Andrew’s Parish in Westwood last month and stripped local control of the charity from parishioners without warning in a move that has sparked a fight within the parish.
But church officials dispute Ryan’s account and say they did not abruptly strip local control of the ministry from parishioners. The proposed changes were discussed well in advance and volunteers were notified of the upcoming changes to the clothing donation ministry via the church bulletin, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said.
Ryan said he arrived at the church recently to find the clothing donation bin in the parking lot, which often had to be emptied daily because of the program’s popularity in the area, had a sign saying it would no longer accept donations.
He was told by a priest that the popular clothing donation program — which distributes hundr of tons of clothing a year to local families and needy communities in Appalachia and Haiti — would be taken over by Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Catholic Church.
“Our response to the U.S.
A. and world disaster relief makes us one of the leaders in our state for quick action: Katrina, Houston, Haiti and the Philippines, to name a few, all received our help in their time of need,” Ryan said.
“Our local Latino community will take the biggest hit of all — people from all over Bergen County would come once a month for assistance, whether for clothes or household goods.”
“Catholic Charities will streamline the clothing donation program previously served by St. Andrew’s Church volunteers, which became overwhelming and lacked the proper resources to support the enormous task of sorting, packing and distributing thousands of pounds of clothing,” Margiotta said.
But some St.
Several dozen parishioners gathered in the church parking lot Thursday to protest the change.
The protest over the switch in administration of the clothing donation program has added to the tension at St. Andrew’s, which made headlines last year when parishioners learned their new pastor had previously been accused of sexual misconduct.
The Rev. Jim Weiner voluntarily stepped aside from his post last August after accusations that he sexually assaulted a seminarian in the 1980s resurfaced.
Weiner is still listed as pastor of St.
Andrew’s Parish on its website, but parishioners said he has not preached since he voluntarily stepped aside.
The investigation is ongoing and Weiner remains on voluntary leave, said the Archdiocese of Newark spokeswoman.
Kelly Heyboer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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