines who are sought after to stay in the US. There is a shortage of priests. Francisco has no takers.

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Jim

I don’t know this Father Joey but that sounds like an unreasonable comment to make unless you have some evidence to back it up. You have not supplied any in this comment.

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Ed

EXACTLY! He got transferred from one place to another. One should question that! Even if he speaks well during his homily, but the question remains….why was he not incardinated the many dioceses he has been in the US. Do not blame the main pastor at San Sebastian.

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Parishoner

It’s very difficult to feel motivated to give in the Sunday collections when we can’t get decent music at the mass. I mean, the guy can play the organ, but he can’t sing very well. Come on Fr. Kevin, can’t you hire a good cantor? Monsignor Finnerty did it; why can’t you?

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Juju Lulut

Agree!!!! Cantor/organist style is too much of a country western style instead of church like.

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Juju Lulut

Agree!!! Definitely, St. Sebastian can use a real decent cantor.
Good music with good cantor would bring a real church atmosphere. Good cantor means someone who has a refine voice who can sing church music with reverence. Reverence is the key to a church atmosphere, not with country style singing.

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Anonymous

Fr. Kevin does not care about spending money on hiring a good cantor. He would rather spend money on going to different fancy restaurants than concentrating on the most important for the parish. He even posted facebook all the restaurants he went to show off. Hope he’s been spending his own money. It’s hard to believe that he would have so much to spend with whatever he makes. Hope the money being spend for showing off is not the church’s money. Also, some people in the neighborhood suspect that he favors Fr. Cyril as he played up to him. Cyril bowed down to Kevin’s nonsense. So he would rather have Cyril than Fr. Joey

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Anonymous

You don’t appear to be well informed regarding St. Sebastian’s. Fr. Cyril has finished his studies and has returned to his home diocese in India.

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Anonymous

It may not appear to be the case, but I have been well informed. I am aware of what has been going on at St. Sebastian for a very long time. Fr. Kevin likes to gossip especially to the filipinos whom he goes out with to EAT. He dislikes a lot of individuals who are assertive who could tell him off. This could be one of the reasons why he can’t get along with other priests. As to Cyril, I knew he went back to his country. While he was here in Woodside, he bowed down to Fr. Abels, thinking that he could be sponsored to stay in the US. While Kevin does not have that authority, Cyril had no choice. However, the only chance that Kevin may be able to get Cyril back is to get rid of Joey. So I won’t be surprise if Kevin works in this direction to try to get a priest who would bow down to his nonsense like Cyril

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Ed

Unfounded! Your thoughts are like that of those FEW rallyists. All PRODUCTS of GOSSIPS!!!

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Parishioner

Yes, I agree. Especially the choir at 10:30am on Sundays. They are always out of tune, it’s like some kind of bad singing club. It is so painful and distracting to listen to. They should get rid of that choir. Even just listening to the one singer is better then listening to that choir.

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Try Q of A...

Find a way to get to Queen of Angels… The lady who sings on Saturday evenings is amazing. The Easter vigil is breathtaking. The organist is separate from the singing (it’s not the same person)

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John

Really amazing how people can’t accept the fact that a priest’s term has ended. When a priest gets assigned to a parish, there is always a chance that they will get moved. This is the case with Fr. Joey. We need to accept that! Unfortunately, all the good priests get moved early as was the case with Fr. Carlos and Fr. Gerard. We just need to move on and stop with the chaotic protest. It’s bad enough we live in a divided world where liberals and conservatives battle each other. Why do we have to carry this over into the Catholic Church??

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Jim

John, in today’s world parishioners feel that they have a right to be part of an open church that will keep them informed of not only changes but also why there are changes. You can’t close people down by saying they should just except and not question. Even if you feel discussion or debate is unpleasant ( and it sometimes is I agree ), the parish community still needs to have that open discussion.

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Juju Lulut

Yes, good priests like Fr. Gerard got moved.
This goes without saying that St. Sebastian is stocked with an inexperienced priest who cannot run a parish as smooth as the good ones who got re-assigned.

