Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Newsletter of 02/18/07

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—February 18, 2007

More Gumby
“…[the furor over Bishop Tom Gumbleton being refused permission to speak anywhere in the dioceses of Phoenix or Tucson] dramatizes the futility of insisting that Catholics not think, discuss or entertain ‘dissenting notions’ about teachings such as women in the church and homosexuality.

“…We bet that any number of Gumbleton talks, by the way, might be digitally transferred, e-mailed, uplinked, downloaded—the possibilities are many—for those who might like to hear what he has to say on any number of subjects.

“Attempting to put up borders to interrupt the flow of information and keep unwanted thinkers at bay is an act of monarchy as futile and outdated as a castle moat.

“It is an authoritarian act that, in the doing, only further dissipates the already tattered authority of the Catholic hierarchy.

“Men and women today will not stop thinking or gathering information on topics they find compelling because some ecclesiastical figure insists that they must do so. Nor will they refrain from asking questions that derive from their own experience. One might as well insist, upon religious principles, that the earth is the center of the universe.”
from National Catholic Reporter, February 16, 2007

In the February 5th issue of America, the Jesuit-published magazine, there is an interesting article by Daniel S. Mulhall, who works for the USCCB Office of Catechesis. It is entitled “Building Inclusive Communities” and contains a set of suggestions for unifying a diverse parish:
1. Know your people
2. Set up a multicultural advisory committee
3. Work for the complementarity of cultures
4. Develop structures to deal with cultural tensions
5. Encourage conversation and interaction
6. Listen

Now, the target of Mulhall’s advice is those parishes that are culturally diverse in the ethnic sense, but we should realize that in our Church today there are cultures that are just as different, one from another, as that of newly arrived immigrants is from that of an established American parish.

This is the culture gap between, put in an over-simplified way, those who watch EWTN and those who read the NCR. As the last issue of this newsletter talked about, we Catholics are in a big tent and it is the obligation of those directing a diocese or a parish to build an inclusive community for everyone—it’s a six-step program!

From the Mouth of Babes
The season of Lent is upon us. There is something about this season that I have always found comforting. I like the simplicity and the time to refocus. Life has been hectic (in a good way) lately and I have been wondering how to find a way to calm the storm. Leave it to my youngest to provide me with the answer. He reminded me, in church no less, that we are all children of God. Lent is a time to become that child again, to embrace faith with the totality that a child does—unconditional, nothing held back. Children have a capacity to love fully and see things with a clarity that we adults sometimes lose. My youngest, who is all of four and a half, managed to sum up in a few short words Eucharist and Jesus’ message of love. He is ready to jump in and celebrate resurrection. I think I want to grow up and be like him during this Lent.

Here is what he said. He has been asking me why I can’t share my communion bread with him and why he can’t go to communion like everyone else. I have been answering him as best I can, and in my best gentle adult voice tell him that our communion bread is special because it is Jesus. And his big blue eyes looked up at me with absolute acceptance of this fact. Then the look changed to one of slight frustration and he tells me, “But Mom, Jesus would share with me.” In my heart, all I can say is “Amen.”
from fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña

$$$$$ Update
Since 10/15/06:
Total below budget: $23,605.16 (last year same date: $23,716.56)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $58,565.84
Projected yearly shortfall: $169,190.20

This entry in the newsletter has been a feature since October 2005, the last time there was a financial report made to the Parish. That’s almost a year and half ago, and that report was for FY 2005, which ended in June 2005.

No matter whether a person watches EWTN or reads the NCR, he or she has to be appalled at this lack of financial responsibility to the Parish by both the Monsignor and the Finance Committee. The Monsignor’s slipshod management is well documented, but Canon Law provides for oversight, of at least of the financial matters of the Parish, by responsible lay people through the mechanism of the Finance Committee. Each member of that committee needs to be called to task and asked that an accounting be made to the Parish.

More than the home of the ‘Zags, that gritty bunch of boys from Gonzaga University who shake up the NCAA basketball tournament periodically, Spokane (WA) is the diocese of Bishop William Skylstad, who is the current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

As part of the Spokane diocese’s settlement of clergy sex abuse claims, Skylstad will visit every parish where abuse took place and read a letter from the pulpit identifying the pedophile priests who served there. Skylstad has also pledged support to the removal of criminal statutes of limitations in child sexual abuse cases, and has promised to write a letter of apology to any victim who wants one.

This is an example that our own Bishop Peña would be well advised to follow.

“Bishops, priests and deacons cannot be criticized because they are anointed by God.” Deacon Alvin Gerbermann, from the pulpit at Holy Spirit, 2/18/07. (not his only sage comment that day)

“I am different, a person set apart.” Father Anthony Laurano, the last pastor of St. Mary’s Italian in Salem (MA), January 2003.

“Anthony Laurano, a suspended priest awaiting trial in connection with an alleged rape of an 8-year-old boy was charged yesterday with four counts of sexually molesting a 30-year-old mentally retarded man who lives near him in Hull (MA).”
from the Boston Globe, 4/27/06
Apparently you are different, Father Anthony.

“Former Cleveland Catholic Bishop Anthony Pilla received $177,000 in money and furniture over a decade from an off-the-books church account set up to hide the transactions, a former diocesan official said.” from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/19/07

Apparently, Bishop Anthony is different, also. These two anointed Anthonys are probably looking at being set apart—this time by the criminal justice system.

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 mailto:gbrazier@rgv.rr.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In spite of all the other unfortunate things that have happened over the last four years at Holy Spirit, we now don't even have a clue of how we stand financially. Usually, when they quit providing financial statements, there is something very wrong going on. Hope that is not the case here!
Sign me "Very Suspicious".