SISTER CAMILEE D'ARIENZO'S INTERVIEW WITH FR. BILL WAS PUBLISHED JULY 5th.
Bill, during the past 42 years, you have lived and labored in Wyandanch, reputedly one of the most economically challenged areas on Long Island. How did this assignment come about?
I came here in January 1974 as an associate until March 1983. At that point I moved over to Casa de la Paz, a new Catholic Worker community house, also in Wyandanch. I had asked Bishop McGann for permission to do this, and had the approval of the pastor, Fr. Andy Connolly, to live with the new CW community and promote its work in Wyandanch and continue serving as a curate in the parish. Bishop McGann refused my request and sent me a letter suspending me from priestly ministry. Another priest was sent to replace me at the parish.
That must have been a hard blow. What did you do?
I used the next three years to get increasingly more involved with the undocumented immigrants and spending significant time in Central America, the source of most of these immigrants, helping promote the visiting of many U.S. citizens to learn about the troubles causing this tremendous migration of people, and to promote the value of the 'accompaniment presence' to help ensure some bit of security for the people. I worked as a volunteer with the program of refugios for the displaced in the San Salvador archdiocese in El Salvador, living in one of the camps for several months.
PLEASE VISIT THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER FOR REST OF THIS INTERVIEW: http://bit.ly/2ahcNgq