Tijeras community protests priest who 'has divided community'
April 16, 2018 06:19 PM
TIJERAS, N.M. – Church and religion usually have a way of uniting people, but on Sunday morning it led to a divided community in the East Mountains.
The sight probably wasn't what you expect to see if you are heading to Sunday mass; 30 people lined the road leading up to the church with a strong message for the man leading the service inside.
"He has divided the community," protester Teresa Arementa said.
Arementa has lived in Tijeras for decades, but she said over the last 15 years Father Mark Granito has made significant changes, like canceling the Fiesta.
"It's tradition. It's part of our culture, it's part of my kid's culture, my husband's. They deserve it," Arementa said. "They're trying to rewrite history, and it's not right."
Granito wouldn't comment on the protest, instead telling KOB reporters they weren't allowed to be on parish property or interview protesters.
"I believe it's his job to bring everybody together, to join us all and be a true leader," Leroy Gonzales said. "That has not happened."
Other allegations against Granito include political discussions in church.
"The preaching of his political preference on the matter doesn't represent the true tenants of the Catholic Church," Gonzales said.
Arementa said when the priest told her husband he needed to pray for what he did in Vietnam, she had had her last day in the church.
Still, they say they hope to enter its doors again, with a different person leading the parish.
"We have a petition of over 100 signatures," Gonzales said. "We also have numerous letters that have been turned to us of incidents from past and current parishioners."
And they're now reaching out to the archdiocese to take action.
"He's taken away our feast day, he's taken away our masses in all the missions, he's taken away our Spanish mass here at Holy Child and our Spanish music," Arementa said.
KOB has reached out to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe for comment, but have not yet heard back. The archdiocese is closed on weekends, but we will post their response if one is provided.
Updated: April 16, 2018 06:19 PM
Created: April 15, 2018 10:11 PM
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