Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Parishioners' Newsletter of 11/12/06

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—November 12, 2006

The word “scandal” comes from the Latin scandalum, meaning “stumbling block.” Unlike our modern use of the word which refers to particularly egregious public behavior (Enron, Watergate, the escapades of Hollywood starlets, etc.) the original English meaning was closer to the Latin and referred to behavior that undermined society’s values and caused people to question the validity of those values. To “give scandal” was considered particularly serious since not only was the act itself a bad thing but it caused others to question and possibly to “stumble.”

What has happened in our Parish with respect to the Thanksgiving Dinner (see the Blog and the next article below) is, in the original sense of the word, a scandal. Losing the traditional dinner is a bad thing, but the fact that the official Parish has decided to abandon it creates the impression that that sort of outreach is not something Catholic parishes should be doing. Now that’s a scandal.

Missing the Tradition
I recently wrote a Blog entry (Kanickers.Blogspot.com) about the moving (or removal) of the Parish Thanksgiving Dinner from Thanksgiving Day to the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Over the 12 years that my family has lived in the Valley, there has not been a Thanksgiving that at least one of us did not volunteer to help with the preparing, serving and the resulting clean-up after the event. It was an event that we looked forward to every year. It was our "tradition". The interaction with others that had been part of the volunteers for longer than myself, was like going to a family reunion and seeing a cousin for the first time in many years.

I can remember different little incidents where you knew you were doing the right thing. Talking with a couple from Canada that happened on our church and wanted to help on that day, or working with the Confirmation Candidates as they performed various duties as a service project. In performing their task, the Confirmation Youth had to answer one question, “Where was Christ in this task?” All these youth had to do was look around and they would have seen him in many of the people that were there.

This change removes the ability for Christ to shine through us on that joyous Thanksgiving Day. It breaks my family Tradition of serving others by working on the Thanksgiving Day meal. We have a parish that was full of tradition and now we are moving to what many want to call a “Traditional” church.

We were a traditional church by following the words of our Lord in our day-to-day actions. Our Tradition is not based on how things were when we were younger, but how we interpret the Lord’s commands and apply them in today’s world. So the next time someone states that our church is becoming a “Traditional” church, remind them that going back to a simpler time is not what our Lord wants of us. We are to be the Welcoming, Loving and Serving people that our Lord demonstrated to us over 2000 years ago. Peace and Happy Thanksgiving.
From fellow parishioner, Benny Arfele

Beer, Brats and Other Thoughts
Milwaukee has been the site of the Call to Action National Conference for several years now. A weekend ago, there was beer and a few bratwurst, sure, but it was really 3,000 thoughtful people reflecting on the current state of the Church.

What got a great deal of public play was a liturgy celebrated by several women, who have apparently been validly (but illicitly) ordained as priests in the Church. What characterized the liturgy was how ordinary it was — even down to the struggling choir and the pedestrian sermon, it was like any other Sunday Mass — except for the women celebrants. Maybe that was the point.

Here are some quotes from the weekend:
“The only time Jesus got mad was in church”-Father Tom Doyle
“How can the hierarchy be leaders when they where chosen because they are followers?”-Diana Hays
“The pain of losing a parish was worse than the pain of losing a Mother”- pastor of St. Augustine’s, New Orleans
“Tell your bishop and priests what you want them to do for you. They are to serve you, not the other way around” Polish priest, pastor of St. Stanislaus Kosta, St. Louis
“Life is a journey of peace to the God of peace. But the only thing the ‘Empire’ looks for is power”-Father John Dear
“What will save the Church is the laity’s courageous insistence on what is right.”-Jeannette Rodriguez
“Why didn't you leave the church?... I have a baptismal certificate, thus, I am the Church.”- Father Tom Doyle

Some words from Listen With The Heart by Joan Chittister as we approach Thanksgiving and bless each other, our families and our meals together:

“Blessings are the life breath of those who believe in the sacredness of space and place, all things and life. Blessing is an ancient custom which, perhaps, could profit a people who live under schedules that leave us breathless and unsatisfied … Blessings are the visible demonstrations of faith in the goodness of the God whose blessings are often invisible."

“Blessings are the way we celebrate the everyday goodness of our lives. By reminding ourselves always of the bounty in which we our-selves are immersed, we save ourselves from the burden of coveting the lives of others.

“Blessing is not magic and it is not superstition. I t is recognition of the fact that God’s wonders are worked for us every day. If we really believe that life is sacred and good and full of the touch of God, isn’t it time to start saying so again?

