(California Catholic Daily) Some parishioners at St. Norbert’s Church in Orange describe themselves as “shocked and appalled” after a priest there allowed a Presbyterian minister to concelebrate a Mass and receive Holy Communion on Sunday, Feb. 13.
Sources from the parish told California Catholic Daily that Fr. Agustin Escobar introduced Pastor Steve Whitney of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Sacramento at St. Norbert’s 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. The sources said Rev. Whitney concelebrated the Mass with Fr. Escobar, took Communion, and was allowed to distribute Communion to parishioners.
The parish’s pastor, Fr. Pat Rudolph, was away at the time and did not participate. Parishioners who tried to contact him about the situation were told he would not be back at St. Norbert’s until March. But, said sources at the parish, Fr. Escobar admitted he did not have the pastor’s permission to invite the Protestant minister to concelebrate Mass and receive Communion.
One parishioner fired off an angry email to Bishop Brown and other high-ranking diocesan officials, calling the occurrence at St. Norbert’s “a travesty.”
“Shocked and appalled,” said the email to the bishop. “That was how I felt, and continue to feel…” The writer said Fr. Escobar is “unrepentant,” and yelled at his wife when she spoke to him about what had happened after Mass. Fr. Escobar, said the parishioner, told his wife “she isn't a true Christian because Jesus would love everyone...”