Dozens of St. Charles Borromeo parishioners marched from the State Capitol building to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Downtown Sacramento. They were holding signs and protesting the Dioceses superiors’ decision to oust Father Ron Marcelo from his post.
The protest comes two weeks after Father Ron was removed from his position by church superiors, led by Bishop Jaime Soto. In December, the same group told Father Ron to go to a three-week alcohol treatment center for his alleged drinking problem.
In a letter to his parishioners, Father Ron explained that this confusion started when he and parish employees drank wine at an appreciation lunch in October. Since then, he had been wrongly accused of having alcoholism.
After returning from the three-week treatment in December, diocesan leaders told Father Ron to return to rehab or a longer period. But this time, he refused. He told church leaders that he had passed all physical and psychological tests, and he did not have “the disease of alcoholism.”
“One of the vows he took was for obedience, and I would imagine that put him in hot waters,” Angelo Nazareno, parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo, said.
Since his formal dismissal on January 31, parishioners have appealed to the Diocese to bring him back, via letters, emails, phone calls, and even a petition with more than 1,500 signatures.
Even if Father Ron cannot return to St. Charles Borromeo in a formal capacity, parishioners hope to celebrate one last mass.
“We want Father Marcelo at least to say the last mass before he leaves, to leave with dignity, to say goodbye to us,” Dale Esperante, parishioner at St. Charles Borromeo, said.
Following Saturday’s mass, FOX40 asked the manager at Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament for an interview with Bishop Soto. They denied our request, saying the Bishop was too busy taking photos with parishioners on World Merit Day.
After their unsuccessful attempt to open up a dialogue with church superiors, protestors regrouped, and prayed their situation improves.
“The Pope will listen to us. Someone will tweet the Pope. And hopefully, we will get something from high above, higher than Bishop Soto,” Esperante said.