Saturday, January 17, 2009

As the Parish Turns...

You ever go up to receive the Eucharist and see what resembles a Rugby scrum break out in front of the Altar? This has become an all to unfortunate sight at our parish lately, as the Eucharist tends to hit the deck once, twice, sometimes more at each Mass. You see, my pastor to put is as mildly as I can, has a hard time getting through the Mass. Besides the sight of the Body of Christ routinely rolling around, he regularly losing his place of where we are at in the Mass and needs the redirection of the Deacon to get back on track.

But it is the Eucharist rolling around the Altar at risk of being trampled upon that is the killer...

The attitude towards it seems to be the same type of attitude that one of my Jewish little league teammates mother had when her precious little boy played the outfield. But instead of her shrill advice when a fly ball was hit to him to, "bubie, let the ball bounce first, so it doesn't hurt your hand", the sentiment seems to be more along the lines of, "Just let ol' Jesus finish rolling around, we'll sweep Him up later".

This is where the occasional scrum occurs. Some people actually react when they see our Lord treated like crumbs being brushed off a kitchen counter. They dive to protect Him.

This happened last week when going up to receive Communion. My attention was directed toward my 7 year old son, who has not received yet. This was when I noticed my 14 year old daughter genuflect in front of us as she always does before receiving. But on her way back up, she dropped back down again. I figured it was just an awkward teen moment, that she just spazzed out or something and continued to concentrate on her younger brother. It wasn't until after Mass that I learned that she saw 2 Hosts on the floor and went back down to consume them. She tried pointing this out to Father, hoping that he would place a linen or something over the area the Eucharist was dropped. He just continued distributing Communion which I could tell bothered her greatly(as it should). Needless to say, I am very proud of my daughter.

These 'fumbles' are well known by most parishioners including those on parish council. We have some good friends on the council that we regard as solid Catholics with a great understanding of the Eucharist. But none of them want to approach this issue because, well...the pastor is a nice guy. No one wants to see him get hurt. I'm sorry but, I cannot accept this. Since when is protecting someones self esteem, greater than protecting our Lord? I can feel for this man, I truly can. After 10 years as a NYC Police Officer, I was retired on a line of duty injury that left pins in my shoulder and my neck and back a mess with several bulging and herniated discs (I was hit by a car during a foot pursuit). I was placed on modified assignment my last couple of years, although my pride would certainly have kept me going out on patrol despite the fact that my injuries clearly made me a liability to myself, my fellow officers and the people of NY. Sometimes the most gracious thing we can have done for us, is to have a decision taken out of our hands. I'm thinking that this is one of those cases.

On top of this, our pastor also has to deal with a staff that seems to be undermining him any chance they get. Especially the music ministry. The music director just recently went on a trip with our old pastor (who she has been very vocal about getting him back as pastor at our parish) to his hometown in South America. (She must have learned a few new tunes down there, as my wife said that last nights evening Mass had a 'Mariachi'/Neo-cat flavor to it.) She is actually the second female parishioner that accompanied him on such a trip to his hometown. What the heck is that all about? Hell, I have a couple of priests that I was real close with, that have moved on to new assignments throughout the dioceses and I feel like I'm encroaching on them as well as their new parishioners if I look them up to go out to lunch with them. Yet these hens are travelling to a different continent for a vacation with a priest? Sorry, doesn't pass my sniff test.

Finally we have the star of the Sunday evening Mass, our resident 'Piano Man' who 'performs' for us. His aspirations for Broadway( yeah, it is that flamboyantly bad) via the diocese of Raleigh is getting as old as the little personal touches that he puts all over the Mass. Whether it is his added verses to the Agnus Dei ('Prince of Peace, Lord and Friend, Guy who gave his seat to the old lady on the bus...' and other serendipitous blather...), his added Alleluias, the 'echoing' during the responsorial psalms or his latest, adding background music during the Eucharistic prayers, there is no mistaking this one fact. This Mass is about him and not Him. My greatest fear is that he will be considered for the newly opening Faith Formation position as the young lady currently holding that position will be leaving shortly and he has shown a desire to influence the parish youth. Normal circumstances would see me happy as heck that this position is opening up, as this young woman wears the same suit size as our President-elect, empty, and is living proof that by her collecting a paycheck that charity is alive and well in my parish. But with Peter Pan of the choir loft waiting in the wings, I can honestly say I rather see her remain on the diocese dole than to see this charmer take advantage, yet again of this pastor.

