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Thanks for Noticing

We would like to thank you for the amazing review in your July 24 issue [Food & Drink]. It was a pleasant surprise for us. We would also like to thank you for mentioning the artwork/decor, as it is something we are very proud of.

Next time you are here — for pleasure, not business — you need to try the zoppa di pesce; we feel that it is the best dish on the menu and think it truly represents our Sicilian-inspired cuisine.

Giuseppe Scafidi

Owner, Bella Luna Ristorante



Disabled? Hardly

I was pleased to see Style's recognition of Dan Nicholson's impressive cycling accomplishments in international competition [Street Talk, Aug. 21]. However, the description "disabled cyclist" in the article's heading wasn't the best choice. Anyone who has spent time riding with Dan knows that he is an exceptional athlete, and person, by any measure.

Congratulations, Dan!

Eric Norbom



Mind Your Own Business

Richmond residents would be better informed if you left garbage like "Workers Mean Business in Labor Day Parade" where you found it [Street Talk, Aug. 14]. The concept of a 'living wage' is one of many socialist ideas that have no place in America. Everywhere tried, these ideas ruin economies, create unemployment, raise racial and ethnic hostilities and are abandoned.

Many workers who find jobs in the city limits cannot afford to live there. Many workers on a golf course cannot afford to live there either. Why can't these people commute to work like the rest of us?

This city needs revitalization, not empty rhetoric. We need simple tax codes, regulations, and yes, more street cleaners. We need leadership that understands that, as John Kennedy said, "A rising tide lifts all ships." Basic economic truths do not disappear through protest, legislation or blindness.

Richard James Coe



"Faith Frustrated" Is Right

I just finished the story on St. Michael's ["Faith Frustrated," News & Features, Aug. 21] and immediately thought, I could have written that article. I have many of the same feelings.

When the accusations of abuse surfaced I began to question Father Leonard as a Catholic leader and head of a thriving parish. Like others from St. Michael's I am church shopping.

The actions and words of the bishop, Father Leonard and many parishioners lead me to only one conclusion: They don't get it. They don't realize the seriousness of the accusations, and they have no understanding of the humiliation, embarrassment and suffering the victims experienced and will live with for the rest of their lives.

There is also an apparent lack of understanding at the diocese level that this parish needs to heal, and needs to have questions answered. That healing process has to be led by professionals and not members of the diocese or the parish. There are resources out there that should be accessed immediately. The questions that need answering have to be answered in an open manner and be subject to scrutiny by the members of the parish.

Andrew Molloy





I felt personally relieved to see that I am not the only one feeling this way about our pastor. If you could put my feelings into words, I think the story would have been much the same.

I spent my teenage years going to Epiphany in Chesterfield County, and Father John was the pastor that led me through my confirmation process. At St. Michael's, he has baptized both of my children — they also have loved getting "high 5's" from him at the end of Mass.

However, I am almost in mourning for the way I used to feel about St Michael's and Father John. I sincerely doubt I could ever have the same respect and faith in Father John that I had before all of this started, even if the criminal investigation doesn't lead to anything.

Our parish needs something or someone to help us through this difficult time. Many of us do feel that we have been kept in the dark and that our faith is floundering.

Thank you for printing the story.

Debbie Feichtel



Appalled by "Faith Frustrated"

I was appalled by the article about St. Michael's Church and Father John Leonard written by Meg Medina.

In this country, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Does she really expect Father John to apologize for something he has not done? He has apologized at Mass for everyone's having to go through this terrible ordeal. Several letters have been sent to our homes, not only thanking us for our love and support, but again, saying how sorry he is for what we're going through as a parish.

You have chosen to resort to gossip and airing your distorted views in the media rather than wait for a decision to be handed down by the authorities. A parish is like a family. When one member is hurting, we all hurt. We need to draw strength from each other, to love and support each other through anything. We do not air our "dirty linen" in public, but, rather, pray together and hope for the best solution. Our strength comes from togetherness, not from division!

You expressed concern that this mess will never go away, and you are right. As long as you and people like you continue to perpetuate the allegations, rumors and half-truths, we will continue to ache for the truth! The doors to St. Michael's Church swing both ways. Be careful you do not get hit on your way out.

Shirley L. Cadden



No One Is Above the Law

Meg Medina worried in her recent article: "Am I damning an innocent man, the best priest I've ever known?" Meaning Father John Leonard, lately of St. Michael's. Well, dear Ms. Medina, get a grip. Use your common sense. You haven't "damned" anybody; it would be truer to say Leonard has damned himself — although that's a strong term to use.

It is Leonard who ought to be on the guilt trip, not you. He is responsible for his actions, not you. You are right to feel outraged, so acknowledge that emotion as natural, true and valid. No guilt!

If you are afraid that you offend God by doubting Leonard or any other priest or bishop or church spokesperson, be reassured. God is not offended by your outrage over Leonard's alleged perfidy, alleged crimes. Remember Christ's own words to his apostles when they wanted to "bend the law," ostensibly because they were "above it," as disciples, or servants of the Almighty. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," Christ said, "and render unto God the things that are God's."

Godly or not, no one is above the law. Maybe that will help you rest a little easier now, in good conscience. I hope so.

E. J. Oakley

Correction

In "It's All About Me" [Cover Story, Aug. 14], we incorrectly stated that Eddie Maz is an electrician for the city Department of Public Works. Rather, he is an employee of the Department of Public Utilities. Style regrets the error.





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