Saturday, July 31, 2010

Church and Summer

Here in New England, summer is never long enough. I think by nature, we try to cram in as many activities and get-togethers as possible in these few precious weeks. The question is: Does this affect when and where we go to church? Do we attend at a different time or place? What do we do when we travel?

For my family, it's actually easier. With choir on hiatus until September, we can attend one Mass together on Sunday, usually 8:30. Then we get the whole rest of the day as "family time."

What do you do?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh Dear, I've Lost Jesus...

I'll never forget the CYO Mass I attended in college where Fr. Joe, the beloved little old Irish priest, misplaced the host under the patten and exclaimed that he "lost Jesus." The good news is that Jesus was never lost and our Mass continued once he realized what happened. 

Although an amusing story today, it illustrates a sad but common reality in how many we lose focus during the Mass and instead let the details and our own sense of "me" get in the way. Please don't get me wrong....I'm not doubting any one's sincerity and love for Christ when I write this...but I think we've lost sight of the center of the Holy Mass..Jesus.

We recently attended Mass at another parish while visiting it's town. (Said parish and town's name will remain nameless to protect the innocent....and the guilty.) I'll just say that this is a rather large, newer church whose builders spared no expense when it came to amenities but missed the boat when it came to a "space suitable for worship." Don't get me wrong - this church has potential but sadly a bit more catechises on the Mass is an order. The raised choir "stage" behind the altar, digital hymn boards, parade of EMHC's slathering the on hand sanitizer before communion, and the complete lack of anything resembling Jesus in the sanctuary, make it very difficult to concentrate on the suffering and death of Our Lord. If dear Fr. Joe had "lost Jesus" during this circus, no one would have noticed.

Beautiful music and immagry, vestments, incense, and "full participation" are a wonderful part of our faith. Our Lord deserves no less than the best we are able to do. We just have to understand that these things are supposed to enhance the Mass and not take away from and become the focus unto themselves. Fortunatly, this parish has a new pastor who I think will guide his flock to understand what is important. I'm looking forward to visiting this church in about a year or so.

Let's pray that our clergy and lay people develop a deeper understanding and love for the Mass and that we don't "lose Jesus" in the details.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Because Sometimes We Need a Little Help From Grandma

Today is the Feast of St. Anne & Joaquim, the parents of Mary. We have a shrine to St. Anne here in Fall River that was a place of many miracles and healings. As far back as I can remember, we attended the Feast Mass since it was a popular French-Canadian devotion in this area. My mother would usually take me and go with my aunts.

I took 2 of my children tonight, and although it's nowhere near as grand as when thousands came by the bus-load, we still followed the procession with the statue, venerated the relic, and lit candles. It makes me feel good to pass on this devotion to my children. I can only pray that more people will continue and keep it going into the next generation.

Remember O Saint Anne, thou whose name signifies grace and mercy, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help and sought thy intercession, was left unaided.Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, good and kind mother; before thee, I kneel sinful and sorrowing.O holy mother of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, despise not my petitions, but hear me and answer my prayer. Amen

Good St. Anne, pray for us.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Old Double Standard

Where's the outrage? Where's the media coverage? Where are the lawsuits? Where are the New York Times editorials?

Germany's First Female Lutheran Bishop Resigns Over Alleged Inaction On Abuse

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sound Familiar?

'Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Rev. 3, 22

I'm attending a bible study on the Book of Revelation. I'll be honest...and a bit ashamed that I've never really read much it save for a few passages commonly heard at Mass. Did you know that this is the only book in the Bible where we are blessed by God not just for following its teachings but simply for reading it?

We focused on chapters 2 & 3 this week where we read Our Lord's commendation and condemnation of each of the seven churches. We know today that this is Jesus speaking to the Universal Church and the words are as relevent today as they were in 90 A.D.

The facilitator challenged us to re-read the chapters at home and compare them to our own parishes. Are we complacent like the church at Epheses and "lost the love we once had?" Are we "lukewarm" as they are in Laodicea and just go through the motions at Mass each week?

I'd like to take that once step further and examine "Domestic Church"of our own homes and families. How does the Lord see us in our lives? Would he see our love, faith, service, and endurance as in Thyatira? Is our family a model for others or are we like the church as Sardis and have the "reputation of being alive but...are dead?"

I'm looking forward to more of this study and I'll pass on what I can. Have a great weekend.

The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again. On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name.
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  Rev. 3, 12-13

Change is Never Easy

When a Beloved Pastor is Reassigned

  With many reassignments happening this time of year, this article seemed fitting. This also hits close to home as my own parish of Holy Name is welcoming our new pastor this weekend. Change is never easy, espicially when the exiting priest did so much for the spiritual health of his flock and brought back so many to the sacraments in only 5 years. But, as the article states, Christian faith is not based on the personality and actions of any one person, no matter how holy and good he might be.
   A parish is more than a pastor, its ministries, its charisims, or its after-Mass coffee. It's our faith in Jesus Christ and the fact that everything does stem from and go to Him. Of course it is never easy, but Jesus never said that it would be.

   Please pray for my parish, the priests, and all of the parishes who are dealing with reassignments this summer.