Monday, November 29, 2004

Newsletter of 11/28/04

Thoughts from Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation nor ever again be trained for war. (Isaiah 2:4). From the scripture reading for the First Sunday in Advent.

Architectural Digest
There is a persistent rumor that our Eucharistic table will be replaced by a solid stone altar. This would be one more step back into the dark times when "the meal which unites us with Christ's sacrifice" took second place to "the reenactment of a ritual sacrifice" as our primary view of the Eucharistic celebration.

More on Liturgy.
Then he took a cup and... gave it to them, saying: Drink from it, all of you… (Mt 26:26, 27).
At Holy Spirit, one cup is not being given to us but instead is being set aside exclusively for the priest and deacon. This is bad liturgical practice motivated by either bad theology or plain arrogance.

What's with the rose on the Eucharistic table?
That fascinating bedtime read, the GIRM (p. 77) says, Floral decorations should always be done with moderation and placed around the altar rather than on its mensa [table].

Here is some perspective about the significance of our Eucharistic meal: It's from our reciprocal love and, in particular, from the concern we have for those in need that we will be recognized as true disciples of Christ (Jn 13:35; Mt 25:31-46). This is the criterion on the basis of which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations will be confirmed. Pope John Paul II, in his proclamation of the Year of the Eucharist [not the Year of Adoration].

The UFW, the Church, and the Parish.
Youngsters in our parish who are preparing for Confirmation are asked to participate in community projects during their two year formation period. They are not compelled to be part of any particular project, but the projects they do participate in must be from a list suggested to them by those in charge of the program. This year the UFW Walkathon (held on November 21st) was one of the projects proposed.

Our pastor refused to allow project credit to youngsters participating in the Walkathon saying, "it would be inappropriate until the parish issues with the union are settled."

Since the legal issues are settled, it is difficult to understand what such a comment means. Unless, of course, it is an expression of an antagonism towards the rights workers have to organize, whether they be in the fields or in church offices. What do those new banners say, No se puede?

Councils, Committees, and Commissions.
Harry Mosher and his family have been at Holy Spirit for twenty three years and are founding members of the parish.

Harry resigned from the Parish Finance Committee this past week, citing that the real deliberations of the committee have been taking place in "rump sessions", at which only some of the members are welcome. Harry stepped aside.

The Parish Council has not met for several months. The Liturgy Commission has not been consulted about the many liturgical issues in the parish. The Peace and Justice Commission has met with unrelenting antagonism in its efforts to bring fundamental Gospel issues before the parish community.

This is our parish, and the structures in place to enable it to function as our parish are being either dismantled or ignored. Whipped into Shape?
Stand up, stand up, stand up for what's right. Bob Marley.

At Mass on the weekend of November 21st, the pastor stopped the Eucharistic Prayer just before the consecration and told a young boy (about eleven or twelve), who had been standing, to either kneel or sit.

At that Mass and at several others on the weekend there were a scattering of adults who stood throughout the Eucharistic Prayer and were not so chastised. If parishioners are to be publicly chastised, then why single out and bully young children? So much for our pastor's assurance given to the Parish Council that "no one would be forced to kneel".

A second-hand report has our pastor saying to someone outside the parish that he has "whipped Holy Spirit into shape." Such a sentiment is repellent and if the quote is essentially accurate in its content, it exposes for all to see the underlying motivation of so many actions. It is not concern for good liturgy. It is not concern for spiritual vitality. It is about exercising power and imposing one person's will on others—a perversion of the gospel understanding of authority.

As Father John McKenzie has said, "The use of power in the vulgar sense of the imposition of one's will on another is in direct opposition to the sayings of Jesus in which this form of self-assertion is forbidden formally and explicitly. Power is not a substitute for apostolic leadership". We thank you [Lord] for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you." The Eucharistic Prayer.

Some Suggestions.
Pray for Your Fellow Parishioners. We ask everyone to pray for all of those that work for the parish, particularly our staff.

Faith in Action. This Advent, we ask everyone to participate in the Giving Tree activity and to bring rice and beans to help alleviate hunger in our region.

Our pastor has not been seen posting copies of Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo around the church. He has had the bulletin board removed from the gathering space, however.

The small crosses placed amongst the flowers outside of church on November 21st, commemorating the deaths of the six Jesuits murdered by U.S. trained soldiers in El Salvador were not there at the pastor's request. When he removed them, the pastor was overhead saying, "why do these people [the Jesuits] concern us, they were not from around here."

There is no truth to the rumor that the pastor has designated the song, Do Not Fear To Hope, as the official Holy Spirit anthem.

We, as a people and as a nation, must begin to change the way we confront the shattered moral order. We must bring into our public policy this conviction that we will only make true peace on the pillars of justice and love. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, from his sermon of November 14, 2004

Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these or other issues concerning our parish, please contact us at If you would like to have your comments or correspondence posted on Reflections of the Spirit, please e-mail your post to, with an inclusion of "Holy Spirit" in your title line.