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Woodsider

This seems to be a case of the neighborhood ethnicities changing and wanting the leader of there church to reflect that. I grew up in Woodside at St. Sebastians , and I’ve seen many diffrent priests and pastors come and go but at no point did I ever see protestors. It’s sad to see that knowing that Kevin is a good man and leader. Hopefully you can all realize the word of god is all the same no matter who reads it. Good luck to everyone involved. Ps does anyone else remember monsignor finnerty? Great guy but he used to have those collections going around like 5 times a mass lol

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Long Term Parishoner

I was around during Msgr. Finnerty’s time. And actually, we used to only have two collection on ONE Sunday per month. Other Sundays, only one collection. This two collections per week started when Msgr. Hardiman took over. And the funny thing is, Msgr. Finnerty made VAST improvements to the parish with just one collection, such as renovating the church ceiling, buying a new organ, and building the church’s parking lot. Now, that we have two collections per week, no improvements are being made. Just a useless Baptismal Font in the middle of the church (which is an odd location and in the way since it’s so large) and lots of new statues. Really ridiculous ways to spend church donations when you compare how well Msgr. Finnerty improved things.

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Al

The recipients for the second collection is stated on the face of the envelope. It doesn’t go to the parish. Regarding the cantor and organists, it’s the music director who chose them. It was Fr. Kevin though who had the final say when the parish hired the music director. Nathalie, is indeed a good music director and Cantor but she doesn’t play the organ or piano. As the music director of Queen of Angels she does the Church proud. She sings at Saint Sebastian every now and then on Sundays at 6 pm not during summer. It had been Saint Sebastian’s practice during summer for all choirs to go on vacation. We’re lucky that we even have music. Music during mass is inspirational but in the context of the mass the focus is on Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist. Jesus is the focus and the center not the music. He is doing the offering and being offered. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ we have the privilege to give 10percent of our income. Saint Sebastian is only asking for 5 percent. Still I believe majority gives only a few dollars. You give only as you can afford as the saying goes but cheerfully. Why complain then? Protestants are required to give tithes of 10 percent or more. Comparing the buying power of the dollar during the time of Msgr. Finnerty to Fr. Kevin, the , $100(1993) then is now $173. 78 (2018) according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What does this mean, the value of the dollar has decreased. We need to have $173.78 to buy the same goods in 1993 that we boughtfor $100. According to Fr. Kevin it is very significant to note that there are only 600 registered parishioners since he took over and now there are 800. Are you people even one of them? As to Fr. Cyril it is pointless to argue if he wanted to stay in the US. According to him he owes his diocese his service. He loves Saint Sebastian but he loves his diocese more. Even if Fr. Kevin wanted him to stay he has no say in the matter to engage him. I am not aware of any cause why Fr. Joey was not incardinated in the diocese. This is a question you have to pose to the diocese not to the parish. You are giving too much credit to the parish for such clout. Msgr. Hardinan had always responded when asked why we did not have a Filipino priest at Saint Sebastian during his time: he was waiting for any boy from the parish to become a priest before he could ask for him to serve in the parish. Was it just an experiment for a Filipino priest to stay for a little while at Saint Sebastian? Wasn’t it worth the effort at all? I heard several reactions to this from parishioners and insiders. The Filipinos don’t need one since every Filipino can understand English. Then why did they hire a Visayan speaking priest? They should have chosen a Tagalog speaking priest. They want a priest who could hear confession in the dialect. Fr. Joey did this very well. Everyone has the right to ask the diocese why Fr Joey was not incardinated but does it necessitate the disrespect of the current pastor and his removal? Why not remove the current pastoral council as well? The heads of all the ministries? Is anyone willing to take over the responsibilities for such ministries? Remember these are all volunteers. They are not paid. The same people would still be the heads even if the current pastor is removed. These people were chosen by the members. Are you even members of these ministries?I agree that there are heads who seem to lord it over but they are few and far between. I admire and respect a few who are only willing to serve humbly. I also cannot understand why it was possible for a few to have the major clout to dictate how activities can be taken over in Saint Sebastian? Too much clout is given to a few. Whose responsibility was this? Is it the pastor? Is it the council? Why do you need to know how much is the collection? You need to know then the expenses as well. It is only in Short Hills that I have seen no deficit in their statements. In all parishes including mine from the same diocese as Saint Sebastian’s there are only deficits. There is no need to take to the streets to protest. You can always write to Fr. Kevin and request for one. All this politicking is anathema to us who only want to worship and serve. Please stop demonstrating, stop disrespecting the clergy and start asking humbly without aggression for a dialogue between the parish and you or the diocese and you. This could be done calmly and without fanfare.

