Friday, April 27, 2007

Comfirmation Sunday

~Confirmation Time At Holy Spirit~
Bishop Raymundo Peña is scheduled to be at Holy Spirit this Sunday, April 29, 2007, at 4:00 pm for Confirmation.

Update (4/28/07):
Please do not forget that on May 23rd, our bishop will be celebrating his 12th-Anniversary as the spiritual leader of our diocese.

On May 25th, he will also be celebrating his 50th-Anniversary as an ordained priest. He was ordained in Corpus Christi, Texas, on May 25, 1957.

Please join me in wishing him our most heartfelt Congratulations.

Note: A reminder to those of you that have volunteered for the Inverted Blue Bird Program:

This event remains scheduled as planned for Sunday afternoon. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow sufficient time for you to set up and be in your assigned positions previous to the start of activities. You know what to do... See you there!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Very Disturbing News

Very, Very Disturbing News

I have heard from two parishioners that stated that they had spoken to our parish council president about their recent decision to deny a religious sister of our parish from being reinstated as a Eucharistic Minister.

Things are sketchy and I am still investigating, but this sounds like it could be one of the saddest moments in the history of our parish!

Our parish council president stated that Monsignor Brum informed them that the Bishop had sent him instructions to reinstate this religious nun as a Eucharistic Minister.

It is my understanding that Monsignor Brum and his parish council then voted to over-ride the instructions of our Bishop and declare that she remained unworthy of being allowed to be reinstated as a Eucharistic Minister at Holy Spirit parish.

Based on what I have heard so far, I think it is time that we ALL ask our pastor and his parish council members a few questions about the basis of their actions.

None of us were allowed to vote on our parish council members, so many of us have no idea who they are. For your information, here is a listing:

Ruben Solis, President
Joseph Connors
Benjamin Bujanda
Ruben Fonseca
Gabby Martinez
Frances Schreiber
Richard Longoria
Crawford Higgins
Alma Kalifa

Some questions I plan to ask:

(1). Who gave you the right to sit in judgment of a fellow parishioner… especially a religious nun that has spent her life serving her Church?

(2). Who granted you the authority to over-ride the direct instructions of our Bishop?

(3). How many of you, including our pastor, could pass scrutiny of YOUR WORTHINESS to sit in judgement of others?

I am totally flabbergasted by this, but somehow am not at all surprised. I will continue to investigate. If any of you have more information, I would welcome your input.

STORY UPDATE (04/24/07):
This story continues to develop. Please be informed that in order to protect the integrity of the nun involved, I am withholding all comments that include her name.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

April Fools Joke?

Are you sure this is not an April Fools Joke, I asked?

OK, I promise that this came from a reliable source that assured me that it was the absolute truth...

Rumor has it that the Presbyteral Council of the diocese has appointed Msgr. Louis Brum to head up the diocesan Peace and Justice program. Has anyone else heard this?

I understand this position involves his designing and making recommendations on setting up Peace and Justice programs at all of the parishes throughout the diocese. Is this not the most hilarious thing you have ever heard?

The very person that totally destroyed every smidgen of evidence of the most recognized Peace and Justice program in the diocese (Holy Spirit), has now been given the duty of going to all of the other parishes in the diocese to make recommendations and help them establish their very own Peace and Justice program! What a hoot! If this was not so preposterous, I would be rolling on the floor laughing!

I understand the Presbyteral Council consists of fellow priests that make recommendations to the bishop on who should be appointed to the various positions in the diocese. Suggestion is that Louie’s fellow priests recommended him for this program to teach him a lesson for totally destroying the P&J program at Holy Spirit, his home parish. Guess what fellow parishioners… this April Fools Joke is on US!

Newsletter Response

Comment in response to our Parishioners' Newsletter of 04/15/07

The following comment was posted today under comments directed to the Parishioners' Newsletter of 04/15/07, which was posted on Monday, April 16, 2007. There was an insinuation that this comment may not get posted due to its critical nature.

