Wednesday, September 01, 2004

I am back to my parish after a nice 2 week vacation so that I will be rested for the hussle and bussle when the schools come back into session next week.

I am still getting used to being a priest, and now on vacation. For most days on my vacation I celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass privately (well, united with the whole Mystical Body of Christ). There are definite pluses to this (e.g., no one telling you that you are doing something wrong, and no criticism if you use some Latin). However, it is nice to have someone there to enter into the prayer and give the proper responses.

I did concelebrate Mass at a parish where my sister and niece worships at times (their local parish is pretty much a mess, the tabernacle is in what looks to be the old janitor's closest in the hallway outside the church, the priest does not like the Our Father the way it is, etc). This parish is in the care of a religious order (who will remain nameless). The style of the church was rather modern (for my taste), but in some ways reflective of the spirituality of the order, and you knew it was a church. Saying Mass on the road has been, well, interesting. While the celebrant (also pastor) welcomed me, he had me do NOTHING at the Mass. He did not even allow me to say part of the Eucharistic Prayer (which he deleted the word "Father" throughout, apparently that is offensive). Of course at Communion time, since they had a whole platoon of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs), I was told to just sit down after I received. That really ticks me off. Afterall, I am an ORDINARY MINISTER of Holy Communion. There is such a poor understanding of ecclesiology today; priests really have been made "just like everyone else." I am certainly NOT saying that I am better than anybody because I am a priest, but as we hear in St. Paul's letters, the different parts of the Body have different roles that are proper to them. As a priest, I serve the Church in persona Christi Capitas, participating in His Headship. This is for the service of the laity, who have their specific role to play in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Apparently I had the blessing of the fact that the sound system was not oriented backwards, so I did not hear his homily. I knew he was talking about the terrible violence that is occurring in the Sudan (an important concern). During the homily my sister looked as if she was slapped, and then looked at me. After Mass she told me that the thrust of the homily was that the Church (read, Rome) cannot be silent about the situation in the Sudan "as it was during the Holocaust." Heck, I thought we were getting beyond the nonsense that the Church was somehow complicit in the Holocaust. There is NO historical evidence to support this. I am glad I did not hear it. I am glad to be home.

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