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Parents: Incarnation monsignor berated kids, teachers at Mass

 

 

  •  
    Incarnation School in Palos Heights will be closing permanently in June, and
    parents of many of the students feel that hurtful remarks made by Monsignor R. George
    Sarauskas during his homily at a school Mass last Thursday effectively “kicked them
    when they were down.”
    “He told the students they were lousy Catholics,” said Andrea Covert, who was at
    the Mass, as was her son, a seventh-grader at the school at 5705 W. 127th St. in Palos
    Heights. “Students in fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade attend that Mass every week,
    and I usually do too,” she explained.
    Covert said she never before had a problem with Sarauskas, who lives in the
    parish rectory, and regularly says Mass at the church. So, she was shocked when he
    began “calling out students and teachers” for not attending Mass on Sunday regularly.

  • “He bullied the students and the teachers. He actually called people out from the pulpit, and had them stand up,” said Covert. ”He even said, ‘It is a good thing this school is closing, because you are not learning how to be good Catholics here anyway.’”

  • A call to Monsignor Sarauskas for comment was not returned in time for The Regional’s deadline. “We’re not perfect Catholics, no one is. But that is why Jesus died for our sins. But we are loving Catholics,” said Covert.

  • “This is happening after we’ve grieved and tried to move on. Everyone has picked new schools. But now, because it is the last few weeks, it is getting sad again, and I feel like he beat us up while we were already down. You go to Mass to getstrength and be renewed, not to be bullied,” she added.

  • “This eighth-grade class will be our last, and they are just the most awesome
    group of young men and women. And he told them they weren’t going to be successful,”
    said Covert.
    “These children were being bullied. I am an adult and have had my ups and
    downs but they were just shell-shocked. It was like leaving a war zone to see them
    leaving the Mass, crying and holding on to each other. I have a hard time getting that
    image out of my mind.”
    She said Sarauskas didn’t stop when he left the altar, either.
    “He bullied them from the front of the church to the narthex in the back. Because
    they were crying, he pretended to play a little violin as they filed past him in the
    narthex.”
    Covert said she was pleased that the pastor, Rev. Arek Falana, acted quickly
    after he found out what happened.
    “The pastor did do a good job and was on top of it. He held an intervention where
    the students talked about their feelings about what happened.”
    Falana also informed parents about the incident via a robocall. In it, he said
    Sarauskas “addressed some issues in an inappropriate way that hurt many of the
    children. I want you to know that my staff and I took this incident very seriously, and
    addressed it with the students and teachers.” He urged parents to discuss it with their
    children as well, to ensure that they are “processing it properly.”
    The Archdiocese of Chicago also issued a statement on the matter, saying, “We
    are aware of the complaints regarding the May 10, 8:30 a.m. Mass at Incarnation
    Parish. The Archdiocese is looking into the matter further in coordination with
    Incarnation School and Parish. The Archdiocese of Chicago and Incarnation School and
    Parish are committed to treating all students, parishioners, teachers and staff in a manner
    consistent with our Catholic values.”

  •  

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