Reassignment of nuns sparks demonstration
About 100 people demonstrated Tuesday night at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Hyattsville to protest the reassignment of two nuns who had been long been affiliated with the parish school.
A petition circulated among members of the parish called the action unconscionable, praising the nuns’ service and saying that “we can not imagine St. Jerome’s” without them.
A letter sent Monday to members of the parish and its school families by the Rev. James M. Stack, the pastor, said “difficult decisions” had to be made while refocusing the parish’s educational mission. Changes included a restructuring of the parish’s child center and an elimination of a school guidance counselor position as a part of financial restructuring, he said. The changes meant meant eliminating the nuns’ positions, the pastor said.
“It’s hard,” said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.
"It’s like a death in the family," Jacquelin Wickham said of the nuns’ departure, which is scheduled for June 30. The nuns “helped me raise my children,” she said at the candlelight vigil.
“I can’t express how troubling this is,” she added.
--Hamil R. Harris
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