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Anonymous

Your lengthy statement does not make any sense.
People have every right to express their beliefs, opinions and bring out wrongdoings especially if they are the truth. Someone has to bring the truth out in the open. Otherwise things that are not done right in the parish are just going to continue. Kevin brought a lot of animosity to the parish. He is a gossiper too. A lot of people can witness to that by bringing out the things he talked about to some of the parishioners he go out socially.

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Ed

I agree with you. These FEW protesters do not know how to act in a civil and Christian way. Yes, they have the right to do this, as one would claim elsewhere…..But they should have done this as the last resort when every negotiating table falls apart. This is what GOSSIPS do.

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A.Perez

A RESPONSE TO SUNNYSIDE POST REPORT

First of all, there was malice in the filing of the report of July 5, 2019. It was based on a narrative from one side only – the Pastor’s side, in connivance with the Diocese. Never did the paper approach the people on the other side. The Diocese said that the financial reports are publicly available. So, why the reluctance and trepidation in publishing those reports – not just for a specific year, but also for the immediate past years. What is there to hide?

The Diocese made a huge mistake by saying that “the protests are asking for the 2019 report, which fiscal year does not end until August 2019.” That’s a BIG LIE. Who’s really lying here…the PASTOR or the BISHOPS? Never did the protests ask for the 2019 report. Only an imbecile would think that. They contend that all the allegations are baseless and that finance matters are closely monitored by parish and finance councils, along with trustees and accountants. So, why then does the Parish react with great hesitation? Is it because the Parish’s finances are so much in the red that they are fearful that more people would clamor for general auditing?

“The Diocese also argues that the protests are motivated by people upset by Fr. Francisco’s departure and that he was asked to return to his home diocese in the Phils., which he has not done yet”, according to the Sunnyside Post. Well, first of all, Fr. Francisco is a US Citizen and has every right to stay in this country for as long as he wishes. That is enshrined in the Constitution of this country. If Fr. Francisco’s Archbishop in Davao allows him to exercise his priestly ministry in this country, it’s not the Diocese’s call to command him to return to the Phils. The diocese has every right to choose whom it Incardinates and whom it does not. The real issue about Fr. Francisco is the unjust treatment that he had received from the Diocese: termination without just cause, no observance of due process, the absence of written documentation in all of these and the manner and haste with which the termination was done. It smacked of a conspiracy that one can only see in the movies. I invite everyone to look it up under Canon law 271 §1-3. Be that as it may, that is not the actual issue here. Of course, the Pastor and his minions propagate this lie…supported lamely by the mindless Diocesan leadership, that this is all about Fr. Francisco’s incardination issue.

The people are motivated to raise their grievances against the Pastor because of his questionable behavior related to handling finances, administering parish polices which tend to favor a select group and the way he divides the Filipino community. This is very apparent in this particular case – bringing Fr. Patrick Longalong to the scene, hoping that his being a Filipino and the head of the Filipino Apostolate in the Diocese of Brooklyn, would help mitigate the issues. But, they could not be more mistaken! At the very least, Fr. Longalong, you are causing more division thatn unity. Did you notice the ‘nasty’ exchanges that followed after your statement? Is that the right forum? IOs that what you priests are trained for? Where is now the greatest mission of the Universal Church, according to the Canon law – the salvation fof souls? Or, perhaps, you are so relaxed and secured in your throne right now that you forget some of the teaching of the Church based on Canon law?