Church Employee Who Has Seen It All has left a new comment on your post "Parishioners' Newsletter - 04/15/07":

Michelle Pena I am ashamed of you. I am disappointed with this blog and the antagonistic attitude toward adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It seems to this unbiased reader (I am not of your parish) that you have battled the enemy to such a degree that you are becoming the enemy. Why can't it be adoration AND night prayer? Why do you have to knock what others find beneficial in their spiritual life just because you don't have a need (understanding?) of it? Isn't that what this blog documents has been done to YOU at Holy Spirit parish? And to call the image of Christ's Divine Mercy kitsch and idolotrous is unchristian of you. I have enjoyed your reflections since I started reading this site, but these statements cannot stand the test of true charity, for while attacking the pastor for his grandstanding at Mass and his ruling with an iron fist, you have decided for everyone that your wisdom and insight are superior than the Holy Spirit's guidance of the Universal Church, which instituted this Feast of Mercy for our benefit. Let's see, you keep tabs of the money spent on the Iraq war, the number of soldiers killed, the number of executed prisoners on death row (not the 4,500 daily murders of innocent children, though! I know, I know, abortion is not the only issue for the enlightened such as yourself, but for those 4,500 boys and girls slaughtered daily, it WAS the only issue) and you call the heirarchy to repentance. Don't you think that these sins, ALL of them, call out to God for justice and that we are all the more in need of God's mercy for allowing them to happen? Or are you so far evolved, a true Vatican II parish, that you no longer need, value, appreciate or want that communion with the Universal Church of which you are a part? Where was that said in Vatican II, that to be a good parish you should ridicule a universal practice of the Church? I am not as articulate as you and I will bet this won't be posted (although my other posts have always been posted, even when they were not favorable to your positions), maybe it can be forwarded to you only, but after reading this today I thought to myself, what a pity that they have turned into what they have battled for so long. I continue to pray for the healing and restoration of this parish for all of its members, only God can bring this about in a way and time that He knows best. In the mean time, an attitude as cynical as what you have had to deal with will not help you, I say this with true concern for you in particular and your faith community in general.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Night Prayer

How considerate of our pastor. I am sure that he called everyone to work out when it could be rescheduled. Right?
No,... how Christian of him!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Parishioners' Newsletter - 04/15/07

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,

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.

Risen, Indeed!
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

$$$$$ Update
Since 10/15/06:
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

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Affirmation Night

You are cordially invited to attend!

The Annual
Holy Spirit Peace & Justice/Pax Christi Affirmation Night

in honor of all of those who work for Peace and Justice in the Rio Grande Valley

Saturday, May 12, 2007
7pm, First Christian Church
corner of Nyssa & 10th Street, McAllen
(Entrance and parking in rear)

Reception with refreshments and desserts to follow.
Families welcome - Babysitting available during keynote address.

Keynote Speaker: Dave Robinson
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA

Iran, Iraq - What's Next?

Dave Robinson is the executive director of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace and justice movement.

An internationally recognized expert in the field of disarmament and nuclear deterrence, Robinson has represented Pax Christi International on disarmament issues at the United nations, and regularly serves as a consultant to NGOs and faith-based organizations working on issues of disarmament, human rights, international peace and conflict resolution.

Robinson has participated on delegations to Iraq, El Salvador, Colombia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and lectures on a wide range of theological and justice issues, including economic and interracial justice, Just War Theory, the role of faith and politics, the War on Terrorism and foreign policy. Robinson has also participated in a number of direct actions, including campaigns against U.S. nuclear weapons policy, the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and most recently in front of the Sudanese Embassy to call attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Darfur region..

Robinson is the Executive Editor of The Catholic Peace Voice, a quarterly newsmagazine published by Pax Christi USA, and has been published by numerous secular and religious publications.

For more information: contact Sister Moira Kenny at 787-8171

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More on "Must He Die"

The Monitor
April 11, 2007

Letter to the Editor

I am writing to thank Bishop Peña for his article in Good Friday’s paper (April 6th) in which he addresses the issue of capital punishment. I thank him for calling attention to this atrocious practice we have in this so-called civilized society of ours. He wrote forcefully against the practice, as has the entire body of the United States Catholic bishops.

