Monday, May 02, 2005

Newsletter of 05/01/05

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—May 1, 2005

Crisis Resolution and the Parish Community.
One Bishop’s Thoughts. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit on crisis resolution in the Early Church: “Well what did they do [in this crisis]? This is where you get a real clear understanding of what the church really is. It is the whole community that is called together. It is not just Peter saying, ‘Okay, I'll decide how to handle this.’ The whole community comes together. They wanted to develop what much later in theological terms we call the sensus fidelium—the common understanding of all the faithful, of the believing people.

“Because everyone has insights, everyone is connected with Jesus, everyone who is baptized is a member of his body. Jesus lives in every member of that community, because of this they all have a right and responsibility to be listened to. And so that's exactly what they do. They call the whole community together and they listen to various ones speak, and pretty soon there's a consensus as to what to do. …That's how they resolved the crisis in the early church, and it was based on very sound understanding of who the church is—the whole community of disciples. If you listen to what Peter spoke in his homily: ‘You are a chosen race, a community of priests, kings, a consecrated nation, a people God has made God's own to proclaim God's wonders through the whole community, share in the work of Jesus, the mission of Jesus, prophetic, priestly and royal.’ The whole community.” From Bishop Gumbleton's sermon of April 24th.

Another Bishop’s Thoughts “As your shepherd in the Valley, I am also very concerned about your welfare and the welfare of the parish. I have asked [the Pastor] to design a plan whereby we can both reach out to all the parishioners to help heal the wound that …the entire community at Holy Spirit [has]… endured. I have also offered to help in any way that I can to bring about harmony and peace to which the Kingdom of God calls us.” From Bishop Peña’s Message to Holy Spirit Parishioners, June 2003.

We should all pray that our Pastor will take these thoughts to mind and heart as he begins to deal (we hope) with the concerns that have been raised in the letter signed by so many parishioners.

Romero and El Salvador, Part I
It was glorious, it was truly glorious! That’s all. There are no words in vocabulary sufficient to describe the visit to El Salvador that Sister Cecilia, Celia Muñoz, Teresa Savoie, and I made for the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the assassination of ‘Monseñor’ Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero. Monseñor is in quotation marks because that is what La Gente calls him, either that or San Romero de las Americas. Jesuit Jon Sobrino, a noted theologian from the University of Central America, says that it is time to call him San Romero del Mundo, so universally significant is his life and his writings, and especially his homilies which deliver so powerfully his message of the “the preferential option for the poor,” and many others which I will mention later.

During the ten days at Hospital Divina Providencia (HDP), where Archbishop Romero lived and was killed, hundreds of people from all over the world came to pay homage to this great man, truly RISEN IN THE SALVADORAN PEOPLE, just as he said he would be. We did not stay for the national celebration on April 2nd, but I assure you that our “hearts were burning” and brim full of love for San Romero and Salvadoran people, especially the Sisters with whom we stayed and the patients of the hospital with whom we visited.

The Missionary Carmelites of St. Teresa, who care for the cancer patients at HDP, provided a small house for the Archbishop and it was in the hospital chapel of Divine Providence that Msr. Romero was shot during a Mass he offered for Doña Pinto, the mother of a journalist and friend, Jorge Pinto. Fortunately, a cameraman was present, and many pictures were taken of this atrocious attack on the Archbishop. But this was also an attack upon the Catholic Church of El Salvador and La Gente, whom he loved so much. These pictures haven been enlarged and are on display at the Centro de Monseñor Romero on the University campus. As I was standing and looking at them, I could only think of the many times in his homilies that Archbishop Romero told those who wanted him dead that he forgave them, and that they were forgiven, that God loved them and wished that they would, by the sacrifice of his life, be converted to the poor, to share their land, and to live as Christ would want them to live. For this he was brutally killed.

I could not help but join my prayer to his, that soon his people would be free to live without hunger, without death of their babies from dysentery, with good work and good pay, so that they and all the Salvadorans might live in peace, from oppression and repression. From a fellow parishioner, Sister Marian Strohmeyer

Night Vision
“Unity is not something we are called to create; it’s something we are called to recognize.”—William Sloan Coffin

What brings more depth to our Eucharistic experience is that we celebrate together as a community, that we come together and recognize each other as joined parts in the Body of Christ. I don’t think that I am alone in sensing that a feeling of “us” and “them” has crept in to our celebrations, an undercurrent that we are watching each other to see who is doing what. Watching each other and recognizing each other are two different things; one requires eyesight, the other depends on seeing each other with our heart. The following story made me think that maybe we need to recognize the shadow that has fallen on our community and each do our part to let in the light.

An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and day had begun. “Could it be, “asked one student, “when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it’s a sheep or dog?” “No,” answered the Rabbi.

Another asked, “Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it’s a fig tree or a peach tree?” “No,” answered the Rabbi.

“Then what is it?” the pupils demanded.
“It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you can not see this, it is still night.”—Hasidic Tale from Peacemaking Day by Day. From a fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña

Of Mice and Men
It isn’t so much Ratzinger who concerns me, but instead the “Mausinger” bishops and pastors, small men with little intellect and spirituality, who may now think they have carte blanche to suppress and persecute the progressive faithful.

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

Note: If you would like to contribute a posting or a comment to this site, please send it to:, with "Holy Spirit" in your title line. You may also e-mail this article to a friend, simply by clicking on the little envelope icon below!


Kanickers said...

The May 1, 2005, newsletter is another great issue. I find myself always looking forward for the newest one. Thank you to Jerry Brazier and the RGV Parishioners for Progress for putting together this newsletter. From the first issue to the latest it has been a great educational experience for me. My eyes are opening to a new understanding of the wonderful realities and possibilities our catholic faith has to offer. I hope that some day soon we can experience them at our parish again.

If Peter called the whole community to find solutions to their crisis, if that is how the early church did it, why can't Fr. Louis do the same? I know several attempts have been made to ask him to bring us all together for healing and reconciliation, the latest being the letter signed by more than 270 parishioners. Why is he still refusing to do it?

As the newsletter points out and as Peter told the early church community, we, the parishioners of Holy Spirit Parish, also 'share in the work of Jesus, the mission of Jesus, prophetic, priestly and royal.’ We are 'a chosen race, a community of priests, a people God has made to proclaim God's wonders to the whole community'. Wow! I never understood that so clearly, that we have such an important role to play and such an incredible responsibility.
Thank you!

Kanickers said...

Michelle Pena's observation on the fractures in the Body of Christ at Holy Spirit Parish refer to possibly the most tragic outcome of the turmoil begun by the bishop on June 18, 2003.

When Fr. Jerry was here, that would not happen because he would immediately get the feuding parties together to find out what was the problem and how to heal it.

Mr. Brum refuses to broker reconciliation. This is a very serious failing on his part and one that makes him unfit for the role of our pastor.

That the bishop lets this happen with no action attempted to correct it, makes him an accomplice.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Guy Hallman