Friday, October 18, 2013

Fr. Fred K. Bailey: Corpus Christi, ..."Over the years, I have known Him to be Arrogant, Demanding, Gentle, Caring and Sensitive!"

Aliso Viejo, California - Parishioners remain concerned and saddened over the reassignment of Fr. Fred K. Bailey, the pastor of in Aliso Viejo.

His last day, July 1, was announced .

Parishioners said Bailey's unconventional style and giving nature created more than a successful parish—it created a home.

"Father Fred is a wonderful teacher and keeps people interested when he is giving his homilies," said parishioner Jim Jeter. "He has a special way of making a person feel that he is speaking directly to them even though there might be 700-plus people at any particular Mass."

Some parishioners have written letters to the Diocese of Orange in hopes of reversing the decision to reassign their pastor. According to Steve Bohannon, a diocese spokesman, public outcry is usually fruitless.

"A good priest's ministry is to be shared with a number of parishes over his lifetime," he said.
Bohannon added that it is not unusual for parishioners to appeal when a priest leaves.

"They take their relationship with their priests personally," he said.

Currently, priests are held to a two-term limit—12 years. Bailey began at Corpus Christi when it was officially established in 1999, making him already one year past the limit.

Bailey's and involvement in the planning of Corpus Christi's new church building also has parishioners worried.

"I feel that removing Fr. Fred at this time in the growth of our parish is a mistake on the part of the diocese and that he should at least be allowed to stay until the permanent church is built, regardless of how long that takes," Jeter said.

Ron Ploof, Corpus Christi's church design and development coordinator, declined to comment at this time about the possible repercussions of Bailey’s departure.

Bailey's new assignment and his replacement have not been decided, according to Bohannon. A priest personnel board will conduct a listening session with parishioners before making a recommendation for Bailey's replacement.

Nearly 3,000 attend Corpus Christi services each weekend.

Parishioner Ray De Leon shared with Patch the memories he will keep from Bailey's time at Corpus Christi:
"Over the years I have known him to be arrogant, demanding, gentle, caring and sensitive. Or, in a word—human. He allows his parishioners glimpses into the man we know and love. He got upset when Carl's (Jr.) got rid of one his favorite burgers. He does special things to engage us in our faith. For instance, on the feast of the Epiphany, the visit of the three kings, he will hide candy in the wreaths around the building. Those kids with good memories will start looking for the treats. His sermons are personal. He guides us through the meaning of the readings. On special occasions, he will write a letter to help understand the day or the words of scripture.

I have known of parishioners who have followed Fr. Fred from his other assignments. But I hope that the vast majority will realize that this is their home, built by a wonderful priest and friend. It is an honor to his legacy that should continue the level of participation and support for the parish and diocese that we have demonstrated under Fr. Fred's love and leadership."

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