You know what to do!
(If not, E-mail me.)
OK, enough E-mails! The "you know what to do", above, was NOT at all intended to suggest that we gang up on our Bishop while he is here at our parish... It's just been so long since he has visited Holy Spirit, I just wanted to make sure that we all remembered the proper way to greet him while he is here. Instead of e-mailing instructions to everybody that inquired, I have just included those instructions as a comment attachment to this posting.
Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit, May 15, 2005
The Peñas Make a Report
Mark and Michelle Peña were able to meet with Fr. Louis on May 6th. Because Fr. Louis had commitments to another parish, the meeting was brief and an agreement was reached to meet again for further discussion. Efforts are still being made to confirm a meeting time.
During the meeting Fr. Louis expressed that he was unwilling to meet with the group of five representatives, but said he is available to meet with parishioners on an individual basis.
Fr. Louis feels that one must let go of the past and that time takes care of things. He feels as Catholics, we should take a more obedient role and defer to those in authority.
He expressed embracing a more passive approach to addressing problems and leaving solutions in the hands of those in charge, which is at odds with the philosophy of engaging the whole parish community in actively identifying and seeking solutions to problems. There seems to be a marked contrast in views regarding the Eucharist. He feels adoration should receive more emphasis than the act of living the Eucharist.
Fr. Louis continues to believe that there are an "intelligent few" who have an "agenda" and that this small group is at the heart of all the dissention in our parish. It is hoped that further discussion will convince Fr. Louis that there are concerns in our parish that need to be respected and addressed, and there are many people who have and are willing to help address these concerns.
The Eucharist and the Community
A parishioner has said that the Pastor cannot control his witness and ministry: "If the Pastor forbids me from doing something, I will continue, but outside the context of the parish."
Of course, we are all that free. But it is a diminishment of our lives as Catholics to witness and minister bereft of our community. We are meant to live out the Gospel with our ecclesia, our assembly, our Body of Christ. The Eucharist is our assembly's celebration of Christ's life and death and everyone brings their witness and ministry to the table, identifying ourselves, just as Christ did, with the bread and wine. When we are not allowed to live the Gospel within the parish, the Eucharistic celebration is lessened.
Contrasts on the Day of the Spirit
Mothers' Day, well past and not even liturgical, dominated Pentecost's Eucharistic celebration in the parish. Not just with the silly "symbolic" roses, but with the interjection of cloying remarks into the Eucharistic Prayer itself. Mass intentions, bought and paid for, are a Catholic tradition that should probably just fade away, but when the practice takes on this magnitude (to the tune of at least $500 for a "novena"), it becomes unseemly. Simony is the "deliberate intention of buying or selling for a temporal price such things as are spiritual". It is sacrilegious.
"Submissive, passive, docile, and pliant", these were the characteristics we were encouraged to adopt for ourselves by our Pastor on the Feast of the Holy Spirit. This is the same Holy Spirit of whom we asked, in song on that same day, to "send down the fire of your justice." It is unfathomable how one person's view of the Christian life could be so diametrically opposed to the plain words of Scripture.
Some more flowery thoughts
We used to place at our altar, gifts of rice and beans for the poor of our community. Now each Sunday we have a very expensive flower arrangement at the altar. This shift is a real change of priorities and is also symbolic of the larger dismantling of the Holy Spirit community that is taking place. So, maybe flowers can be symbolic after all.
Most of us will agree that we believe that God answers prayers. What trips us up is how we believe the answers come. And that deals with more than just whether or not we get the answer we want to hear.
Most of us don't have the "movie" moment when the clouds part and a big voice from the heavens calls down the solution, or have a lightning bolt strike and take care of everything. For most of us, the answers come in the course of unfolding events, through quiet reflection or even through the actions or words of others. Our part is to be receptive. That does not give us license to take the "couch potato" approach. We have to engage and actively listen.
There is another part to the equation. If we believe that God answers prayer through the words and actions of others, we must admit that God can and will answer prayers through us. We can be called to action, to be an instrument. Sometimes our part in prayer is to be hands and feet and not be on our knees. Or, as St. Francis expressed it: Always preach the Gospel, and use words only when necessary. From fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña
A Rush to Judgment
In an overheard conversation, a self-styled "prominent" member of Holy Spirit Parish said that it was "just a handful of gringos" who were dissatisfied with the current state of the parish.
There are several issues that could be taken with that comment. Factually, it comes up just a little short: 273 people can hardly be described as a handful (unless we are talking very large hands). And, since nearly 75% of those signing the letter of concerns to the Pastor are from households identified as Hispanic, the "gringo" part doesn't wash either.
Facts aside, the comment says much more about the speaker than about the situation in our parish. It is a comment by an intellectually lazy person who refuses to engage the substance of another person's concerns or ideas, but instead dismisses them simply on the basis of that person's name, appearance, etc. Prejudice means pre-judgment, that is, ideas from "people like that" do not have to be heard to be rejected; they can be rejected out of hand.
It is sad that Holy Spirit has parishioners (prominent or not) who cannot rise above the un-Christian patterns of racist thought and action that infect our society, even in their relations within the parish community.
Remembrance of Things Past
Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. (Is. 43:18).
-Quoted by Father Carlos Villarreal in the Blog.
This mantra from some folks in the diocese rings a little hollow when we learn that our current pastor is the plaintiff in a Church legal action (a tribunal) against our former pastor, Father Jerry Frank, relating to the union contract with parish workers. Now who cannot let go of the past?
See you at the Sunday night vigil, 7:00 pm.
Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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