Letters, Documents and Photographs Relating to SafeNet's Departure from Mission Santa Barbara

   SafeNet's departure from the Mission has been documented here.
                        December 6, 2011 -  February 1, 2012
  All posts are in chronological order. To read the most current or final posts, please scroll to the bottom of this section.
                                                  - - - 
On December 4, 2011, John Hardin, O.F.M., Provincial Minister of the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara, verbally notified Paul Fericano, Director of SafeNet, that he and SafeNet would no longer be welcome at Mission Santa Barbara and that he would have to vacate his office and residence in 26 days, as of January 1, 2012 (since extended to February 1, 2012). 
The vote to remove SafeNet from Mission Santa Barbara was apparently decided by the Franciscan definitorium (the leadership council of nine elected friars), although this has never been confirmed. Paul Fericano believes the administration took this action based on discussions with Richard McManus, O.F.M., current guardian of Mission Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, since his appointment in 2006, Richard has inexplicably disapproved of SafeNet and shown little or no interest in ministering to a community in need of healing and reconciliation. 
After nine years of service in the Province, SafeNet's eviction was undertaken without any prior notice or consultation. It was not given a hearing or a review and was denied any avenue of appeal. Sadly, there is now good reason to believe that SafeNet's removal may, in part, be a punitive act as a result of Paul Fericano's sucess in establishing the Solidarity Project memorial on the Mission grounds in July, 2011--a project wholly endorsed and approved in 2005 by the previous Mission guardian and leadership. 
The documents posted here refer to emails, letters, correspondence, photographs and/or other related articles of information regarding the Franciscan's decision. This includes official letters from Instruments of Peace, SafeNet's parent nonprofit, and the Franciscan Province of St. Barbara. Paul's personal feelings, opinions, responses and appeals for support, along with his requests for a six-month extension of the deadline (until the end of June, 2012) for SafeNet's departure are also included here. Except for noted variations, all documents are listed in descending chronological order. Clarifying comments precede certain documents as needed.
The decision by the Franciscans has generated a great deal of discussion among former students of St. Anthony's seminary, the Santa Barbara community at large and the friars themselves. These documents are being made public in the interest of disclosure and transparency. The story deserves a fair assessment constructed as accurately as possible from the point of view of Paul Fericano and SafeNet. It's hoped that this information will also be helpful in understanding the complexities of clergy sexual abuse issues, particularly the healing process. It's also hoped that a sincere discussion of these same issues will lead to more involvement by others. 
Also posted in this section is the January 15, 1994, address that Paul Fericano delivered to the Franciscans at St. Anthony's Seminary at the beginning of the clergy abuse scandal in Santa Barbara, California. At the time, Paul was one of the first clergy abuse survivors in the country to address a large gathering of Catholic clergy. His speech is being included here for its timeliness and relevancy to the current situation.
Emails and personal correspondence sent to Paul Fericano from others, including John Hardin, have not been published or shared here. The decision and right to disclose these communications rest solely with the senders and have been respected. In addition, personal emails or letters sent to SafeNet regarding individual or group concerns are private and confidential and have not been published or shared on this site
Paul Fericano is grateful to the many friars of the Province of St. Barbara who have offered their kindness and hospitality over the years. He's also grateful for the generous response from individuals all across the country. The outpouring of support has been heartening. Since December 19, 2011, many people have emailed the Franciscan provincial asking him to honor Paul's request for a six-month extension--from clergy abuse survivors and churchgoers, to poets, educators and advocates. This has been a peaceful and respectful campaign to help John Hardin and the Franciscans understand the impact of their decision. If you would like to comment directly to John Hardin about this or any other related topic, you can email him at:: jhardinofm@gmail.com
    To read the most current or final posts, please scroll to the bottom. 
     Note: A couple of days before John Hardin informed me (December 4) that SafeNet was no longer welcome at Mission Santa Barbara, I received a phone call from Angelica Jochim, the coordinator for the Franciscans’ Office of Pastoral Outreach for Victims of Clergy Abuse. Angelica phoned to say that John had called to ask if she would let me know he wished to speak with me. I was surprised to learn this through her. I’ve known John since 1994 and he has my cell phone number and my email address.   
     When I phoned John, he said he had mailed a letter (November 1) to my post office box in Millbrae, California. I told him I didn’t receive the letter because I was in Santa Barbara. He then said he was coming to Santa Barbara and could meet with me on Sunday, December 4.       