For many years at my parish, (Holy Spirit in McAllen) we had the practice, as part of our General Intercessions, of praying by name for those who had been executed by the State of Texas the month before. We also mentioned by name their victims, and prayed for both families affected by this crime. That practice has been done away with as too controversial by new powers that be in our parish. The sad thing is that last year the Deacon (the same one who accused parents of being responsible if their child is molested by a priest) said he did not even know about the national bishops’ statement, let alone agree with it.

Perhaps some day these powers that are and other Catholics who display the bumper sticker “You can’t be both – Catholic and Pro Abortion” will wake up to all that being pro-life entails. Hopefully they will come to see that the Church’s mandate against the death penalty is just as strong, just as Catholic, as its mandate against abortion.

Eleanor Marks
San Juan

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Must He Die?

Must He Die?
I have been trying to access the commentary by Bishop Reymundo Peña in The Monitor newspaper on Friday, April 6, 2007, so that I could post it here on Reflections. Try as I may, I have been unable to do so.

This article is one of the first in recent years that Bishop Reymundo Peña has publicly spoken out against the Death Penalty. The article was very well done. My compliments to our Bishop!

Now all we need to do is get him to join us on every execution day, at 5:30 in front of the Hidalgo and Cameron County courthouses, to protest this very unchristian law.

The following article from the Austin American Statesman discribes just how unjust the State of Texas is towards the Death Penalty.

Oh, one other thing… I would suggest that Bishop Peña not express his attitude towards the Death Penalty on any of his visits to Holy Spirit parish. All of the parishioners that I know of that have openly expressed objection to the Death Penalty at Holy Spirit have been removed from ministries by their pastor.

Austin American Statesman
Saturday, April 07, 2007

Condemned should know that justice was served

A series of articles in the American-Statesman last fall illustrated the shockingly poor work by some court-appointed lawyers representing death row inmates appealing their convictions.

From the first steps after a defendant is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, the process is broken. If they are indigent, as most are, their appeals fall to a court-appointed attorney selected from a list of lawyers maintained by the state Court of Criminal Appeals. Studies show that one-third of the condemned inmates had incompetent appeals counsel.

The State Bar of Texas knows many of those appeals lawyers are not up to the job of representing someone facing death, but says it doesn't have the resources to evaluate the abilities of the lawyers on the list. Worse, the Court of Criminal Appeals generally accepts even the sloppiest work as adequate for condemned inmates.

It's a system that needs to be scuttled and replaced with one providing adequate defense for indigents facing execution. Senate Bill 1655 by Sens. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, is a good effort to repair a broken system.

Their bill would create a committee to set standards for attorneys filing writs for condemned inmates and establish the Office of Capital Writs to represent indigent defendants applying for writs of habeas corpus. Those writs are where inmates raise issues of new evidence, prosecutorial misconduct or ineffective defense. It is often the last hope for condemned prisoners.

In their statement of intent accompanying SB 1655, Duncan and Ellis wrote, "The performance of Texas capital habeas lawyers is neither regulated nor monitored by any court or government agency. Thus, if the habeas representation amounts to the functional equivalent of a lawyer sleeping through the trial, the lawyer is nonetheless reappointed to more cases and the death-sentenced inmate has no remedy or recourse."

Last fall, American-Statesman writer Chuck Lindell found that some appellate lawyers did little or no investigation, filed appeals copied from previous, unrelated cases and filed claims that had been repeatedly denied as grounds for appeal.

An Office of Capital Writs would help solve that problem with a staff of qualified, competent attorneys to represent indigent capital murder defendants in their habeas writs. A fiscal note accompanying the bill calls for only 4.5 new employees for the office, a number that seems way too low for such important work.

But it's a good start. The bill also provides that when a staff attorney is unavailable or can't take a case for other reasons, only competent, experienced outside counsel would be hired and paid to represent the inmate. The current list of lawyers, Ellis and Duncan noted, includes those who have been accused of neglecting clients, have no experience with capital murder cases, have no experience in habeas corpus writs, have mental illness or abandoned their death row clients.

