Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
April 29, 2007
One Ringy Dingy
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells From the bells, bells, bells, bells, Bells, bells, bells
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. Edgar Allan Poe
“They’re baaack!” Those bells at the Consecration, long sent to the deepest closets of sacristies everywhere, have returned to Holy Spirit. They disappeared for a reason and have no business being used. If this is the path we are on, why stop now? Let’s have the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel and… .
Are they really just the bells that are tolling at our Parish interment?
Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne
Advice and Consent
The Pastoral Council has a lot to answer for in the role they played in denying a member of the Parish, a religious Sister, her request to be a Eucharistic Minister—a request, by the way, that the Bishop told her previously, in the presence of the pastor, would be granted by the Monsignor no later than Holy Thursday.
In the middle of all this mess, a member of the Council said that “I think you [the Sister] should be a Eucharistic Minister but haven’t told Father that, because if I opposed him, I would have to leave the parish.” This mindset is a very dangerous one for a member of the Council to have—it undermines that person’s ability to provide honest advice to the Monsignor and if honest advice cannot provided by a person, then he or she shouldn’t be serving at all, since honest advice is the very purpose of a person’s serving on the Council.
This Council was not chosen in an open manner, it does not represent a cross-section of the community, it operates in secrecy with no accountability to those it supposedly represents, and its members seem willing to abdicate any independent judgment they might possess so that the Monsignor remains pleased with each of them. This is a sad state of affairs—why not just disband this group and do away with this fiction that it is truly a council for us, the Parish?
Past, Present and Future
Part of our homily this weekend included “Jesus is in the present. He is not concerned with the past or the future.” I hope what my pastor was trying to express was that we were celebrating in our Lord’s presence, that our Lord was present with us. Part of the great wonder and celebration of Easter is the great connection of our Lord, and through Him, ourselves, to the past present and future. “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Through our rituals and readings we connect to our past, we hear the stories and promises and walk with our ancestors. Through our rituals and readings we celebrate the Word living with us and in us, and as disciples break bread together. And through our rituals and readings, we join in the promise of everlasting communion with our God, and we touch eternity. The connection of past, present, and future in our Sunday liturgy is profound mystery—in spite of the human shortcomings and not quite right lighting and sound effect experiments. from fellow parishioner, Michelle Pena
And a friendly request…
I have been rightly nicknamed a “church lady” in the past, and from personal experience can appreciate the time and energy used to prepare for liturgy. So, this request is respectfully made in the hope that someone reading this newsletter can make a difference. We have the great gift of being dedicated as a parish community to the Holy Spirit. Can we try to celebrate this great gift a little more and not hide the images that identify our special connection to the Holy Spirit? Seems like we could all benefit from at least seeing images of our namesake. It was disappointing to see the wonderful symbols of the flames and the oil for confirmation springing from the waters of baptism covered up this confirmation weekend – we missed a powerful expression of the sacrament we were celebrating, and an expression of the Holy Spirit. from fellow parishioner, Michelle Pena
Aside from the bells, this past Sunday at Holy Spirit also featured a very odd celebration of First Holy Communion. Two youngsters were unable to receive their First Communion on the ordinary day (April 22nd) and so celebrated with the 8:30 Mass community (which saw no first communicants on the 22nd, weird?).
They received only under one species, the Bread—the Cup was not offered to them. “And so He took the Cup, blessed it and gave it to His disciples…”—not applicable for those two, this week. It appears this was not an oversight by the Monsignor, but a deliberate choice on his part. What could possibly have motivated such a strange choice, so contrary to the way in which the Eucharist is ordinarily celebrated? Why deny these two young people the opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist in its full form at their first celebration?
We all know that the sacrament is received, even if only under one species, but “let’s get real” here—reception of both species has been the norm for decades virtually everywhere. How can the Monsignor decide that his idiosyncrasies are now the norm? What about the youngsters, aren’t they “good enough” to share the Cup?
Total below budget: $30,837.84 (last year same date: $29,639.70)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $85,221.12
Projected yearly shortfall: $158,267.79.
Blacksburg is a small town, almost quaint—it sits on a plateau between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains in Southwest Virginia and is the home, as most of us learned a few weeks ago, to Virginia Tech. My wife and I lived there with our children for several years and worked on the Tech campus. It’s a beautiful place with a real sense of community and seeing the town and the campus so horribly in the national news was very sad for us. All those young people gunned down—all that potential and promise snuffed out so violently and so swiftly! Prayers for the families, friends and colleagues of the survivors came very easily.
I was disappointed after Mass at Holy Spirit on April 22nd, the first Sunday after the tragedy at Tech, that the Prayers of the Faithful in our Parish did not contain any prayer related to that tragedy. Instead, the petitions were a repetition of the “old favorites,” which hardly ever vary: pray for the clergy (Lord knows they need it), pray for “true peace” (whatever that is), etc. What a strange view of the Parish community this sort of decision by the Monsignor is indicative of. Pious platitudes with no connection to real events involving real people with real concerns are just drivel. It seems to me that turning our intercessions into such platitudes (particularly in this instance) is indicative of a real “tin ear” as to what affects the community or maybe just of a conscious, self-centered callousness. from fellow parishioner, Jerry Brazier
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.