     The day after we met, I received John’s November 1 letter via email from his secretary, Sr. Beth Konkol. Its three paragraphs covered a number of topics. In the last five sentences John wrote of wanting to have a “conversation” about my “stay” at the Mission and asked me to phone Beth to schedule a time “within the next several weeks.”  -- PF
     Note: By Dec. 21, John Hardin had received quite a number of emails from supporters asking him to honor my request to extend the deadline to the end of June. He acknowledged this support, but chose to respond to me and my request on Dec. 20 by sending an answer directly through my supporters. In his response, John asked people to "help Paul find a place in the area where he can continue his work." He also asked people to "cease and desist" sending him emails. -- PF
     Note: I delivered this speech to approximately eighty friars at St. Anthony's Seminary who walked over from Mission Santa Barbara where they had been meeting for general chapter. The major news networks were outside the seminary hoping to cover the speech but I refused to be part of a media spectacle and asked that reporters and cameras remain outside. I asked only one layperson to accompany me inside that morning, Ray Higgins, the parent of a former seminary student who had been abused, and a member of the Independent Board of Inquiry (IBOI) that investigated the abuses at St. Anthony's Seminary and which had issued its final report a few months before in November, 1993. -- PF
     Note: The following numbered links reference sources cited in the above email response and are listed here for clarification. -- PF
     Note: As of today, January 13, 2012, and at the conclusion of the Franciscan general Chapter at Mission San Luis Rey, it appears unlikely that Provincial John Hardin will change his mind and honor my request to extend SafeNet's stay until the end of June. John has not communicated with me since his email of December 21 at which time he extended the deadline to February 1--but only after receiving an overwhelming number of emails from SafeNet supporters. SafeNet will now have no choice but to vacate its office by the extended deadline date.
     I arrived in Santa Barbara on January 9 to begin the task of clearing out the office. Since there will be no other office in Santa Barbara to transfer materials to, the bulk of the items will be donated to private individuals. Some SAS related items will be donated to the Santa Barbara chapter of the SAS Alumni Association, including the Seminary Chronologies (1964 - 1974).
     I've taken photos of the SafeNet office and will post them here in the days ahead and leading up to the February 1 deadline. In the summer of 2011, SafeNet's office was finally and fully transformed from a drab laundry room into a beautiful and welcoming space. These photos show the office as it looked, prior to January 9, complete and operational. 
     The above photo (Photo 1) shows a view of the SafeNet library: a 16 foot wall consisting of two side by side 8 x 7 foot bookcases that Fr. Kenan Osborne, OFM, generously donated. One half of the library (right side) was devoted to vinyl LP record albums from the original SAS Music Room. A couple of months before the sale of SAS in 2005 I recovered all of these albums (approximately half of the full collection) from the construction dumpsters that were placed behind the seminary chapel. -- PF  
     Note: Hanging on the wall to the right is a framed poster print of a conceptual drawing of The Garden of Forgiveness conceived by SafeNet and designed by Santa Barbara landscape architect Katie O'Reilly RogersThe Garden of Forgiveness project was initiated by clergy abuse survivors and their supporters and was endorsed by Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles who saw it as a means to help heal a community harmed by the Church. Its deeper vision sought to become a place of hope, contemplation and renewal for everyone, regardless of their particular pain or suffering. After three years of planning, The Garden of Forgiveness was rejected by Mission Guardian Richard McManus, OFM, in December, 2009, for unexplained reasons.  - - PF
     Note: The photograph of me used in this invitation was taken at St. Anthony's Seminary in 1966. I was a fifteen-year-old freshman with my Sparrow Hawk, "Lucretia," which biology teacher Fr. Severin Baumann, OFM, taught me how to catch and train. -- PF
     Note: In 2004 I was collecting seminary archive materials at the seminary when I came across a student desk in the room at the top of the stairwell across from the gate leading up to the tower (the room was called the "Sacred Doctrine" classroom when I was a student in 1965). Nearly 200 of these desks were assembled by Br. Clem Wehe in 1964 from pre-cut materials. They replaced the older flip-top desks that had been in use since the thirties. What was amazing about finding this particular desk was that it turned out to be my own desk, the one I used when I was a freshman. Inside the drawer, in back of the faceplate, I had inked the following inscription: "Fericano, '69. Cobras, '69." -- PF
     Note: The seminary chronologies recounted daily life at St. Anthony's Seminary lovingly recorded and preserved in words, photographs and ephemera by Stan Caspary, OFM., from 1964 - 1975. They contain the most accurate history of the seminary of that time witnessed by one of the friars who taught there.  As helpful tools for healing and understanding, I often used the chronologies when working with clergy abuse survivors who attended the seminary during this time period. -- PF
 Jan 31, 2012 - Photo / SafeNet Farewell Reception
Paul Fericano and Bill Degnan, Founder, Operation New Hope / Solidarity Project Bench
 Jan 31, 2012 - Photo / SafeNet Farewell Reception
 Jan 31, 2012 - Photo / SafeNet Farewell Reception / SafeNet Office
     Note: Franciscan provincial John Hardin, O.F.M. has been silent since December 20, 2011. There has been no further discussion or intention to honor my request for a six month extension for SafeNet. Today, Feb 1, 2012, marked the deadline for SafeNet to vacate its office on the grounds of Mission Santa Barbara. At noon today the keys to SafeNet's office were personally delivered to the office of Mission guardian Richard McManus, O.F.M. After nearly two months of documentation regarding SafeNet's departure from Mission Santa Barbara, the email response above to an undisclosed recipient is my final post. It's a hopeful and appropriate conclusion to a healthy process that has allowed personal healing to occur at various times and in many forms. Thank you all. Be well. -- PF