AUSTIN (KXAN) - A small group of protestors marched outside Cristo Rey CatholicChurch Sunday morning during mass.
They held signs saying, "We support Father Euresti." FatherJesse Euresti was killed earlier this year while visiting his NuevoLaredo, Mexico home.
The handful of protestors were upset with the current pastor ofCristo Rey Church Reverend Jayme Mathias.
"We're getting the point across, if he's talking for the peoplehe says, well the people don't want him," said Rachel Euresti Rios,Father Euresti's Sister.
The group alleges Reverend Mathias will not allow a portrait ofFather Euresti in the parish hall with the rest of the formerpastors of the church.
"At this current time, there are two portraits of former pastorswhich happen to be all Anglo," said Gavino Fernandez, Former ChurchEmployee. "We feel this is discrimination."
Reverend Mathias responded to the allegations with this writtenstatement:
"I regret that Mr. Gavino Fernandez’s earlier e-mailcommunication to you so misrepresents the truth and is a source ofmisinformation. It is not true that parishioners are demanding myreassignment as pastor of Cristo Rey Catholic Church in EastAustin, nor have I denied the hanging of the formerpastorÂ’s portrait on parish premises. Here are thetruths of which you as journalists should be aware:
The former pastorÂ’s portrait will be hung in theparishÂ’s community center, as part of an exhibitcontaining the portraits of all former pastors. This exhibit willbe ready by September 15, 2009. This was announced in theparishÂ’s newspaper last weekend, and is announced againin this weekendÂ’s edition of the parish newspaper(copies of which are available inside the entrance to thechurch).
Not all former pastors of Cristo Rey Catholic Church have beenCaucasian. Notable examples include Fr. Albert Ruiz and Fr. LonnieReyes, both of whom are former pastors of Cristo Rey CatholicChurch (and will thus be part of the exhibit referenced above).
The parishÂ’s Knights of Columbus have disavowed anyassociation with the Â“press conference anddemonstrationÂ” hoped for by Fernández.
I regret that Fernández has quoted me as saying that thepicture should be hung in the family home, and that the familyshould invite people to see the portrait there. Neither statementis true, and Fernández was not present at the meeting hereferences.
I did not have any member of the Euresti family removed fromFiesta Gardens on July 11. I did, however, have a formerparishioner, Ernest Trevino, removed from the event forunauthorized solicitation.
Though I did converse with an APD officer outside of FiestaGardens on that evening, I neither called APD nor asked that thefamily be removed from the grounds.
There will be no press conference at Cristo Rey Catholic Churchthis morning. We do, however, expect the possibility that thefollowing four persons will be present outside the church toexpress their displeasure: Gavino Fernandez (former personalassistant to the former pastor, whose employment with the parishended on April 14, 2009), Carmen Hernandez (former parish staffmember, whose employment with the parish ended effective February12, 2009), Ernest Trevino (the former parishioner referencedabove), and Rachel Rios (sister of the former pastor, who is beingincited to action in this instance by Fernández &Trevino). Please note that none of these persons are parishionersor members of Cristo Rey Catholic Church. Fernández, whoclaims to be a member of the parish community, has attendedservices at Cristo Rey only once since the formerpastorÂ’s funeral, and then only as a sign of oppositionto the present pastor.
All parishioners present at tomorrowÂ’s Masses willbe able to testify that the present pastor has striven to unite,rather than divide, the parish. Recent examples of this include theparishÂ’s recent Â“International Festival ofCultures and Culinary ArtsÂ” on July 11 at FiestaGardens, the parishÂ’s formation of Â“Clubsde OriundosÂ” (groups of persons born in the same stateor country), the parishÂ’s nascent soccer league (whichwas birthed in May and is comprised of 240 children), and thepastorÂ’s desire to bring to Cristo Rey the devotionsfrom parishionersÂ’ places of origin.
Mr. Fernández had previously reserved Fiesta Gardens onbehalf of the parish for its event on July 11. After his employmentended with the parish, he attempted to convince city officials totake the park away from the parish and give it to his neighborhoodassociation, alleging that he had in fact intended to reserve thepark on behalf of the neighborhood association. The City of Austinhonored the parishÂ’s reservation of the park, an actthat greatly displeased Fernández."
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