Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Fifteenth Anniversary of Care of the Soul Companions All Faiths Festival (AFF)


That's Care of the Soul Companions All Faiths Festival (AFF).

We're fifteen.

Imagine that, will you?

An adolescent in terms of age.

And, our mission has been over the decade and one half to ignite each one's dignity and worth by awakening it in self and others.

We began in 1998 in Saint James Church in Ferndale, MI., with Robert Wurm, a pastor there, enthusiastically inviting us to be there to serve the people of God.

On the East Side, we were at Saint Malachy Church, Sterling Heights, simultaneously, with multiple growth groups at each site. Jospeh Gembala, a pastor there, would spend plenty of time before and after my individual counseling sessions. In fact, he relished conversing early after 9:30 am Mass almost daily.  I'd remind him my code of ethics of the APA required me to be prompt with patients as a board certified professional counselor.  We even celebrated 25 years of service there as an ordained person with an engaging party after Mass. Thanks to Fr. Joe Gembala and Fr. Bob Wurm for their graious hosting.

At others sites we were treated as outsiders to say the least.  And, ignored by parishioners, we carried on, yet,
words spread quickly that "they" were here again!

God is in that also, however.  We learned a lot.  We felt in some way how people were categorized as mentally ill, as addicts, and more, sad to say, by so-called Christians.

Grief groups, a class in acceptance inspired by the late Edward D. Popielarz, 12 Step sessions, local retreats at St. Paul, Detroit, Manresa Jesuit, and more, including, Gethsemane, Kentucky where Father Louis Mertin is buried, and sung evening prayer with psalms rounded off some of the vibrant beginnings.

Currently, I meet informally with individuals for sessions in the Harrison Township Community Center, and, in Big Jack's Bar-B-Que Grille in Roseville, MI., on the first Monday and third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 pm. Reservations for the wholistic, aerobic and anarobic exercise, nutrition counseling from the Sacred Scriptures, pastoral and clinical counseling, monthly morphing, mending, accepting, and spiritual direction, and more, are appreciated at alphaomega2049@yahoo.com, or, (313) 530 2777.

Memories abound as this country doctor-like pastor moves across the AOD, MI., where this counseling emerged.  It is time to celebrate once more with a 2 pm Mass, and more, Sunday, September 8th in a site TBD with dinner at Big Jack's in Roseville, following for all.

It will be a Gratitude Gala at 15.

Be there!


  1. I am a parishioner of St. Malachy and disgusted like so many others who are led by a careless shepherd. Many can understand why Joe Gembala was so understanding and accepting of your counseling sessions with people who had psychological problems and why he sat in ALL the time. Many of the St. Malachy Parishioners agree, just as many priests, that Joe Gembala has mental illness himself and many fear him immensely. He understands dysfunction because he has probably been that way most of his life. Some in the parish create a wall around him so that his schizophrenic tendencies are covered up, but it hardly helps when he says the mass like a circus clown and waves and smiles at things that aren't really there. Now, many of feel that we just need Genbala to go elsewhere with his mental disorders and maybe you can help his schizophrenia before he ruins not only himself, but the parish of St. Malachy. Many think he's just about finished with his stay anyway and probably time to move on. He's caused too much trouble and hard feelings in the parish and anyone who disagrees that he isn't a problem is an enabler to his mental illness and behavior towards others. It's very plain and simple. Many, many parishioners want to see him go because he "rules" too many people and is not receptive to other people's feelings. You cannot have a conversation with this man. He does all the talking and will cut you off the minute you open your mouth to respond to him. He has no feelings, no morals and no Christian values other than to glorify himself during his homilies and to appear smarter than everyone else when it come to nearly "everything". My prayer is that Joe and you get the help you need. I really wish to see priests in the Roman Catholic Church grounded in strong faith of God and love of neighbor and not rooted in pop-psychology and high levels of deep psychoactive medication.

  2. AMEN AMEN AMEN Why can't all these unstable priests cloister. They aren't fit to run big organizations. I am also a part of the st. malachy farce. one problem was solved when ventilne moved out. I understand that many want gembala removed. i hope soon. back to ypsi please. These guys are a drag on the church and on well meaning human beings. i'm so sick of gembala praising himself and talking up his democratic party. He says he's pro-life. my foot.he's a drama queen.

  3. Unfortunately there is a shortage of priests. Do you really think the bishop cares if a priest is mentally ill and unable to cope? My understanding of it is that no other priest wanted the job after Fr. Britz. Fr. Britz was about as disgusted with the priesthood and the church as he could be until he retired. Blame the people of St. Malachy. They put Fr. Nardone here, he got sick and passed away. Fr. Siebert wanted the job, the people didn't want him. So Fr. Joe got called and his enthusiasm was initially a bit much for people and still is but at least he has it. I'm a member of the parish and if I had it my way, I'd rather have a more sedate priest. I don't want to hurt Fr. Joe but he is a little hyper and a little irritable at times. He could learn from his mistakes like we all can. But remember, mental illness cannot be willed away. It can't just magically disappear without some sort of medical help. Even if Fr. Joe is sick, we have to love and support him. I hear the stories how people have run-ins with him and I just shrug it off because maybe he is working to hard. He's lost all kinds of weight, maybe he is sick and isn't telling anyone. The people of St. Malachy are very demanding though. Fr. Joe is okay but I do not think he is fit to be a pastor. I think he should be an associate priest or maybe be in an order or a silent monk or something. Who am I to judge though? God forgive me.

  4. http://www.lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v10_3returns.htm

    read it. He's like this in general. Sick. A must go.

  5. Just defrock these nimrods. They are all wrecked. The church doesn't need them. It's time the archbishop stand up and take this church from satan and give it to God.

  6. Here's a thought: Why don't you just pray for Fr. Gembala and Fr. Ventline? Problem solved. God will take care of any problems and/or concerns.

  7. I like Fr. Ventline. He helped me through some tough times. Fr. Joe is nasty but Fr. Ventline is a real living saint. God Bless you Father Ventline. I apologize that I don't like Fr. Joe either. please help him Fr. Ventline. He needs your help.

  8. Yep. If you dislike Joe Gembala just pray for him. What good does it do to slander him here. God will help everyone out here. Thank You God for your kindness and your understanding and please forgive those who are sinning here. Forgive our trespassers. Heal our wounds, Lord because you are the only one that can. Help our broken community and our broken hearts.

  9. what does this have to do with the gala? can't you people take it up with the bishop? why on Fr. Ventline's blog? do you really think Fr. Ventline is going to approach Fr. Joe with this? Get real people. Get real.

  10. This is a waste of everyone's time. It's a waste of my time. It's a waste of God's time. Gembala is a jerk- we get it. Enough.