October 10, 2005

Church encircled by 200 seeking return of pastor

Boston Globe

By Michael Levenson, Globe Correspondent | October 10, 2005

NEWTON -- Parishioners linked hands outside Our Lady Help of Christians Church yesterday and demanded the return of their ousted pastor, the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, moments after their new pastor criticized the way the removal was handled and pledged to find out how and why it happened.

''Reinstate Walter! Exonerate Walter!" parishioners chanted outside the church on Washington Street, after they had packed inside to hear the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a former spokesman for the archdiocese, celebrate Mass and deliver his first homily as the parish's new priest.

''My only agenda, my only plan, is to serve this faith community and, in time, to belong here," Coyne told parishioners during his homily.

But many parishioners, still fuming over Cuenin's removal, said that would not be easy for Coyne.

''We want to collaborate with anybody that will work with us to keep our parish strong, but we have to move forward on a basis of justice," said parishioner Margaret Roylance after chanting for Cuenin's return. ''We welcome [Coyne] as a priest, although the process by which he was sent to us and the process by which Father Cuenin was removed was unacceptable and unjust and we can't move forward on that basis."

Posted by kshaw at October 10, 2005 09:51 AM