Letters

Heartfelt Letter by Visitors

This is a very heartfelt letter that was written by regular visitors at St Isabel’s Church. Parishioners as well as our visitors are hurting because of the Bishops thoughtless actions.

It has been such a loss to us this year when we  visited Sanibel Island — to not have Fr. Senk  here at the parish of St Isabel has been difficult for us.  Fr. Senk was a good priest and good person and his homilies were very inspiring  ..from his heart …we looked forward to  coming back  to Sanibel Island  for 4-6 weeks and attending mass during the week and on the weekends and  joining the community at times for social events, scripture  classes, stations of the cross after morning mass and different fund raising charity events  that were had here.

Many parishioners were friendly to us  when we  saw them …just in greeting us and we were aware of the spirit in the parish that was encouraged by the friendly and warm hearted, kind  pastor.
Fr Senk was always welcoming to us and  when we were leaving for the season we always took time to thank him for  his good homilies and humor and tell him how we hopefully were well enough to come back again next year!  We hoped that he would be well enough to be here also since he suffered with severe arthritis.

We really did miss the parish and Fr. Senk’s ‘talks’ until we returned the following year.  We definitely missed him and his knowledgeable, spiritual homilies this year.   We have missed the music also.  But we are not here and we pray for  Fr. Senk to  find  the peace that we believe he  deserves and  that no clouds or shadows of anything bad  hangs over him.   It seemed evident this year when we were here that there is something  missing… and that must be Fr Senk!

It seems ‘ unfair’  to us that  he isn’t being  treated the way we think he deserves to be treated.   If someone is found innocent under the law he should not be punished further.  If  someone  chose to give a priest a gift — that is their business.  We have given some  priests who we appreciated some gifts and we  are glad we are able to do that from time to time.    I assume some have given the Bishops gifts too??

Bishops are supposed to be very special people as stated in a recent  book by Pope Francis.  If this Bishop doesn’t recognize the legal findings  of  innocence in this matter— that does  bother  me.  It seems he  is closing his eyes to  some part of this matter for his own reasons which  I do not understand or know.

(Pope Francis said:  We need a bishop who ‘sees us with the fullness of Gods heart’).     I hope this bishop is looking at  this  matter with the fullness of Gods heart.   Fr.  Christopher has many good qualities that help the people live better lives.   We always went back home renewed to work and pray and with the  thoughts about how lucky the people of St Isabel were to have such a pastor as Fr. Christopher Senk.
May God bless him and the people of this parish.   We are sorry you have suffered unnecessarily.    We know that Fr.Senk is an honest  man and that  this parish can rise to support him as best able.   Have courage.  What would Jesus do?

It is our  hope that Fr. Christopher be treated with  respect and appreciation  for all  the good qualities he has shown us these past many years when  joining the St Isabelle community for our time to worship and of growth as  good practicing Catholics in the Catholic faith while here on the island.  He has been a great gift to us  and I am sure he doesn’t  seek anything in return for all he does.

It is with sadness that we leave this week and have not had  the spiritual insights and sharing’s of this fine person and very special kind of priest.   We hope that is resolved soon for the good of Father and for the good of this parish.

3 thoughts on “Heartfelt Letter by Visitors”

  1. It is very sad to think that this ‘case’ still drags on and on……it was settled by the local authorities a long time ago when they ruled and said Fr. Senk was shown to have done no wrong…there was ‘no evidence of wrong doing’…and yet the church continues to drag it on and I can’t understand why the Bishop is not trying to promptly end this matter quicker than he has done.

    What can the Bishop do NOW to treat Father Senk fairly and after all this time?

    I pray that the family who brought these charges realizes that their loved one intended and wanted to share some of her belongings with Fr. Senk -someone whom she cared about as a FRIEND and Pastor – one who celebrated the liturgy she attended in the only Catholic Church – the beautiful church she loved. The beautiful music and the inspirational homilies were always scriptural. Father Senk is an outstanding speaker and homilist. People who visited loved his talks because they challenged us to be better Catholics and better Christians and people. I can see why the parishioners want him back….AND I can see why someone would want to give him a gift.
    He really would be ‘hard to beat’ as a homilist on the scriptures. Not all ‘human’ priests are as caring or devoted to being exceptionally good priests. It ‘shows’ in the way they minister to the people in the parish.
    As a woman who gets to mass often in our home parish, I do appreciate what MOST priests do so well……they celebrate weekday Mass/Sunday masses so we can receive the Eucharist during the week… and good priests know and share the daily scriptures…..some are well prepared and more personable—Fr. Senk took time to bless the children at every Sunday Mass whenever we were there…priests hear confessions, attend staff meetings and plan liturgies. The ‘good ones’ are friendly to everyone…they can laugh and smile and tell a good story or joke……they visit the sick in hospitals and homes and jails and nursing homes…they are there when a loved one is dying… or when a family calls on them after the loved one has already died…… and the family or person seeks their ‘presence’…wants them to pray with them and for them….. it consoles them and is a much appreciated blessing in their grief…Good Priests can bring comfort to families following the illnesses and deaths of children….or take time to be kind to the children who have lost a sibling or parent….
    they say funeral liturgies and even go to the cemetery to pray for the dead…comfort the widow or widower…. or when a teen ager comes in for counseling. Father Senk did all these things for people.

    If anyone deserves a gift it is a good priest! Fr. Senk is a GOOD PRIEST.
    An occasional ‘thank you’ truly is enough FOR HIM ..but some parishioners and friends DO WANT to do more! This older woman certainly wanted to thank Fr. Christopher because he really is a SPECIAL kind of priest.

    I do not think he even knew then or knows now how special his Priesthood is to so many.

    I AM SURE THAT IF THE BISHOP’S OWN MOTHER KNEW HIM – SHE ALSO WOULD HAVE WANTED HIM TO HAVE A GIFT FROM HER, TOO!
    Let’s not punish him any longer.
    Please – let’s hurry up and give Father Senk his life back. It is not right nor is it just to delay this any longer.
    Sincerely
    Mary Jo and Henry Maher

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