Even the most ardent supporter of capital punishment should expect a defendant to be guaranteed competent counsel. A good appeal lawyer not only protects the innocent but assures that those who are on death row belong there.

The senate bill would be a huge improvement in the administration of justice in the most serious cases, those where a life is on the line. Lawmakers should pass this bill and Gov. Rick Perry should sign it into law.

Like mercy, the quality of justice should not be constrained.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

KMBH - Another View

Another View
By Jim Thompson

April 1, 2007

April Fooltomery hits Valley PBS station
Local TV viewers who tuned to the PBS NewsHour last Friday saw "Clifford the Big Red Dog" instead.

KMBH, Harlingen's public broadcasting station, apparently blacked out the NewsHour because of controversial content. The program contained a feature segment about a life-size statue of the Virgen de Guadalupe in Querétaro, Mexico. When Querétaro residents look at the statue from a certain angle, many say they can see the image of a pizza pan.

Viewers who called the diocese about the missing NewsHour say they received conflicting explanations.

Some callers were told that NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer had been arrested, or that Friday had been a very, very slow news day.

Other callers were told to mind their own business.

Yesterday, the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, which owns the station, explained that KMBH has given up the Friday NewsHour for Lent.

In a written statement, a diocesan entertainment official blamed local newspapers for any confusion: "Total parishioners of KMBH are spitting on porta-pottymouth newspapers which, by raising false hullabaloo in the first instance, thus a big error having been committed for sure, now are going to worse from bad!"

One local NewsHour viewer says she is switching to the CBS Evening News from now on. "Katie Couric would never pull a stunt like this," she said.

Wow. Here we go again!
Question: When are we ever going to get a professionally run Public Broadcasting Station in the Valley? There must surely be a more qualified Station Manager out there than the local parish priest! Has everyone had an opportunity to read his latest Newsletter? Bishop, I think you are paying that guy way too much for what you are getting!


Stations of the Cross


Annual Event

Downtown Stations of the Cross

Join us in praying the Stations of the Cross through downtown McAllen on Good Friday, April 6th, starting at noon and ending about 2:30. This annual event starts and ends at Archer Park in downtown McAllen.

This prayer emphasizes how the sufferings of Jesus continues today in the lives of the poor and oppressed, in sickness, unemployment, AIDS, addictions, violence and war. Participants will take turns carrying the large cross as the group winds its way through the McAllen downtown area, stopping at fourteen different locations, depicting the fourteen Stations of the Cross.

One of our station stops is at the Food Pantry at Sacred Heart parish, so please bring canned goods, rice or beans to donate to the Food Pantry.

Also, please bring your own water and comfortable shoes.

This is an excellent way for the whole family to pray together and remember the sufferings of Jesus on this holy day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Parishioners' Newsletter of 04/01/07

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit
April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday, Part I
Forgive my cynicism, but having been hijacked by the KC’s, my mood is not the greatest. I hope that 8:30am Mass was an isolated event for this weekend, and that Palm Sunday was actually experienced in some way at the rest of our weekend services. What saddens me the most is that I am not even surprised that one of the higher points of the Church’s liturgical year was shoved aside for the recognition of an exclusive group. How pitiful that our expectations have sunk so low, and this event just seems like par for the course. Our service should have started with a reading placing us with our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem and the story of the crowds gathering in excitement and shouting “Hosanna!” Then we read the passion story, and our whole focus and liturgical mood should shift, this entry is bitter-sweet, because we know where the journey into Jerusalem ends – at the cross. Instead we journeyed through a KC procession, ah well …

So, at the start of this Holy Week, I find myself in the dark garden praying with my brother, Jesus. Praying to keep focused on the coming dawn and trying to hold on to hope. My thanks to Benny Arfele, who gave me a copy of a beautiful prayer that seems especially appropriate this week for Holy Thursday and beyond to Easter rising.