We are all starting to think that Fr. Francisco may have uncovered something sinister and dubious in the Pastor’s fiscal activities. One would pause and wonder: the sporty looking car that the Pastor drives – an Acura sedan that costs upwards of $30,000. Is that justifiable? Reliable sources also say that there’s a
recently-purchased house in the Rockaways. Is that within the economic means of a Pastor? We are all aware that Diocesan priests don’t commit to a ‘Vow of Poverty’, but according to Fr. Longalong, in a past article, priests must live a life of reasonable comfort, and not indulge in luxury. While we do not begrudge anyone who has the means to acquire assets, we seriously question it if the only visible source of income is the Cleric’s remuneration. Past reports about catholic priests having a lavish lifestyle traced the sources of funds to unreported donations, endowments and misappropriation of funds. Is Fr. Francisco’s unceremonious dismissal from the Diocese of Brooklyn meant to silence him because he had learned too much during his 2 years and 9 months of stay in the Parish?

Lastly, Mr. Shane O’Brien, to have a fair and balanced reporting of news, which is a very basic tenet of responsible journalism, you should have reached out to people that your source says are ‘misguided and a small handful of opposition’.
We have even reached out to Fr. Abels for a pastoral dialogue but he, at first denied receiving the invitation thru email (A VERY BIG LIE, because his boss in the Diocese received the notice), and then responded later with an agreement to a dialogue, but without a definite date. Procrastinating, a ploy or just another lie?

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John

I am in, in no way, a big fan of Fr. Kevin. I was actually disappointed when he was assigned to St. Sebastian’s mainly because St. Sebastian’s is a large parish and deserves a much older priest with experience as a pastor. But I am not going to just blatantly accuse him of using church’s money to buy a fancy car. What proof do you have that he did that?? Priests have their own money that they are entitled to use for their own personal choice. Everyone here is just making all these allegations just because they are mad about Fr. Joey’s departure. It’s not right. As Catholics, it’s very sinful to judge and hate on Fr. Kevin based on what you think and not what you know. You don’t know the real reason why Fr. Joey’s term ended. No one does. The diocese does not reveal that information and that’s always been the case. So, please stop with the hateful remarks and all the alleged accusations.

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Jim

I agree that unfounded allegations should not be made against anyone. I think it is also true to say if “The diocese does not reveal that information and that’s always been the case”, then the diocese needs to change that policy otherwise they look very suspicious and we get protestors. Trust is a very important thing and sadly many Catholics lost all confidence in the church hierarchy in the last 25 years due to scandals. It’s now up to the the hierarchy to be open and honest with people. There may be nothing sinister in this situation at all but the appearance of a lack of transparency does damage the church.

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John

No, the diocese should not have to change any policy. They don’t reveal information because they shouldn’t have to. These people are men of God and you need to trust that what the diocese does was done through prayer and thoughtful consideration.

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Ed

Let those who accuse someone not undergo in fishing-expedition. If they have the proof why not lay it down. They carry the burden to prove it. By the way, Fr Joey has no takers. He has been to many dioceses. He alone knows the reason why he was not re-incardinated. There are many things involve in this process.

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Sunnysider87

Truly doesn’t shock me, the parish & the school staff have many skeletons. My son was a victim to some heavy racism and bullying at St. Sebastian’s. I never took action, because I believe that no stone stays unturned. This is only half of what will follow.

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Really?

So someone else has to stand up for your child? You are PAYING for your child’s education!

No one is going to go to bat for your bullied child because it’s not their business. There is no protection for the other who help out. You have to be your child’s advocate. If you won’t, what good are you?

