OK. This is my new favorite story ever. I know I’ve said this before but this time I really mean it.
You ever hear a sermon you didn’t like? Did you ever say anything? Well one man did and things got ugly in a hurry, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
After one Sunday mass last year, CCD teacher Angel Llavona telephoned his priest and left a message that went something like this: “Father Rios, this is Angel Llavona. I attended mass on Sunday and I have seen poor homilies, but yesterday broke all records.”
The Rev. Luis Alfredo Rios, the priest at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, then did something equally not so nice, Llavona claims. Rios played the private phone message during Sunday mass and told the congregation, “This is the person in charge of religious education here last year. That’s why it is no surprise to me [that] we had the kind of religious education we had. That’s why we didn’t get altar boys. What should we do? Should we send him to hell or to another parish?”
Now Llavona, who was sitting in church when his message was played, is suing Rios and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockford for $50,000 big ones. Llavona claims in the lawsuit filed this week in McHenry County that he was defamed and suffered “immediate emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation.”
Oh get over yourself! I admit it’s pretty bad but grow up. I would be embarrassed and humiliated to admit to emotional distress because of that. My pastor tells us all the time we’re all going to Hell. He doesn’t name me personally but I’m pretty sure he means me.
Llavona says the humiliation forced him to change parishes. (I guess that means the priest didn’t send him to Hell after all.)
“Disharmony or disagreement between a priest and his parishioners is always unfortunate,” said diocese spokeswoman Penny Wiegert, reading from a statement Tuesday. “We hope that a peaceful solution at St. Thomas the Apostle can be established outside the court.”
But the priest does have his supporters. “Oh, I love it,” Guadalupe Zambrano, 40, said of Rios’ preaching. “He always talk strong, like he wants to tell everybody how to love God.”
Zambrano said Rios is the kind of priest who encourages parents to take part in their children’s religious education and says it’s clear that Rios prepares diligently for his sermons. “Everything he says in the homily . . . you get it right away,” Zambrano said.
To be honest, it doesn’t seem the priest is heavy on subtlety.
I know this is the kind of story that is probably be a big deal for the people involved but just seems so silly to everyone else. I’ll try to be more serious on my next story.