Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fr. Estrem resigns to re-evaluate his career? Career? I thought being a priest was a vocation!

Father John Estrem, chief exec­u­tive officer of Cath­o­lic Charities of St. Paul and Min­nea­polis since 2005, [reputedly making a six figure salary], has submitted his res­ig­na­tion, ef­fective June 30, to Arch­bish­op John Nien­stedt. . . .

Serving as CEO of Catholic Chari­ties was a dream job for Father Estrem, according to the statement.

“However, my life and career have been on a single path for 30 years,” Father Estrem said in the statement. “After great soul searching, I believe it is essential for me to step back and reflect on the next phase of my career and decide how and where I can be of most service.”

Maybe it is for the better that Fr. Estrem, or should I just refer to him as "John", is leaving.

What one really wants to know is what kind of decisions were made by a priest who thought of himself as having a job with the Archdiocese.

Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis is a huge operation. It is responsible for the following agencies:

Children's Services

  • Hope Street for Runaway & Homeless Youth
  • Northside Child Development Center
  • St. Joseph's Home for Children
  • Housing & Emergency Services

  • Branch III
  • Dorothy Day Center
  • Evergreen Residence
  • Exodus Residence
  • Family Service Center
  • Food Shelves
  • Glenwood Residence
  • Housing First
  • Mary Hall
  • Secure Waiting Space
  • St. Anthony Residence
  • St. Christopher Place
  • St. Paul Residence
  • Visitation Place

  • Family Services

  • Adoption Services
  • Caregiver Support
  • Counseling Services
  • Hispanic Outreach
  • Migration & Refugee Services
  • Office for Separated & Divorced
  • Parenting Services
  • Prenatal Services
  • Senior Care Management

  • Office for Social Justice

  • Some would like to know what kind of appointments a "careerist" might make to manage these critically important ministries.

    We're talking about children, the unemployed, the homeless, the handicapped, etc. One hopes and prays that there aren't a whole bunch of careerists or unqualified people running those agencies.

    Pray to God that it is so.


    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬) said...

    So soon after the announcement that Fr. Piche is to be the next Auxiliary.

    Our Word said...

    Fr. Z and Ray,

    I have heard from a well-placed source that much of Fr. Estrem's dissatisfaction surrounds the new regime at the Archdiocese. Not, my source stresed, with the Arch personally, but with the new order itself, and their need to come to terms with things such as parish closings or mergers and "the need for social justice across the entire spectrum, and not just in one particular area." (My paraphrasing.)


    Kevin Glendalow said...

    I've been present numerous times when Fr. Estrem read Mass. He takes care in his presentation, which was good to see. His homilies clearly indicate his leanings in life, that he has a "social justice" focus.

    I suspect that the issues he is struggling with are much larger than the order and organization of the diocese.

    It would be incredibly difficult to be a priest today with the Church under attack on so many different fronts, even from within. And if your formation was in the 70's and early 80's it would be even harder as the focus on formation likely leaned more to social activation vs. pastoral care.

    How can a man (or religious woman) face the struggles of their vocation, their own inner struggles, when the world is assaulting the very foundation on which they stand? Unless the person is well formed to stand in trust in the history of the Church it would be difficult to cling to her when being buffeted by the waves of cultural sickness.

    I feel deep sorrow for Fr. Estrem. That he would see his vocation as a career instead of higher state of life is sad. It reflects the sad condition of the other vocational states in our age... disposable marriages, unchaste single life, etc.

    Unknown said...

    Thanks you for your charitable comment, Kevin.

    William said...

    K. Glendelow is spot on. A similar case can be made for the faithful who came of age during this period--they are poorly equipped to repulse the slings and arrows of secularism. If our bishops did nothing more than rectify the damage done to sacred liturgy and catechesis caused by errant churchmen of that time, we would again become the "light of the world." Those churchmen will have a lot to answer for!

    Just look around you. How many young people from good, Catholic families have turned from the Church.

    lee roland said...

    pray forhim---catholiccharities is a mess

    Cathy_of_Alex said...

    Since when does the head of CC make 6 figures a year? That's more, or comparable, than Exec Directors of non-profits make.

    In any event, I remember his stand during the Convention, where he refused to close down CC, and I continually admire him for that.

    Whatever other "issues" may be going on, pray for him.

    Unknown said...

    Father Dease makes six figures, handsomely, at St. Thomas.

    And I see that Fr. Michael O'Connell, formerly of the Basilica and Ascension, now, just Ascension, has been appointed the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Hazelden Corp/Fdn/Institute. I would imagine that's a pretty good part time job.

    Then you have the priests in the rural dioceses who travel 100 or more miles a weekend to say Mass at three or four different parishes.

    It's not pretty.

    I don't know if it's commonly known, but some of the Minnesota dioceses are still being partially supported in certain areas by the Catholic Extension Society.