“What we bless we declare to be part of what it takes to make us holy.”

And finally, a blessing for each of you from the Book of Numbers:

May God bless you and keep you; may God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you; may God look upon you kindly, and give you peace.
From fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña

Night prayer is a Church practice that goes back to at least the fourth century (pre-dating the Rosary and Adoration by 900 years) and consists of psalms, songs, scripture readings, prayers and meditation. The Monsignor seems to have declared war on Holy Spirit’s long tradition of continuing this ancient practice — shame on him.

$$$$$ Update
Since 10/15/06:
Total below budget: $8,667.12
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $16,436.16
Projected yearly shortfall: $213,670.08

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.com.


Anonymous said...

I know most of you on the Parish Counsel.

In spite of the fact that all of you were 'appointed' to your position by this pastor, many of us have continued to hold great expectations from many of you on your sense of righteousness in the performance of your responsibilities towards the parish. I now see that we have been mistaken!

How in God's name could a 'consensus' of you ever have been convinced to do away with one of Holy Spirit's most sacred traditions?

Can you not see that this pastor is slowly destroying OUR parish? Do you even have a little sense of responsibility for your fellow parishioners? When will you pull up your pants and start acting like our church leaders?

Ben Salinas said...

Re: Previous Comment

Earlier today we were talking about ethics in my business class. The example specifically come up of a member of the board going against the board because he felt a decision wasn't ethical (though it would be profitable). That man was ethical.

It seems that the Parish Council is more excited about following the every suggestion of Fr. Louis rather than making decisions for the good of the parish. Then again, look who put them into "power," Mr. Ethical himself (or should I say, Msgr. Ethical).

It is a sad day when the Church abandons its members; when a family throws out its children. I look forward to seeing the story of The Prodigal Son as told by Fr. Louis.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous #1:
Would you mind telling us who is on the 'Parish Council' so we can confront them on their cowardly behavior when we see them?

Anonymous #1 said...

Dear Anonymous #2:
Sure, I would be happy to inform you of who is on the Parish Council. But first, I need to check with the Monsignor to make sure it would be ok!

Besides, this is all published information. Holy Spirit Parish has done the utmost to keep the parishioners informed of who is on the Parish Council and when they meet. Their meetings are always open to all and they always publish a copy of their 'agenda', just in case any of the parishioners would like to comment or voice their opinions!

I'll be back in touch with you very soon!
(Yea, right!)

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. Was Anonymous #1 writing to Anonymous #2 for real??? If so, why would he/she have to ask Louis if it would be OK to disclose the membership list of the Parish Council? Is it really true that the Parish Council publishes their meeting dates and agenda?

Anonymous #1 said...

Sorry for the confusion Anonymous #2.

I am afraid that we have ALL been fooled by the fallacy of being led to believe that a Holy Spirit Parish Council actually exists. I was being fictitious in my comment, as indicated by my “Yea, right”, however, it does reflect my growing belief that the existence of a Parish Council is simply a vehicle of Monsignor Louie’s creation, established to shield himself from parishioners that are unhappy about what he is doing.

If we have no knowledge of those on the Parish Council and are never invited to attend any of their secret meetings, how can we ever know if a decision was actually the consensus of the council members, or just a decision made by our pastor? Either way, this arrangement makes it impossible for us to voice our discouragement to the responsible parties! Just try to find out who the responsible parties were that voted to cancel Thanksgiving Day Dinner at Holy Spirit!

Either way, this is a great way for our pastor to shield himself from the responsibility of his actions, especially since he knows that all of the council members must surely remain vividly aware that they were “hand selected” and that they could just as quickly be “un-selected” if they should ever dare to speak out against the pastor and in favor of the parish community!

Guy Hallman said...

Okay, but who are the cowards on the "council". I want names.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean to tell me that no one knows who is on your Parish Council and that they hold their meetings in secret? How did they get elected?
I think it's time you go pay a visit to your Bishop!

Ben Salinas said...

Re: WV

Yep... we don't really know who is on our Parish Council. We had a very active Parish Council until our new priest came in and decided to break up the Parish Council.
A few months later, it formed again, but its members were more selected than elected.

The meetings are definitely not announced to the congregation.

Unfortunately, corruption begins with the Bishop (who did such things as take the employees pension plan and build a new house).

It is a sad state of affairs.

Guy Hallman said...

Dear WV,
Been there; done that. The bishop is a big part of the problem. I wonder if the Pope will see us.