Let Me Be Bread - by Jeanette Martino Land
Turn me outside in and upside down, Lord.
Pummel and purify me; Yeast and ferment me,
Shape me into a loaf of bread
That can be blessed, broken, and shared –
So others may taste the goodness of Your Love
And baked in me.
Easter blessings, from fellow parishioner, Michelle Pena

Palm Sunday, Part II
“…[Jesus said to his disciples,] the kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; but among you it shall not be so. Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is greater: the one seated at table or the one who serves? Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves.” from the Gospel for Palm Sunday

So much of the Palm Sunday liturgy is about the unique person of Jesus, “who did not think divinity was something to grasped at, but emptied himself and took the form of a slave.” The passage from the Gospel quoted above brings out an important consequence of the In-carnation for the Church: leaders in the Church are not to be as leaders in civil society, lording it over people, but are to be like the lowliest servant-slave. This must be a very difficult lesson for many Church leaders, since they so rarely act as if they’ve learned it.

“ …the Church must stop encouraging the belief that the clergy are superior in spirit to the laity, for that is a direct cause of abuses of power within the Church. Some priests take great pride in making parishioners feel like lost children, … arranging themselves as the only way to get closer to God. This attitude keeps many people away from the true mission of Jesus.”
Father José Domblin at an international conference of theologians in Caracas, December 2006

Palm Sunday, Part III
“His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, ‘Lord, shall we strike with a sword?’ And one of them struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop, no more of this!’” from the Gospel for Palm Sunday

A teacher of playwriting once said, “if you bring a cannon on stage in the first act, by the third act you better fire it off.” Does that mean that if a sword is brought into church, then it is expected that it will be drawn at some time during Mass?

Some disclaimers before I continue: I grew up in a military family, with my father, brother and brother-in-law all career military officers with wartime service in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam counted amongst them; secondly, my father was a member of the Knights of Columbus for as long as I can remember (no plumed hat or a sword, though).

Despite that background, I found the display put on by the Knights at Mass on Sunday offensive, distracting, and just plain silly.

Silly, because of the faux nature of it all. As a kid I remember being thrilled by the passing of the troops in review, the sounding of retreat on post each day, etc. These were serious people engaged in serious business—putting their lives in danger to protect others. Sunday’s display smacked of little boys playing dress up. I consider many things that the Knights do to be serious and worthwhile, as I know my dad did, but I also recall that gospel admonition not to be a show-off about doing good works.

Distracting, because all that milling around, taking off and putting on of plumed hats, etc. had nothing, repeat nothing, to do with one of the Church’s most important Sunday liturgies. As one little kid asked a few years ago, “are the pirates going to be at church today?”

And, most importantly, offensive, because a militaristic display, which is what this was, has absolutely no place within the context of a Eucharistic celebration. Read the Gospel, folks, on this very Sunday Jesus said, “Stop, no more of this!” A sword brought into Church is meant to be drawn there, or it should never be brought in at all. It is a perversion of the fundamental meaning of the Incarnation (see Paul to Philippians from Palm Sunday) to have these kinds of displays.

You don’t think it was just some elaborate April Fools’ joke, do you?
from Jerry Brazier, a fellow parishioner

$$$$$ Update
Since 10/15/06:
Total below budget: $31,922.21 (last year same date: $33,398.08)
Total shortfall (including expenditures over budget): $78,563.45
Projected yearly shortfall: $170,162.31

Après Moi
“Après moi, le deluge, [After me, the flood]”
Louis XV, almost the last King of France

There are persistent rumors that up to twenty pastors will be reassigned with the diocesan personnel changes in June. This is in a diocese of only sixty-seven parishes and it would mean that nearly 30% of the parishes would have a new pastor soon. This is a startling number of changes, particularly given the fact that the bishop is fac-ing retirement in less than three years.

There is a chance that Holy Spirit will be among those twenty changes, but it is important to keep the long view and to keep perspective. No pastor is in place forever and eventually, if not this June, then some other June, the Parish will have a new pastor. When that day comes, there will be enough embers left within the shell of Holy Spirit Parish to gently blow them, once again, into that blazing fire that we all know is possible.

Soon after King Louis, France was deluged by a flood from which it took generations to recover. It won’t take the Parish that long.

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