Newman Center leadership change creating controversy

Posted at: 01/26/2014 6:11 PM
Updated at: 01/26/2014 6:13 PM
By: Jen Samp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A change in leadership is creating a large upset at an Albuquerque Catholic church.

Priests of the Dominican Order have been at the Newman Center on UNM’s campus for the last 60 years and they are now being told to leave.

There are three orders of priests and at the Newman Center, the order has been Dominican.

The Archdiocese is kicking out the Dominican priests and is bringing in other priests from around the diocese.

There are more than 750 families in the parish and that is not counting the students on the UNM Campus who are members.

Many people tell KOB Eyewitness News 4 that they are thinking of leaving the parish.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan says the current clergy is not recruiting enough students into priesthood—so it is time to make changes.

Effective July 1st, four Dominican priests, who have been at the Newman Center for years, will be replaced by two other priests.

The clergy says this could change everything about the parish, even songs and seating.

Families who have been with these priests for decades are very upset.

“Our adopted son became catholic because of the Dominican leadership they feed our hearts our minds our souls they are such support to us and we love them dearly and to have them yanked away with no notice or communication is tearing us apart,” church member Deborah Thomas said.

KOB was told the four Dominican priests will most likely go back to St. Louis or Chicago to be reassigned.

The parish has started a petition and so far it has 900 signatures.

Parishioners are hoping to meet with the archbishop to answer questions.