So there you have it, my parish. Music ministry run amok...incompetent staff...rolling Eucharist... "Cats and dogs, living together...", "...our pets heads are falling off..." or as the great Charlton Heston so eloquently said.

But you know what? It is much better than it was last year at this time!

So, how are things in your parish?

Saint Michael the Archangel...
Defend us in battle!!!


Blogger Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

The consecrated host should NEVER touch the floor! If it does we cover it with one of the chalice covers and leave it there, then the priest has to eat it and do some ceremony after the DL.

If you had a good bishop I'd let him know how bad things are, and make it clear it's NOT the priest and that the bishop needs to back him up. A similar incident occurred in the Twin Cities, and Abp. John Nienstadt backed up the priest.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

NYPD Green, you most certainly have my sympathies. Your parish needs the influence of faithful men like you.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Subvet said...

Ever think of finding another parish? We've a few in this area I wouldn't get caught dead in due to the liturgical abuses and overall flamboyant liberal bent. Like must run to like, seems all the liturgical libs go there while the more traditionally minded go elsewhere.

1:21 PM  
Blogger QuantaCura01 said...

Sound sliek you are writing about the diocese of Fresno, Ca.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

Oh... that's right. This is why I drive 250 miles every Sunday to attend a Traditional Latin Mass.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

Of course, this problem would be eliminated if the priest would put an end to Communion in the hand, which I believe is something each priest has the authority to do.

I remember when we were preparng for First Communion how the good Sister compared the "roof" in the centurion's prayer of faith and humility ("Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof...") to the roof of our mouth. Good anology that is entirely lost when the Sacred Host is received in the hand.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Yes Former Altar Boy, the priest does have the authority to not distribute in the Hand (and should exercise it more often)

6:36 PM  
Blogger TCN said...

I always appreciate the flicker of panic in the eyes of the "extraordinary minister," who is completely ordinary as far as I can tell, when I don't put my hands up to "receive." It ain't a Hail Mary and I'm not on the 5 yard line, honey. This is my mouth, and that's where He is going.

Our local parish has all the bad attributes of a "PICK ME PICK ME" priest and the Gather hymnal. It's amazing to me that they still let God in the door--they certainly don't acknowledge Him in the sanctuary. There seem to be a lot of arrogant, bossy women running the show, and it seems they allow a male priest only grudgingly. It doesn't help the we just spent over $9M building a brand new, sterile, boring worshiptorium, complete with stadium seating and a horrid sound system that blanks out the first word of everything. The spoken voice carries like a lead balloon, and of course the choir is right up front just behind the grand piano. There is a hot tub--uh--baptistery just inside the main doors, so processions have to walk around it. Frankly, the only thing missing is the vomitorium for those of us who actually know what Catholic means.

It only took 45 years for the fall of the Roman Catholic Empire in this town. We drive elsewhere for Mass, thank you very much. The 1962 Missal is in full use not 25 miles from here. Talk about black and white. Thank God for deliverance.

6:37 PM  
Blogger nypd green said...


I'm in the same boat as Vir Speluncae Catholicus. 250 miles is not as doable with 7 kids. Plus we have been parishioners here for 5 years and feel somewhat of an obligation to hang in and try to make a difference. It was once a pretty decent parish up until about 3 years ago.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Subvet said...

NYPD Green, I'll remember you and your family when I say the rosary tonight. Good luck & God bless.

8:08 PM  
Blogger the Egyptian said...

