I feel so old! On June 1, 1991, 30 years ago, I became pastor for the first time at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in downtown Augusta (“Georgia’s Oldest Catholic Church”). I left Augusta in 1976 saying good riddance considering all the other places I could have grown up, like Naples or Livorno or Atlanta, not to mention Boston or New York or Chicago. No I grew up in Augusta which I hated. 15 years later, 1991, I returned and stayed until July 1, 2004. That period of time redeemed Augusta for me. Most Holy Trinity will always be my true love. I was 37 when I became pastor. What a great time in my life and truly a blessing.
Monday, May 31, 2021
This video focuses on Benedictine Arch abbey, Saint Meinrad in southern Indiana. When I was vocation director p, we used their college seminary for seminarians and before that, we used their major seminary for some of our men.
It is a beautiful and serene German area of Indiana. I’ve been there many times.
Their magnificent pre-Vatican chapel underwent a horrible wreckovation in the early 70’s. Since that time there have been several renovations to improve that scandalous disaster but all attempts, while an improvement, disastrously fell short.
Here is a sound byte of the Crux article which explain the discomfort and anger of not a few bishops, priests and laity:
“For Catholics like us, it causes strangeness and bewilderment the fact that Pope Francis frequently has rough words to address countries governed by conservatives which, to a certain extent, fight the society’s dechristianization, while only rarely he shows criticism towards leftist governments,” Viotti said.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Seminarians Will Cook and Nate Swan at my rectory two years ago. I don't know who the older gentleman is.
Will Cook, a Marine, was ordained a transitional deacon on Saturday. Nate Swan will be ordained a priest next Saturday. Deacon Nate is a convert of mine from St. Joseph in Macon.
Deacon Will offers Holy Communion to his mother:
But that is a problem with many priests and bishops, they are negative and moody and this afflicts both progressive and traditionalist minded prelates and priests.
A little bit of sugar goes a long way in changing systems compared to being vinegar. Pope Francis Italian/South American personality is a deadly combination because His Holiness is so Italian/South American. Scolding and naming calling evidently are a part of this culture’s working class. It could also be a political ploy.
You can only imagine how much less the Church would be polarized and unhappy since the election of Pope Francis on 3/13/13. He could have won over traditionalists with sugar rather than vinegar. Rigid young priests in their starched cassocks might have become more flexible. Pickled passed nuns more beautiful. There would be less of a threat of schism and apostasy with the German Church. Synodality, that self-referential process of navel or is it naval gazing would not be as divisive and pagan-like because of its hyper potential to be political and like a political process rather than a Holy Spirit led process.
Nastiness never works for a priest in a parish (except for cult like figures like Fr. Altman) or in dioceses like Rome.
This is what Robert Mikens writes:
A grumpy old pope?
The reason for his visit was to mark Vatican Radio's 90th and the newspaper's 160th anniversaries. He never mentioned either milestone.Rather, he compared the costly multi-media department -- of which the two entities are essential components -- to a mountain that gives birth to a mouse! And later he basically accused it of being all glitz and glitter, bogged down by inefficient bureaucracy -- what he called mere "functionalism".Francis was in a grumpy mood throughout the visit and was still testy several hours later when he had a go at the Italian bishops who were gathered for their plenary assembly at a big hotel-conference center.After being greeted by the finely attired prelates, he said: "When I came in I had a nasty thought, forgive me: is this an assembly of bishops or a contest to choose the most handsome bishop?" Then he proceeded to scold them, too. He said they must be suffering from "amnesia" because they "had forgotten" to follow up on the extremely clear instructions he gave them in November 2015 to begin a synodal process to reform the Italian Church.
Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/letter-from-rome/vatican-medias-identity-crisis/14391
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Ed Condon who use to work for the Catholic News Agency owned by EWTN, now has his own religious news source called “The Pillar.” It is excellent and I love Condon’s way of writing and reporting.
This is what he has to say about the Holy Father’s pick for the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship:
The nomination was met with a chorus of takes suggesting, variously, that Roche, 71, is about to usher in a new era of progressive liturgical reform, or that he is clearly a place-holder, destined to serve a single term before the newly named secretary of the congregation, Bishop Viola, takes over and, well, ushers in a new era of progressive liturgical reform.
