Friday, April 29, 2011

A lament for St. Vincent's

Ran across a melancholy post from Steve Daley, a former parishioner at St. Vincent's. God love you, Failed Talkers! If you read this, please pray for us and all those young and old people still within walking distance of St. Vincent's.

From Steve's post:

St. Vincent’s was within easy walking distance of our house. My maternal grandparents lived within sight of it, on Onondaga St. My grandfather, Paul Lovette, spent large chunks of his retirement pulling weeds from the lush lawn that surrounded the church. It was for him an act of faith.

My sister Maribeth and I would often walk the block to our grandparents’ house for lunch on a school day, a tableau worthy of a TV sitcom in the lower-middle-class America of the early 1960s. And a very sweet memory.

I was an altar boy from the 5th grade through my freshman year of high school, back in the days when the Latin Mass was in vogue.

I can recite some of those prayers in Latin, in the same way I can still smell the incense that pervaded the Lenten services and Midnight Mass on Christmas and the funerals, including the funerals of both my parents.

The bottom line

Although I was grateful to be able to attend Easter morning mass at St. Vincent's this year, it was terribly disconcerting to have yet another lay homilist give a testimony.

I don't think these dear people fully understand the situation when they bow to pressure from parish leadership and agree to sermonize during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I gleaned from the administrator's homily that no matter what 'storm' we are going through, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will help us through it. I get that. In fact, I got that at countless Evangelical (and Pentecostal and Charismatic) church services in my past. So, on this very holy day of the liturgical calendar, I was somewhat shocked that the deacon called up a parishioner to give a personal testimony of healing.

This is where it gets tough. We all like to hear of Holy Spirit healing. It is a wonderful thing. But there is no provision for a lay person to give a homily or 'reflection' or a 'testimony'. Our parish and diocesan leadership is fond of giving a tortured interpretation of instruction from the Church as justification for lay preaching. See here and here and here and here for some formation about this subject. If you do a google search you will find plenty of info, both for and against lay homilies. In our parish I have yet to see an occasion for justifying this liturgical abuse.

This special type of abuse is one that the administrator is fond of committing, I suspect because using fellow parishioners makes it more difficult for those who are distressed by such abuses to make their feelings known.

One of the things that drew me as a Protestant to the Catholic mass, was the sacred liturgy. It was the full cross, the vertical, as well as the horizontal. Gradually, I began to enter into a deeper understanding and experience of worship. At times I felt as if I had never truly worshiped God outside of a mass. The depth and width and height of Christian worship was something I had not experienced at a non-Catholic church service.

I feel truly blessed to be able, as a Catholic, to enter fully into worship at mass. The 9-month period of RCIA, during which candidates and catechumens cannot receive the Eucharist, was so painful at times. As I became accustomed to the sacred rhythm and flow of the mass, the desire to receive our Lord was overwhelming at times. The mass builds to this apex.

Mass is primarily about worshiping God. He is the Reason we go to mass. We don't go there to be entertained or titillated. It is that holy time of the week in which we enter, along with the angels, into worship of Him. There is a spiritual balance to the mass that has its roots in the Hebrew worship of God in the Tabernacle, and its completion and fulfillment in the mass today. The infinite (God) and the finite (man) come together. Heaven comes down to earth.

When the divinely-authorized balance of the mass is disrupted by a breach of the liturgy, a spiritual discord, a false note jars the concentration. Suddenly, it's not so much about Him anymore. It's about us. And then it's a short step to noticing that person coughing and the fidgeting baby. And then our mind wanders and we're thinking of next week's work.

And that brings me to the bottom line. Nothing is so important or 'good' that it is worth taking our minds off worshiping God in the mass. The. Holy. Sacrifice. Of. The. Mass. God has provided us many ways to seek and find Him, and He is always with us. And it is a sacred privilege to worship Him in the mass as handed down to us from Holy Mother Church. Anything less is unworthy of Him.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Speaking of scandals

Diane over at Cleansing Fire reviews Bishop Clark's book Forward in Hope. It is an excellent article detailing some of the fallout from the subjugation of the priesthood in favor of lay ecclesial ministers. From her review:

The financial burden on the laity is not addressed in Bishop Clark’s book, so we are left to wonder if 30,000 LEMs average at least $25,000 in salary; with benefits, expense reimbursement, training and education, resource consumption and using management time, that would represent a cost of well in excess of $1 billion annually! Can the Church really afford this new layer of “ministry”? Are there standards to which LEMs are held or for which they can be fired? Why is the financial issue not addressed, or the measurement of “results” for such an investment of Catholics’ contributions? Is this where the laity put their highest concerns? Or is it in keeping schools and churches open? It is only in the tension of such open discussion that the best decisions can be made for all.

Some of the quotes from lay ministers in the bishop's book are very troubling. There is much, much more in the review. Troubling yes, but things also begin to make sense.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Mark Shea, a well-known Catholic apologist and blogger, writes here about Church scandals at Easter time. Intriguingly, he doesn't frame his argument around today's scandals so much as he does around the scandal of Christ's betrayal and crucifixion. Scandal, he's telling us, is nothing new. It's been around since the beginning of the Church. Let it not overwhelm us, let us not retreat in 'scandal fatigue', but let us always remember that fallen man is not the soul of the Catholic Church -- the Holy Spirit is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011 at St. Vincent's Church



It was standing room only for the 9:30 a.m. mass this glorious Easter morning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Good Friday youth events

God bless our local youth. Did you see in the bulletin that the parish youth group will be presenting a dramatic reading at St. Mary's, 7 p.m. on Good Friday? From the bulletin: 

All Saints Parish Life-Teen Ministry will present ―Were You There? – Reflections on the Passion of Christ. The dramatic reading will take place on Good Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church. Featured readers will be: Ryan Butler, Aiden Collins, Gabrielle McCarty, Tiffany McMillan, Nicole O’Connell, Flynn Scheib and Matt Trifoso. Music for the presentation will be provided by the Life-Teen musical group...all are invited.