And all I'm upset about is our new priest just replaced a beautiful processional cross, quite old,with a gaudy porcelain, orange and gold thing with a risen Christ on it, looks bad in an old Gothic church like ours. but it is only fitting what with singing the Glory to God split into 4 verses,; "Glory to God in the highest" is the refrain, to a happy-clappy hip tune and now the Priest and organist is demanding that we all sing along so as become more involved,
I think I'm going to puke

8:40 PM  
Blogger C said...

When I was growing up in said parish, I was really lucky to be blissfully unaware of how devolved the liturgy had become in most churches. Fr. Ray Donaghue used to celebrate the mass with such dignity and reverence that it took a few years after his death for me to even realize that he was the exception rather than the rule.

It is sad to see the parish devolve like this. Its layout is very traditional, it needs little to any modification for the Extraordinary Form, and its congregation (to my knowledge) remains fairly conservative.

I'd like to be charitable, but Mr. Song and Dance man really has a talent for screwing up the liturgy. I was really tempted last time I heard the additions to "Lamb of God" to shout out "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" But then again, this is from the same person who attempted to play "Our God is an awesome God" and pop-song "I can only imagine" at another parish.

To my knowledge, isn't the only valid exception to the Agnus Dei allowed during a Requiem Mass? Otherwise its strictly forbidden to add verses to it.

My advice is to write a letter to the Bishop, and to be concise, polite, and to the point. Trust me, he does read the letters he gets sent, and he is very quick to respond.

By the way, I had to intervene this weekend to prevent our music minister (who is actually quite good) from adding "Sing a New Church" to the hymn board. That was close!

9:33 AM  
Blogger Joe S.R. said...

Yesterday while I was serving mass, a priest accidentally dropped a host. He stopped giving communion, picked it up off of the floor and ate it, though it was visibly dirty.
I feel for you. My territorial parish is like this. Crazy and outrageous, they use eight extraordinary ministers every Sunday for a congregation of about 60, besides the two priests and the deacon. My current parish uses none at the first three Sunday masses for a congregation of about 90-100, then only two at the late mass to distribute the precious blood.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Lola said...

I kid you not, different specifics but same sort of subject at our parish. So much so that although I'm not a textbook perfect catholic, (I watch mass on Sundays when one or more of us is sick and contagious, I don't spread it around at our hand-holding parish), I am trying to KNOW and LOVE God through our faith.

I am tempted to go once a month drive to a decent mass in a neighboring diocese and skipping the other weekends. Not because I'm lazy, but because I've got kids who are impressionable. I'm not looking for perfection, just sticking to the facts, the catechism and the magesterium.

1:47 PM  
Blogger TCN said...

Lola: Please, don't do it. I mean, it's okay to go to another parish, but don't skip Mass just because of Father Feelgood and the Pips. It's still Jesus, and you still need Him.

It is possible to teach your kids respect without teaching them to emulate, if you know what I mean. And there is always EWTN for help with instruction on the true Mass.

Please, don't contemplate mortal sin lightly. I sometimes think we have been sent this trashiness to teach us how difficult it can be to find Jesus--more a test than anything else. And if we just leave, who is going to fix the mess? Better to raise Cain at the Parish Council meeting and stubbornly refuse to leave than run away and let the clowns win.

Just my opinion, of course.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Lola said...

Good point TCN, and I'm taking Adrienne's advice, go to 6 pm Saturday vigil and skip the Sunday morning all electric clown ensemble!

6:43 PM  
Blogger nypd green said...

Thanks for the advice and prayers everyone. I do plan on writing the Bishop over all of this nonsense. Without going into details, the "drama" with the "song and dance" man in our parish continues. It has gotten personal and ugly. You'd almost think he read this blog! No way, the "heretic filter" on this blogsite is too good!

...and Lola, I'm sure what you said was just out of frustration, but I'll just echo the good advice already given by TCN and add that the best impression you can give to your children is that the Eucharist is so important, that you won't even let bad liturgy stand in the way of you receiving. Make your monthly trips to the decent Mass, and make a point of teaching the kiddo's the difference. You'll be suprised how quick they pick up on the differences.

Pax Christi!

8:53 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home