Monday, October 30, 2006

Newsletter of 10/29/06

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—October 29, 2006

Other Christs
“As a child, I was taught correctly that a priest is ‘another Christ.’ There's just one problem with the statement: My teachers failed to inform me that he's another Christ not because he's a priest, but because he's a Christian.

“I, a priest, am another Christ, not because of what happened to me in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome in December 1964, but because of what happened to me in St. Mary's parish church in Belleville, Illinois, in February 1940. Followers of Jesus become "other Christs" at Baptism, not at ordination.

“At times, our quest to honor our Church's clergy comes at the price of dishonoring everyone else. One person's dignity should never diminish anyone else's dignity….

“If only the priests in the community are other Christs, then, following Paul and Luke's theology, only the priests will ever rise from the dead or find blessings in imitating Jesus. Fortunately, we now realize that Jesus' image is to be found in all His followers—the other Christs to whom we priests are called to minister.

“If we don't recognize Jesus in them, it might be very difficult for them to recognize Him in us.” from Father Roger Kardan, scripture scholar and a priest of the Belleville (IL) diocese

A Candle, a Flag, and a Vote
Just a couple of thoughts: One of the things I appreciate about my church is the liturgy, the richness of the rituals and the depth of meaning. So, it bothered me this Sunday that the Easter Candle was nowhere in sight and in its place were two flags and a sign placed by our Knights of Columbus. The Easter Candle is lit at our Easter Vigil and should remain visible throughout the year in our church. Among many things, the candle reminds us that Christ is our light, that we celebrate resurrection every mass and that we have all been baptized into new life. If our Easter Candle has been replaced by an American flag and a KC sign, what does that say about what we are celebrating as the center of our lives?

Second thought: We are in an election season. Your own voice and the voice of your faith cannot be heard if you do not place your vote. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has information on their website regarding faithful citizenship. Our church supports all pro-life issues, including a campaign to end the death penalty, and has firmly stated that Iraq is an unjust war. We will hear this coming weekend about the greatest commandments—“love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Part of loving our neighbor is making sure we do what we can to put people in office, and policies in place that treat our neighbor with justice. Be informed and place your vote.
from fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña

In a coup on March 24, 1976, a military junta seized power in Argentina and went on a campaign to wipe out left-wing terrorism with terror far worse than the one they were combating. Between 1976 and 1983—under military rule—thousands of people, most of them dissidents and innocent civilians unconnected with terrorism, were arrested and then vanished without a trace. These are the desaparecidos, the disappeared.

Father Genaro Henriquez, still listed in our bulletin as Pastoral Vicar, seems to be un desaparecido—gone with the wind, vanished in the night, wiped from our sight like images in those doctored photos of Party notables in the old Soviet Union. Father Genaro? Who? Was he ever here?

There aren’t a lot of facts available, but we do know that the Monsignor requested that the Bishop reassign Father Genaro. Reasons? Details of events that might have prompted this? All speculation at this point.

What is not speculation is that Father Genaro provided, in his homilies, a thoughtful counterbalance to the endlessly repeated pious prattle that has been standard fare in our Parish the last few years.

What is not speculation is that the Monsignor has chosen to completely ignore Father Genaro’s departure. No announcement of it, no public acknowledgement and thanks to him for his service to the Parish. How callous and how petty.

In Solidarity with Our Priests.
A poster displayed at Holy Spirit Parish on 9/29/06
On the contrary, shouldn’t priests be in solidarity with those to whom they are called to minister? A Parish precedes its pastor, both in time and in logic—the pastor serves the community, not the other way around. So, the question is not whether parishioners stand with the pastor, but whether the pastor stands with the parishioners.

At the two general meetings about religious education, the Monsignor told everyone present that those who would choose to “home school” their children would be provided materials, guidance, and support from the Parish. This is not happening. In fact, at Sunday Mass, from the sanctuary of the church, the Monsignor belittled and attacked a group of people who have formed their own support group so that they can help each other carry out the religious education of their children. F.I.R.E. meets monthly, both children and parents—see the Blog for the details of this support group.