Also, the F.B.I. group is presenting traditional Living Stations of the Cross by FBI teens at Saint Catherine's in Addison at 7:30 p.m., preceded by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 7:15 p.m.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Churches....a reminder

The notion that churches must be closed because there is a shortage of priests is senseless. In order to justify it, one must assume the priest shortage will stretch into the future indefinitely. Not only your children, but your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will suffer it. It is a permanent condition.

Really? Do you really believe that?

Second, how do dioceses around the world handle priest shortages? Well, they usually move the one (priest) around to the different churches. They don't destroy buildings and make hundreds travel. Simple logistics.

Third, our churches house the tabernacle. Our Lord dwells there, bodily. They are holy places and we don't destroy them just because we might not be able to have a resident priest. Keeping them is a sign of hope that the future will be brighter for our children and grandchildren. It speaks to the continuity of Faith in a foundational way.

Fourth, closing churches destroys a sense of community. It tears at the spiritual and social fabric of a neighborhood. It separates a people from their heritage. Churches are a reminder of heaven here on earth.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stockyard Grill plans grand opening Saturday

Have you visited the Stockyard Grill yet? At the Ramada Inn in Painted Post, the restaurant's grand opening is this Saturday, April 16. The ribbon cutting kicks things off at 4:30 p.m. ASP parishioners Jeff and Kathy Bates have provided a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere with a fine selection of food and drinks. The menu includes steaks and chops (a must have), seafood and chicken, even mac-n-cheese, as well as a menu for casual dining at the bar. And dining out at the Stockyard Grill with your family won't break the bank.

Of course there's live music--the kind you can enjoy and still think and speak at the same time. And did you know there are extensive banquet facilities, too? Ask Jeff about hosting your next event there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pastoral Councils

Cleansing Fire has an article titled Pastoral Councils in the Diocese of Rochester. It brings up some relevant points, which I am not sure are applicable to our parish. From the article:

I was scanning through the Code of Canon Law the other day and came upon Canon 536, which happens to be the section of the code which describes the pastoral council. Here is what the Canon says, with my emphasis:


“Can. 536 §1 If, after consulting the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this council, which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action.”


The Canon states that the pastoral council is to be presided over by the “parish priest.” This got me to thinking. We have a large number of parishes in the diocese currently headed by lay pastoral administrators (16 parishes spanning several churches).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Conversion

I don't know if any of you have heard of Robin of Berkeley. Robin (not her real name) has been blogging about her political and now religious conversion for awhile. She posted yesterday about her ongoing conversion to the Christian faith. It is a beautiful thing to behold a soul awakening to the truth of Jesus Christ. From her latest post:

But then something happened after a few months: My understanding deepened. When I went to these churches, I had questions. . . challenging ones. I was troubled to discover that not all was okay in most of these churches.


Many of them were too focused on worldly matters, like material success. The majority of services were feel-good experiences about how much God loves all of us. Conspicuously missing, in my mind, was what we have to surrender to live in God. And those pesky concepts of sin, evil, and hell were clearly off limits to placate the congregants...

Read the whole thing.

Jesus... meek and mild?

Truth for the day: The Church Militant. Still.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Onward and Upward

Parishioners in Syracuse keep on keeping on. The money quote: “To me, it seems the church has become a business, and I thought they are supposed to be saving souls,” Angiolillo said. “Closing churches of loyal parishioners is not the best way to save souls. They are only harmed by this action.”

Friday, April 8, 2011

Holy Week Adoration

Parishioners have been granted permission to organize a period of Adoration beginning at 3 p.m. on Palm Sunday with Exposition at 3 p.m., concluding on Wednesday,  April 20, at 1:30 p.m.

To sign up, email Brian at tbmdcc@yahoo.com.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Sacred Status of Dry Bones

The body of St. Patrick's  is filched
What if our parish churches had truly been dead? Not going through tough times, but truly empty of life and vitality. Not a temporary shortage of the clergy, or a cyclical change in demographics that comes and goes. But dead. Dry bones dead. The remains a husk, the skeleton of a building. Closed, shuttered, decaying.

What should be done? Like a loved one who has died, what is the obligation of the Church to its dead?

Should the body be obliterated? Not lovingly handled and cared for after death, but now treated as a source of filth to be filched of its finery? Quickly, remove that ring and grab the gold necklace!

Is a dead church, like a dead body, to be acknowledged as a temple of God, something holy? Does it not have the right to exist still on this earth, to stand--a silent tomb--as a witness to resurrection?

Ezekiel prophesied about the dead bones of Israel. Listen for the words of Ezekiel 37:12-14 at mass this Sunday. 

1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.”’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.'” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

Dry bones can come to life. Death can be destroyed. The body can be resurrected. And because our God can do all these things, it is highly immoral to destroy Catholic churches that have not died, but are and were still living and breathing, as St. Patrick's was, and as St. Vincent's is now.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Them chickens is organized!

Upcoming: a newsletter with lots of good information. If you would like to get involved contact us at admin@savingourparish.com. Thanks to CT for the video!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And just 'cause

Time lapse photography of the Aurora in Norway. Incredibly, humbly awe-inspiring. Let it fully load before watching...it's a little glitchy.

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

The Unexpected Life, to say the least...

More information about former Catholic priest and current protestant pastor Dale Fushek, founder of Life Teen.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Faith By Interaction

There's a new website up. You have to check it out. The video "The Book of Life" will have you crying. The photo gallery will have you smiling.

Yeah, it's the F.B.I!