Bishop Vasa orders major personnel changes

The following is excerpted from a March 2 story published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. A link to the full story is provided below.

Bishop Robert Vasa on Friday announced the appointment of 22 new pastors and their assistants at parishes throughout the Santa Rosa Diocese, along with six officials at the diocesan office.

Vasa, who took over as leader of the 165,000-member diocese in July, sent a memo to all priests and deacons listing the personnel changes late Friday afternoon. He could not be reached for comment.

Most of the reassignments are effective in June. The sweeping changes are unusual for the diocese, in which many priests have long years of service in the 42 parishes from Petaluma to the Oregon border.

Prominent among the changes was the reassignment of the three priests serving at the Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa, the bishop’s church where ordinations and other formal events are held.

The Rev. Msgr. James Pulskamp, pastor at St. Eugene’s, was reassigned as pastor at Star of the Valley Church in Oakmont. He will be replaced by Rev. Frank Epperson, pastor at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Ukiah.

Rev. Fergal McGuinness, associate pastor at St. Eugene’s, was named pastor at St. Peter Church in Cloverdale. The Rev. Gary Sumpter is coming in as parochial vicar, a pastor’s assistant post. Sumpter also will be co-chaplain and co-director of the Religion Department at Cardinal Newman High School.

The third priest currently assigned to St. Eugene’s, Rev. Alvin Villaruel, was named pastor at St. Mary of the Angels Church. He also has served as chaplain and religion teacher at Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa for 11 years and will be leaving that post.

“I’m happy for him. He’s been a great leader for us,” Newman Principal Graham Rutherford said. “He will do a great job in Ukiah.”

…Nor is the large-scale personnel shift a surprise, Rutherford said, noting that Vasa has been in charge for nine months.

“He’s had time to take a good look at things,” Rutherford said. “I think he’s looking to put people in different roles.”

…Yvette Fallandy of Santa Rosa, a St. Eugene’s parishioner, said the changes took her “by complete surprise” but are not out of the ordinary.

Vasa is “assembling his own team to proceed with his programs for the diocese,” Fallandy said, calling it “a commonsense move on his part.”

To read the full story in the Press Democrat, Click Here.


Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 12:29 AM By charlio
One of the three main duties of a Bishop is to Govern. I’m sure the lay “ministerial” mafia will be howling.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 5:39 AM By St. Christopher
This is it? Moving chairs on the Titanic? What about all the orthodox changes that B. Vasa was anticipated to make? What about instituting the widespread use of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form? Big disappointment.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 5:57 AM By Juergensen
This is what Papa Bene needs to do with the American episcopacy.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 6:55 AM By MacDonald
A healthy reminder that diocesan priests, like chaplains in the military, are not meant to become the center of the universe in any particular parish or ministry. They are moved from place to place, which, hopefully, keeps them from developing egos that cause them to think they are irreplaceable. We have seen too many “rock star priests” of late who think THEIR agenda equals God’s. The promise of obedience secular priests make at ordination to their bishop is so important, especially in this day and age when many people embrace “do your own thing” as if we were still in the 60s.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 10:37 AM By Catherine
St. Christopher, Wow! This is the best hopeful news! How long has Bishop Vasa been in charge of Santa Rosa? You must remember the parables or the rules about gardening. First survey the garden, then pull out the deeply rooted weeds that are choking off all of the life of the other plants. Some of the dying plants look very wilted but they are to be left alone because the new fertilizer will transform them. Now till and water the rocky dry soil and then rotate and plant the new crops. Once this is done you fertilize and crop dust the entire garden with the fullness beautiful authentic Teachings of the Catholic Church. Then watch your garden flourish with all of the beauty intended by God. Also, St. Christopher this swift action from Bishop Vasa is certainly needed in the Archdiocese of LA. I am sure you must be aware of the renowned (weeds) dissenters who are still being planted and allowed as invited guest speakers. This offends God. These dissenters are hellbent on corrupting souls at the Religious Ed Congress. How much survey and preparation time does it take for someone in the LA Chancery administration to place a brief phone call to inform a renowned dissenter by simply stating, “We will NOT be needing Mz. Dissenter or Mr. Dissenter, or Father Dissenter or Sister Dissenter to speak at the next Religious Education Congress!” Cardinal Dolan recently told his fellow bishops, “we have to prepare for tough times.” Well it looks like Bishop Robert Vasa is certainly preparing for those very tough times ahead and he is to be greatly commended for doing so. Actions do speak so much louder than words.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 10:45 AM By Erik
Be patient St. Christopher, being from Baker City I saw that Bp. Vasa took his time but did amazing work clearing out the cobwebs in our diocese. This is the opening move in a chessmatch, that when your good Bishop is done, will have the heterodoxies checkmated before they know it. Give it time, you’ll be amazed.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 11:05 AM By Thomas Edward Miles
It’s about time, the DIocese of Santa Rosa needed an ecclesiastical nuclear bomb!!

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 11:16 AM By Dennis
The Santa Rosa Diocese is blessed to have bishop Vasa! Search for “Giving Testimony to the Truth” a Pastoral Letter to Lay Ministers bishop Vasa wrote while in Baker, OR.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 12:24 PM By Jeff
The good Bishop Vasa will do well in (short) but good time. Being from Oregon, I’ve seen him do it. Pray for him. Santa Rosa Diocese is blessed to have him.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 12:43 PM By Doc Mugwump
Change is good. These changes are GREAT! Thank you Bishop Vasa – we are thrilled. Welcome aboard Captain!

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 12:43 PM By BETTY
All Bishops need to review the qualifications of their Diocese staff, and keep only those who adhere to Church teachings according to the CCC. Many Staff persons withhold info from their Bishops for their own agenda.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 12:54 PM By lisag
I am glad Bishop Vasa is taking thoughtful time to implement changes. Only fools rush in.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 2:00 PM By DW
I agree w/ Erik, give him time, the wheels are in motion. Remember, the Church has two speeds: Very slow and stop.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 3:21 PM By FrMichael
St. Christopher, I don’t think you understand the purpose of this. There is fairly recent CA historical precedent for this large-scale reassignment, and it is good for the orthodox. When Bishop Weigand took over Sacramento from the liberal Bishop Quinn, he scrambled all the pastors. This removed the priests from their power bases and left the left-leaning presbyterate in a weakened position to challenge the bishop’s campaign to reintroduce orthodoxy to the Diocese of Sacramento. Since Santa Rosa is in an analogous position to Sacramento in the mid-90s when Bishop Weigand arrived, I applaud Bishop Vasa’s decision.

Posted Wednesday, March 07, 2012 8:36 PM By Central Valley
Pray God the Fresno shake up is not far behind.

Posted Thursday, March 08, 2012 9:24 PM By Janek
More TLM’s please!