Priestly People
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

The priesthood in our Church is not a cultic priesthood, like that of the Jewish temple or that of ancient pagan religions. By contrast, the readings from Hebrews that are being featured in these current weeks make it very clear that Christ is our High Priest and His the only sacrifice, and that that sacrifice is once and done, to be carried out no longer. The Eucharistic celebration unites us to Christ’s sacrifice, it is not a new sacrifice offered by the priest in our name. This is our celebration—the priest leads us, but it is not his celebration.

The gradual accretion of cultic priesthood characteristics to the Church’s office of priest has done a lot of damage to the workings of Eucharistic Communities and even to the understanding of the meaning of the Eucharist itself.

$$$$$ Update
This begins the second year of reporting on the state of parish finances. We have yet to receive a financial report for the fiscal year ending 6/30/06, so budgeted amounts are speculative, but assuming the same budget as previously ($14,500 per week), here are some numbers for the last two weeks. Total below budget: $6,434.46. Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $10,318.98. Projected yearly shortfall: $268,293.48.

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

Posting a Comment: You may now submit a comment simply by clicking the "POST A COMMENT" link under the "COMMENTS" button below. Approval of comments are done only to prevent unsuitable or advertising type posts. You may also wish to add your e-mail address to our database to automatically receive biweekly newsletters. Simply e-mail us at: with a notation to add your name to our list.


Anonymous said...

Re: Desaparecido Priest
There must have really been some bad relations between Louie and Father Genaro for him to be transferred under such 'hush-hush' conditions without even a word of where he was going or any thanks for his services... Nothing surprises me anymore at Holy Spirit. Just goes to show the relationship between Louie and the Bishop,.. his boy gets anything his heart desires! What a shame for all the other fine, dedicated priests in the dioceses who are ten times the priest Louie will ever hope to be! Christ is crying over what is happening in His Church!

Anonymous said...

Damn. Father Genaro's homilies were like a breath of fresh air at Holy Spirit. We are all going to smother if we have to listen to Fr. Louie again!

Guy Hallman said...

There is much to lament at the "new" Holy Spirit Parish, but one of the truly sad and most damaging turn of events has been the division that the bishop and Msgr, Brum have deliberately created among parishioners. Last night a group of us assembled at the church for our small church community meeting and the Msgr. and 2 of his loyalists were there in front of the church. The Msgr, and one loyalist totally ignored us. To his credit the other grunted a small greeting our way; I do appreciate that. I called out the other loyalist's name and he answered, "oh, hi", and immediately directed his attention back to the Msgr. Our pastor said nothing and did not acknowlege our presence. What a totally poor pastor is he. How many parables speak to him as the example of how NOT to be a pastor? Who cannot recognize his deliberate incompetence as a pastor?

The loyalists, who are drunk with the elixir of pastoral approval, not noticing how totally unlike Jesus Msgr. Louis Brum is. Word is getting out that the "new" office "staff" is blaming his and their failure to accomplish the many tasks of running Holy Spirit Parish on the staff that recently quit, blaming them for sabotaging the parish. The fabrications coming from their mouths are to be expected given the example that Brum shows them. May God have mercy on Brum's soul, and may his loyalists wake up soon. After all, we are still a parish.

Anonymous said...

Religious Ed.
How true. Now that Father Louis has totally destroyed a truly GREAT religious Education Program at Holy Spirit, he has also done NOTHING to support the parents that have elected to home-school their children, as he so highly recommended and promised to support at both of his religious education information meetings.
I guess Joe Aleman could read the writing on the wall when he so adamantly asked for assurance from both Fr. Brum and Crawford of their promised support. As usual, neither one’s word has proven to mean a damn thing.

Anonymous said...

Holy Spirit Parish has turned into the BIGGEST JOKE in the diocese! Truly a case of the blind leading the blind! No one there knows what they are doing, including the Monsignor! If it wasn't so sad, it would be hilarious!

Anonymous said...

So true! Michelle Peña's bit about the Easter Candle is typical of how things are now being done at Holy Spirit. That would NEVER have happened under the guidance of our previous PROFESSIONAL staff.
Think all of this doesn't make a difference? Just look at the HUNDREDS of parishioners that are now no longer attending mass at Holy Spirit. How does our Bishop and the Monsignor justify this? What a tragedy!

Anonymous said...

Someone asks how our Bishop and the Monsignor justify their actions at Holy Spirit. The answer is they don't. It is like the war in Iraq, any attempt at justification is a lie. The truth is, it's all about pure unadulterated power.