At the beginning of February, Father Anthony Trapani, the pastor of the -year-old in Lindenhurst, his resignation in June.
In a letter in that week's bulletin and posted on the church's website, cited negativity directed at him about the of the as a key component in his decision to leave on .
The announcement left parishioners saddened and shocked. However, since his last day will be June 27 and the 99-year-old is slated to a few days later, many that the timing of his arrival in 2007, and now the timing of his departure, is no coincidence.
Father Trapani's impending departure has now prompted a meeting. Representation from the Diocese of Rockville Centre will be coming to speak to parishioners tonight at the .
Information was printed in this past weekend's bulletin as part of Father Trapani's weekly letter, and posted on the church's website.
"The Episcopal Vicar (Bishop John Dunne), the area dean (Monsignor Christopher Heller) and the Vicar for Clergy Personnel (Monsignor Brian McNamara) will host an 'Open Town House Meeting' to hear the concerns and vision of the larger parish community," he wrote.
"This meeting will take place on Tuesday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m., in the school auditorium," the pastor continued. "The purpose of this...meeting is to focus on the future of the parish: Where does our parish need to go from here and what type of pastor can take us to that future?"
In this past weekend's letter Father Trapani also described the Diocese's process of picking a new pastor. (See the above PDF file.)
Since the news broke that the is one of that will close this June, Lindenhurst residents and readers of Patch have continued to be upset, and the news of Father Trapani's departure has drawn strong, mixed emotion on Patch, Facebook and Twitter.
Ahead of tonight's meeting here's what readers, residents, and parishioners have been saying:
Christine Fritz McCarthy, on FB: "There's been a black cloud of negativity over OLPH for a long time, before Father Trapani came there. They're very unwelcoming. It's a shame how they push so many families away.
"I wish him all the best in his new parish, and hope we get someone who has open arms and an open mind. (And a PR person wouldn't hurt.)"
Ronald Rizzo, on FB: "He's just resigning after the job he was brought in to do is completed - definitely too much of a coincidence. I'd also like the real reason why he turned down the new playground equipment he school won last year in the competition!"
PegnLou Flinn Licameli, on FB: "What [kind of] job was that?! To spend all of the reserved that Monsignor [Hamilton] saved up and put us in debt? It's sad about the school, but the entire parish is a financial mess! We need someone who'll get us out of this and bring back the spirituality that had been destroyed! The attendance at mass has never been so low in all of the 20 years I've lived here!"
Vin Boccanfuso, on Lindenhurst Patch: "Good riddance."
Robert S. Trenholm, in an e-mail to Lindenhurst Patch: "Everyone who attend the parish is upset to see him leave - except a few of those he stated in his newsletter as the cause of his decision.
"Speaking for myself, family and a few others from church, we were shocked to hear on Sunday, [February 5], when he spoke to us, informing us of his decision.
"We're aware of the standard politics and complaining of individuals that infect every facet of life and can take a toll on any person in a leadership role, but were not aware of how much or deep of an impact it took on Father Anthony.
"I don't know any or how many individuals or group that undermined or hurt Father Anthony that brought him down so much for him to give up and retreat for his own good and peace of spirit - other than the closing of the school? Like everything else, I'm sure there's more to the story than we know."
"Father Anthony has done so much for our parish, like restoring the altar and upgrading and repairing the church, [which] were needed, making hard decisions to raise the money for the repairs - successfully to my knowledge, even though it won't be complete before his departure.
"The closing of the school brought much shock and disappointment. A decision from the Diocese from my knowledge, not Father Anthony's. If anything, then that was the rug that was pulled from under him to bring him down?
"We're all hurt and will miss Father Anthony!"
More reaction about the impending closure of OLPH School and the resignation of Father Trapani could be found on the Friends of O.L.P.H. - Save Our School Facebook page. It's run by Maggie Gallagher-Lilly - a Lindenhurst native, an alum of the school and organizer of the .
Editor's Note: If you're an alum, parent of a current student or a current student, then Lindenhurst Patch would like to get your reaction to the impending OLPH school closure and your favorite memories and images of the school.
Patch would also love to hear from more parishioners about Father Trapani's announced resignation and the school's impending closure.