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Sunnysider87

Lol, I did stand up. I took him out and we moved on to bigger and better things. He is now leaving high school with honors and a handful of awesome memories and friends. Started his own Club within the school, to have open discussions with other students who went through the same. He is now getting ready to start SUNY purchase in the fall fully confident and brave.

Thank you

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concern member

Why is Father Joey
being sent home after
doing a great job without cause.

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Holy Cannoli

I used to give $5 in collection but with all the bad publicly about priests , I now give one dollar.
No one helped me when times were bad but its ok I got by.

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Anonymous

Anyone who is foolish enough to give a penny 2 any organized religion is a fool, in my opinion… they are tax exempt & the richest organizations in the world. The Catholics (which i was raised one from the 50’s) won’t sell a piece of gold or statue or painting but will ask you for money for just about anything…. while most of money is going for payouts to the abused.

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Tell Richard Carranza we said hi.

So, if our beliefs are different than yours we’re fools. K. But if we say anything against your beliefs the entire world loses its mind?

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Anonymous

No…I said….in my opinion. Comprehend what you read. Difference of opinion is what makes the world go round

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What's there to comprehend?

But I. Your opinion everyone who gives money to organized religion (that’s any religion) is a fool. That’s something you say behind closed doors and not on a public forum talking about religion.

What makes you have the right to your opinion but everyone else who disagrees has no right? How does that make sense?

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Laura & Kieran McManus

God Bless you, Father Kevin! Our hearts and prayers are with you, as you continue to guide our parish with grace and love.

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Choly

Why did Father Kevin revomended Father Joey be asked to go back to the Philippines and be banned to serve in the US? He is an American serving 16 years in the US Churches . Father Kevin discriminates and ruined his career. Father Joey is a loved priest. I hope Father Kevin realize his power should not be used for his personal dislike and ruining a priest life. I pray Father Joey finds another church in the US to serve. He has been a pious priest for 26 years.

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gilgo

Fr Kevin did not ask him to return to the Philippines the Diocese made that request. Did you actually read the article?

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John

What proof do you have that this is Fr. Kevin’s doing?? This was a diocese’s decision to deny an extension on his term. Nothing to to with Fr. Kevin Abels. In fact, it was Fr. Kevin who suggested that a Filipino priest be brought over to St. Sebastian’s since the Filipino community in the parish is large. You should thank Fr. Kevin instead of disparaging him.

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Anonymous

Thank him for WHAT????? ANIMOSITY that he brought to St. Sebastian??? First time in my life I met a priest who likes to GOSSIP and FIGHT.

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Winnie

There should be reform at this Parish. With all this happening, the Diocese should re-evaluate current management so that they will be able to gain back the trust of the parishoners.

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Brendita

Agree!!!!! It’s about time that we get a new mature and humble pastor, not an immature and show off.

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JohnnyWoodside

Father Kevin is the reason my family moved to another parish. When I went recently, I saw they were charging $1 for the Tablet – a free diocesan paper. Enough said.

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Hu Huat Nguyen

Kevin does that very few other priests of any age can do. He is an effective administrator, a capable fundraiser and an authentically compassionate priest, with a realistic worldview.
Parishes usually only print weekly financials when they are not collecting enough to meet their goals. If a parish collections are significant, it would compromise the safety of parish personnel to publicize that specifically large sums of money are collected each week.

Fr. Joey’s grievance raises a greater issue that the media has yet to discover.

There are thousands of Catholic priests in the US who are non-incardinated. This means that their allegiance is to a bishop outside of the diocese where they currently serve. Many of these non-incardinated priests are from dioceses in Africa, Asia, Latin-America, and Europe. While many of them are just like Kevin- hard workers, responsible stewards, honest Christians- a significant number of non-incardinated priests are the complete antithesis. In the case of these kinds of priests, it is likely that their bishop was willing to allow them to minister overseas because their predisposition for problematic behavior had already become evident in their home diocese.

Incardination- which includes the chance to retire in the US, and all the benefits thereunto-is not guaranteed, even for a migrant priest who is responsible, respectful and kind. Some dioceses have upper age limits. Others do not, but if a priest shows any indication that his behavior could become a liability, there is little hope for incardination.

