Saturday, October 31, 2009

Romeward Bound

The faithful remnant who occasionally look at this blog in the vain hope of anything interesting have had a lean couple of weeks - apologies! My Mother's visit was a whirlwind of being entertained by kind parishioners, then we had the Bishop here last weekend to give the permanent Deacons of the Diocese their annual retreat. Interestingly, a mouse appeared from below the pulpit in the Church on the first night. It was a Low Church Anglican mouse, because it failed to genuflect; by the end of the weekend it was seen saying the Rosary. I am not sure if it is seeking entry into the Church under the new Anglican Ordinariate. I depart for Rome on Monday, All Souls Day, with two priestly companions, on pilgrimage and retreat, in thanksgiving for my fifteenth anniversary of ordination (November 12th, the day we fly back) and for the 'Year for Priests.' I was in Rome for my tenth anniversary, the week Pope John Paul II died, which was an incredible time of grace. While praying for Pope Benedict's good health, I hope for similar graces this time. Your prayers would be appreciated!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Been a little slow on the blogging front over the last week. My Mother arrived a week ago to join the little parish celebration for my fifteenth anniversary. The actual date is November 12th, the Feast of St. Josephat, but I will be returning from a special anniversary/'Year for Priests' pilgrimage/retreat in Rome on that day. So we anticipated with a special Mass last Thursday and a parish 'do!' It was very nice and people were very kind. Parish life seems particularly busy at the moment, and the weather has been horrible - very cold (it snowed on Monday) and not ideal "leaf-peeping" for all the visitors who were in town. Last weekend was the high point of "leaf-peeping" and the 10.30am Mass was almost as full as at Christmas. My Mother had to go out and buy a new coat due to the cold, and the heating has had to be boosted far too early for my liking! After a miserable, wet Summer, we have now had a miserable Fall - the good news is that there are six months of Winter to look forward to - and six months of snow!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hiding behind a wall of silence

One of the very enjoyable aspects of being the Parish Priest ('Pastor' in American English) of a four season holiday destination, is that at every Mass, at least 70% of those attending are visitors. As I always tell people, they are happy to be at Mass and, as they are on vacation, the fact that they ARE at Mass shows they are committed Catholics. This weekend, I had visitors from among others places, Massachusetts, New York, Chicago, Canada, Texas, South Carolina and Puerto Rico. The fact that these people attend Mass regularly in their own parishes makes what I am about to say both sad and indicative of the great crisis we are living through. This Sunday was "Respect Life Sunday" here in the United States. Priests and deacons are expected to preach on this subject, even if the readings were principally about marriage. After all three Masses this weekend, numerous people approached me to thank me for my homily. They asked for copies of it (I only have notes which look like Arabic scrawl, so I'll have to work on that!) and told me that they had never heard a pro-life homily that was so clear. I say this not to blow my own trumpet, or to imagine that a new Fulton Sheen has been discovered. It is precisely my point that something is seriously wrong if people from so many different places find it unusual or remarkable that a priest preaches as he is asked to do by Holy Mother the Church. A friend told me that they attended Mass in two different parishes in this diocese over the weekend - nothing approaching a pro-life homily! What is wrong with the clergy? Is is cowardice, people-pleasing, or do they not actually believe in the teaching of the Church? It is no coincidence that the Office of Readings for this morning, the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, was from 'The Pastoral Rule' of Pope St. Gregory the Great. Among other things he writes:

"Negligent religious leaders are often afraid to speak freely and say what needs to be said - for fear of losing favour with people. As Truth himself says, they are certainly not guarding their flock with the care expected of a shepherd but are acting like hirelings, because hiding behind a wall of silence is like taking flight at the approach of the wolf.......If a religious leader is afraid to say what is right, what else can his silence mean but that he has taken flight?"