Carbondale Area School Board members called out a local priest last week for comments he made at a recent Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.  The board members said they felt that the remarks disparaged the school district and were inaccurate to boot.


Carbondale Area School Board members called out a local priest last week for comments he made at a recent Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.  The board members said they felt that the remarks disparaged the school district and were inaccurate to boot.
During a meeting on Wednesday night, April 20, director Diane Harrity demanded a public apology from the priest, stating that he should not only apologize but also admit “that his facts were wrong.”
“I am demanding an apology from — and I will say the man’s name — Father Russell Motsay for what he said,” she related.  “He made our students look terrible.  He made our teachers look terrible.  He made our administration look terrible.”
Director John Jordan agreed, stating that he wanted an apology as well from Fr. Motsay “because what he said was appalling.”
“I’ll second that,” he offered in response to Harrity’s demand.
“He was way out of order,” Jordan added.
Harrity said Fr. Motsay made the comments during a 4:30 Saturday Mass at Mount Carmel as he was addressing Bishop Joseph Bambera’s decision to close Sacred Heart Elementary School at the end of this school year.  He reportedly compared the Sacred Heart and Carbondale Area elementary schools, calling Sacred Heart a “five-star” school and Carbondale Area a “two-star” school.  However, his information was reportedly taken from a website which based those rankings solely on the personal comments of random people who used the site, not on any scientific study or academic review. 
A call placed by the NEWS to Fr. Motsay was not returned by the time this edition went to press.
While attempting to defend Sacred Heart’s educational record, Harrity stated that Fr. Motsay crossed a line and demeaned the educational record of Carbondale Area.   She said she wasn’t at the Mass, but heard about the comments from school district parents who were there and were outraged by what they heard.
District superintendent Dr. Dominick Famularo told the directors that he spoke to Fr. Motsay earlier that day about the incident.
“He apologized for those remarks, and for any misunderstanding they may have caused,” Famularo related, “or for anything that might have been considered as being negative toward the district.”
“He indicated that he was just upset about the closing of the [Sacred Heart] building,” Famularo noted.
Still, Harrity said that wasn’t good enough.  She insisted that Fr. Motsay make a public apology “from the same pulpit” at Mount Carmel where he made the offending comments, in front of his parishioners.
“I want that man to stand there and to say that he was wrong,” Harrity explained, stating that he should also “give well-deserved kudos” to Carbondale Area for its educational achievements.
In a related matter, director Marcella Kaczmarcik made an invitation to parents of Sacred Heart Elementary students, asking them to consider enrolling their children at Carbondale Area for the 2011-12 school year.
She pointed out that some parents have already begun doing so, and she noted that Carbondale Area Elementary School has been recognized as a “Blue Ribbon School.”
“We are more than welcoming to anyone in the district who would like to join our excellent system,” Kaczmarcik stated.
“Our doors are wide open,” she offered.