Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
April 15, 2007
Justice for Immigrants and Opposition to the Death Penalty
Our Bishop Peña has written columns in recent months that speak very strongly on two issues that have political content: immigration and the death penalty. In these columns, the Bishop has taken positions that are in complete agreement with those put forward by the American bishops and the Vatican: namely, justice for immigrants and opposition to the death penalty. The USCCB has taken a stand against the death penalty for a long time and has recently launched a campaign, Justice for Immigrants: A Journey of Hope (see the following for information, http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/).
Bishops are, by virtue of their office, teachers and strong, inspiring words on the issues of the day are expected from them. But more is expected than words. Where are the actions of the official Church in this Valley—actions that will make a difference—on these two issues, immigration and the death penalty, and a whole host of other issues about which Catholic Social Teaching has a lot to say? The Bishop and the priests of this Diocese (in general) are not visible at the demonstrations, are not in the corridors of power using the strong force of the authority of their offices to bring about political action.
You might argue that it is more appropriately the role of the lay Catholic to be in the forefront of such work, putting into practice what the bishops and priests teach us. If that is truly the case, then how is it that priests persecute parishioners who take up that role and bishops not only allow but seem to encourage those priests to behave that way?
Words are very easy for a Bishop to say. Putting those words into action might be difficult, but it is the height of hypocrisy for a Bishop to allow a priest of his diocese to forbid his parishioners putting those words into action and to further allow that priest to engage in a vendetta against the parishioners who object.
Until you, Bishop Peña, either put into motion some official diocesan actions on social justice issues or at least allow your flock to take such actions as part of their Catholic communities, spare us the fine words.
The Vatican will soon issue a new English translation of the texts of the liturgy. “And with your sprit,” will return, as will “consubstantial” and “I believe.” There is also a new version of the Gloria. Here is a commentary:
“What Really Important Matters will be dealt with next? Bring back the fiddle-back chasuble or not? Resurrect the pillbox hat.... oops, the biretta (six-chambered only, of course)? “On This Day O Beautiful Mother” given its rightful place of mariolatrial (?) prominence? I do hope that we get to start playing Barbie dress up with the Infant of Prague as we did when I was a kid. Oh, yes: can we start praying for the conversion of Godless communism again? Thanks so very much.” from Jimmy Mac, posted on the Commonweal Magazine Blog
Mercy, It’s Paschaltide!
“The Great 50 Days—the living out of the time between the Easter Vigil and Pentecost—is occasion for the Spirit-giving renewal of life. It is life risen from the death of all human lamentation, grieving and sorrow. Everywhere the risen Christ appears, the Spirit breathes upon Christ’s astonished followers.” Don Saliers, Emory University, in America, April 2, 2007.
Our church was about one-third full for the 8:30 Mass this weekend—the first Sunday after Easter. Those who weren’t there should consider themselves lucky to have slept in—it was the most outlandish display of complete foolishness that the Monsignor has inflicted on the Parish in his entire tenure.
Instead of the rich liturgical symbols and the joyous songs and texts of the Church’s Paschaltide that Professor Saliers talks about, we had to suffer through the treacly kitsch associated with “Divine Mercy Sunday.” This devotion was a particular favorite of John Paul II and is based on the pious writings of a Polish (surprise!) nun, Faustina. These writings consist of ponderous and saccharine platitudes mixed with statements of extremely dubious theological content. Maybe there have been errors in translation from the Polish, but the statement, “if you venerate this painting, you will not be denied salvation,” espouses idolatry and makes our entering into the Death and Resurrection of Christ some kind of magic act.
The blessing of bulletins and the display, blessing and veneration of a garish painting contributed to what amounts to a profanation of the Eucharistic celebration. The turning out of the church lights during the Eucharistic Prayer, leaving only a spotlight on the celebrant, is completely at odds with the communal nature of what is our Prayer.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia! I went into Holy Week with a sagging sense of hope. Would my church spend the week caught up in the torture and circumstances of Jesus’ death that it would miss the main point—His Life. What gives the passion its terrible beauty is not the pain and suffering, but the reality that a life truly lived to the absolute fullest could be gone in an instant. How could Jesus leave us? How could death touch Him? How do we go on? How do we hold on to the meaning of that life? There lies the depth of the passion and the sacrifice. And then, as Easter Sunday dawns, how do we face the empty tomb? If we are celebrating the life and words of Jesus, the empty tomb is not a dead end, but a space of hope. I pray each of you was able to find a community to share renewed hope with this Easter. I am grateful to the community I shared vigil with—thank you for the gift of a true sense of “He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!”
And so now we move on. We leave behind the empty tomb and hold on to hope. And most importantly, we celebrate and live the life and words of Jesus—a life that death simply did not have the power to hold. He is risen, indeed, to live in and through each of us. Alleluia! from fellow parishioner, Michelle Pena
Total below budget: $29,258.88 (last year same date: $33,920.64)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $79,757.64
Projected yearly shortfall: $159,515.28.
Night Prayer, R.I.P.
Holy Spirit Parish will now have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. four days a week or, as the mathematical scholars who produce the bulletin inform us, 208 hours a month . Wednesday Night Prayer, that tiny vestige of a Catholic practice that predates Adoration by a thousand years, has finally been killed. “Have you no decency, sir?”
Different Visions of Adult Catholicism
Speaking of changes, the long-standing Parish requirement that Confirmation candidates undertake some community service project as part of their preparation program has been dropped. There are probably some seemingly plausible explanations (difficult to organize, difficult to find meaningful projects, etc.) but these will all fall short of the real explanation: those in charge do not believe that putting into practice the social teachings of the Church is an integral part of being an adult Catholic. That being the case, there is no need to prepare youngsters to put those teachings into practice—simple, isn’t it?
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:firstname.lastname@example.org