As you can imagine, I think both of those takes are likely just wishcasting by the people making them. I also think that suggesting an 84-year-old pope is choosing department heads with an eye to what he’ll do when he’s 89 is just plain cracked.
Pope Francis has decidedly shunned the liturgy wars which obsess some sections of the Church, and I think his choice of a man known for getting along and getting on with things is probably more about avoiding a big fight at the end of his pontificate than starting one.
I have always appreciated the liturgy, in whatever form, as the means to worship God, thank Him for the gift of salvation and the means by which He brings that about and to receive our Lord in Holy Communion and in that order.
I am a child of the cusp having been formed liturgically by the pre-Vatican II Mass, mostly its Sunday Low Form and then by the transitional liturgies between 1966 to 1969 which greatly excited me and then the craziness of the post-conciliar period and the wide diversity of how the ordinary form was celebrated. I’ve lived through and implement Summorum Pontificum and prayed that its celebration would bring more reverence to the Ordinary Form, reverence lost in the transition and implementation of the 1970 missal, especially the lost of awe and wonder, casualness replacing respect and reverence.
But something shifted in me that I did not really reflect upon until rather recently. Prior the the shift, which caught my attention and I liked initially, is that my interest shifted from praising God and adoring Him in the Eucharist and receiving Him, to the manner in which the Mass was changing. And what intrigued me was that the Church wanted to simplify and shorten the Mass. I was fascinated when I heard and saw the first lector proclaim the readings at Mass and I believe the EF lectionary used for that.
What I did not like when lay participation became the catchword was the sloppiness that accompanied those selected to read. They could not read well publicly. And I wondered about their commitment to the Church and what their lives were like apart from the Mass—were they holier than me or was I holier than thou?
As lay ministries expanded to extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers and hoards of them, not well formed or trained and all wearing lay clothes subject to their tastes and changing style, I became concerned. Modesty in dress became an issue and just bad taste scandalously in poor taste.
But there you have, all shifted from God to people and what was done well or poorly. Don’t get me started on the first “folk group” I heard in my parish seated next to the altar and on bar stools with guitar and tambourine. That was just plain horrible and they tried to teach us why this was what Vatican II wanted. If I heard that term one more time, what Vatican II wanted, I thought I would scream.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the vernacular but appreciate the Latin. I love both forms of the Mass and the type of spirituality that accompanies either. But what I want to see in our Liturgies, no matter the form, is reverent celebrations of it without casualness or banality.
I don’t mind lay lector’s. Train them well, dress them properly and make sure they are Catholics in good standing. The same with Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. I don’t hate Communion under both kinds but the Common Chalice is not the way to go except for exceptional circumstance.
I don’t mind more modern idioms of liturgical music and different forms of accompaniment, just make sure it is quality (and this is where I think the bishops have let us down in not demanding that new liturgical music and settings have an imprimatur of some kind, especially concerning the theology and doctrine of words, but also style of music). There should be a National Hymnal for the vernaculars to keep things on track.
But our worship of God is meant to make us disciples in the world by the manner in which we live our lives not how good we talk about it or complain about this, that or the other.
Friday, May 28, 2021
I had dinner this evening with my parishioners,Carmelite Novice, Sister Loretta-Maria McKee, her blood sister Shawnee and their father Eugene who took the photo. We ate at a wonderful local seafood restaurant called Marker 107. It is slightly more than 5 miles from my rectory. Looking across the marsh are two islands which are nature preserves with pristine beaches, Ossaba Island and St. Catherine Island where several Franciscan Friars were martyred in the 1500’s. They are on their way to canonization.
These nature preserve islands are accessible only by boat from the mainland. Ossaba would be Richmond Hill’s beach.
I SURE DO MISS “BEE HERE” AND PRAY SHE IS WELL, BUT HERE IS HER CHURCH IN CHICAGO IN ALL ITS GLORY AND GLORIOUS IT IS
Her parish also celebrates both forms of the Liturgy exceptionally well and thus honors the pontificate of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Press title for story and pictures or “read more”.
My only puzzlement is the altar cloth glass protectors. Doesn’t seem kosher although the glass or plexiglass is not in the center where the corporal cloth would go: