Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Newsletter of 03/05/06

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—March 5, 2006

On Sunday, March 5, 2006, Bishop Reymundo Peña visited and spoke about healing and reconciliation in our parish. As with any family, open communication is essential to our parish healing process. In a spirit of cooperation, this newsletter renews its focus on sharing informative and enriching articles from parishioners, clergy, religious and scholars to further communication, dialogue and learning concerning the teachings of our Faith and the future of the Catholic Church.

The Corporal Works of Mercy are the seven practices of charity toward our neighbor, based on Christ’s prophecy of the Last Judgment that will determine each person’s final destiny:
● Feed the hungry ● Visit the sick ● Bury the dead
● Give drink to the thirsty ● Visit those in prison
● Clothe the naked ● Shelter the homeless

“Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation's largest, urged parishioners on Ash Wednesday to devote the 40 days of Lent to fasting, prayer and reflection on the need for humane reform of immigration laws. If current efforts in Congress make it a felony to shield or offer support to illegal immigrants, Cardinal Mahony said, he will instruct his priests—and faithful lay Catholics—to defy the law.” NY Times Editorial, 3/3/06.

“But to live outside the law you must be honest.
I know you always say that you agree.
Alright, so where are you tonight, sweet Marie?”
Bob Dylan

Living the Gospel is not always comfortable or easy and frequently leaves us very lonely and exposed. There are many in the Parish who find their reading of the obligations of the Corporal Works of Mercy very uncomfortable, difficult, and lonely to carry out.

Possibilities Within the Church
“I have sought to show that even today, changes in the practice of the ministry can be quite legitimate (in the sense of being legitimate dogmatically) and that from a pastoral perspective they may even be said to be necessary for the vitality of the gospel in Christian communities at the present time. Of course opinions may differ over the question of pastoral necessity, but there is no need to brand someone a heretic who points this out and indicates possibilities within the church.”
Edward Schillebeeckx in The Church with a Human Face: A New and Expanded Theology of Ministry (1985). Father Schillebeeckx, a Dominican priest from Belgium, was an expert for the Dutch bishops at the Second Vatican Council.

A New Heaven and a New Earth
“Some want to keep a Gospel so disembodied that it doesn’t get involved at all in the world it must save. Christ is now in history. Christ is in the womb of the people. Christ is now bringing about a new heaven and a new earth.” Oscar Romero

We are in the season of Lent—a season of reflection and preparation, a season to open our hearts more fully so that the Gospel can become more embodied in us. This Lent some of us will choose to give up something as a path for spiritual growth, others of us may choose to adopt a new action. With the turmoil in our world, perhaps choosing to more actively follow Jesus’ example of non-violent love would be a meaningful experience for Lent and a way to participate with Christ in bringing about a new heaven and a new earth.

From Six Principles of Nonviolence (Pax Christi):
Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.
Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
Nonviolent love gives willingly, knowing that the return might be hostility.
Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
Nonviolent love is unending in its ability to forgive in order to restore community. Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
Love restores community and resists injustice.
Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.
From fellow parishioners, Mark and Michelle Peña

$$$$$ Update
According to the Sunday Bulletins, since 10/16/05 parishioners have donated $28,473.33 less than the $290,000 the parish budget called for during that period. If the spending patterns of the last fiscal year have continued (13.4% over budget), then during this same period an additional shortfall of $38,845.20 was created. This gives a total of $67,318.53 of red ink (versus budget) for the period 10/16/05 to 2/26/06. Stretching that pattern for an entire year, the Parish would fall short by $175,028.18.

Images and Language
“In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

“In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe!—I hope I'll be safe at home!” George Carlin.

Like George Carlin’s little bit indicates, the language and imagery we use to describe an enterprise reveal a lot about our understanding of the nature of the enterprise and how we involve ourselves in it. The militaristic images and language that are sometimes used to describe the Church are an example of that—the Church is an army, soldiers of Christ, etc. For many, this sort of language is disturbing, not only because it seems so at odds with the peaceful, nonviolent Christ of the Beatitudes, but also because it leads to jingoistic and super-patriotic displays with uniforms and pomp and regimented group-think that is just too reminiscent of the Fascist governments of Europe in the mid-20th century (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Germany).

The Church is more like baseball than football—safe at home!

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 gbrazier@rgv.rr.com.

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