It should be stressed that while there are many wonderful priests ministering in the US who are non-incardinated, there are many non-incardinated (and incardinated ones, of course) who are opportunists, who do the minimum, who abuse, divide and deceive.

Manipulative, opportunist priests-regardless of their origin- spoil it for the good ones. The institutional Church in the US is besieged with scandal right now. Before eagerly accepting everyone with X-Y chromosomes and a Roman collar, it’s a good idea for diocesan leaders to do a bit more investigation, particularly about why a bishop is so willing to part with a priest who wants to come to the US- before even allowing him to serve here, even temporarily.
Sometimes it is neccessary to look outside of the US to recruit priests with the gifts to minister to particular apostolate and it’s also our responsibility to care for those who seek refuge, but ultimately, not all extern priests come with selfless intentions.

This is not about Kevin. This is about a lack of thorough investigation into why, if Joey is so popular, that his bishop in the Phillipines would let him out of his hands so readily.

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Insider

A few might have quibbles with the Abels, but he is not one to be engaged in monkey business. Francisco, however, is a thorn in the side of the parish. Most Filipino parishioners are not out there, nor “siding” with his charges. A power play that hurts the while community.

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Ed O'Sullivan

Ethnic politics is destroying this country and it appears it has reared its ugly head at St Sebastian’s. With the critical need for priests everywhere, would it really make sense for the diocese to refuse to incardinate Fr Francisco? There has to be a good reason and the weekly collection issue is a red herring.

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Josephine Oliver

Fr Kevin we know better. You are in our thoughts and prayers. This too shall pass.

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Kristian Exodo

What do you really know? Do you have all the ‘unbiased’ facts…the real facts, not just the Diocese’s facts? Civil and Canon Lawyers, legal researchers and analysts have examined the histology of the subject…every finger is pointing to the Pastor’s wrongdoings, lies and character flaws. It’s only a matter of time. The Diocese will let him go…he’s too much of a burden to carry!

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bxgrl

The term I think you meant is “history”, not “histology” which has to do with the study of microscopic cell tissue.

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Frances Kraemer

I have been a member of St. Sebastian’s Parish for almost 30 years and have seen many priests come and go and finances are published on a timely basis. I like Fr. Joey, but I also like and SUPPORT Father Kevin. I believe some members of the Filipino community are upset about Fr. Joey’s departure. This happens all the time…decisions are made by the Dioceses, not by individual groups or its’ members. Live with it!
Loyal Parishioner

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Son of god

Oh what a surprise. Why do people give money to churches. HELLO read the history books. The church went to all these countries made there natives convert if not they were all hang and they took all there gold. They kill, lie, steal, and do not even get me started with the children that have been sexual abuse.

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Jun Mescallado

“Yes, his church is full of sinners not all Catholics will go to heaven (Matt. 7:21–23).
Satan made it his mission to infiltrate Jesus only church he built. Matthew 16:18 Our faith must be in Jesus alone.

“The world expects all Catholics to be holy cus they associate the church with Jesus. who is holy” ~ Jun Mescallado
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS HOLY
(Eph. 5:25–27, Rev. 19:7–8)
By his grace, Jesus makes the Church holy, just as he is holy.

This doesn’t mean that each member is always holy. Jesus said there would be both good and bad members in the Church (John 6:70), and not all the members would go to heaven (Matt. 7:21–23).

But the Church itself is holy because it is the source of holiness

Google: Padre Pio, Mother Teresa and “The Lives of the Saints” how God bless these holy people = they are all Catholics not even one is a Protestant

and is the guardian of the special means of grace Jesus established, the sacraments (cf. Eph. 5:26).

OUR FAITH MUST BE IN JESUS ALONE NOT THE JUDAS IN HIS CHURCH

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Kristian Exodo

Good…please continue praying…he needs all the prayers to save his soul!

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