Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level. Do you copy?"

My friend and classmate, Fr. Jim Weldon, maintains a blog for his parish, St. Patrick's in Kingman, Kansas. The other day his blog entry caught my eye, because the same situation has happened at one time or another to most Priests I know. Here's what he wrote:

One person comes to me and says, "Keep it simple. Nobody out here has a degree in theology. We don't need 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. After 5th grade you have about as much religion as your going to get. If you don't have it by then you probably never will."

The next person comes to me and says, "I don't go to church anymore because you (all priests) always say the same thing over and over. You never go into the deeper meaning of the scripture. We are not children. We need more in depth teaching. I had to go to another church in order to receive real teaching."

I am not kidding. I had these two conversations a couple of days apart.

[Thanks, Fr. Jim. Now back to me] How many times that's happened in the life of a Parish priest! People tell you they want your homily to touch upon the Sacred Scriptures and how they relate to everyday life, how they relate to world events, and how it all is tied into global warming and big oil and Bill Gates and Brittney Spears' rehab.... oh, and by the way, keep it all under 10 minutes, and if you can begin with a joke or some comment about this weekend's big sporting event, that'd be great, too!

Anyway, along with his lament, Fr. Weldon found this great graphic which showed how he felt:

I'd have chosen something more "pop culture-ish":

But if either picture gives you the message, then that's a good thing.


Unknown said...

I know sometimes I've walked out of a Mass thinking, "What'd he say?" - and other times, "Got nothing spirit enriching from that sermon" - and my favorite "Wow, that's something to ponder this week!". Thankfully, my feeling is usually the last one. It's obvious my pastor puts a lot of thought and prayer into his sermons and I am blessed. ..but as the saying goes, you can't please all the people all the time!
God Bless You!

Jeremy said...

I'm blessed to have a parish priest who gives well built homilies that delve deep into scripture and Catholic teaching. There's only been one time in the past 2 years that I left thinking it was sub-par. But even then, it was better than a lot I've heard.

PraiseDivineMercy said...

There's quite a few moral axioms about trying to please everyone.
Of the list I found via google, this one struck me as most suitable:
"One cannot please everyone and please one's Father."

As the leader of the parish community, I think the pastor needs to do what the Church says to the best of his ability. The trick is to have the right people annoyed with you...

At the same time, I realize that we laity do have an obligation to pray for our priests and offer them moral support.

Unknown said...

I think the trick is to offer a postgraduate level meditation in 5th grade language.

Brain surgery is easier.


Joe of St. Thérèse said...

When the liberal Catholics complain about how your homily was too hard, that's when you have it right.