Saturday, August 14, 2010
I had a wedding this afternoon at another parish, so I had a visiting Priest friend o'mine cover my Saturday evening Mass. I did, however, get back to the parish in time to greet the people as they were leaving Mass.
I went over and stood in the back of the church (which I suppose is really the front of the church) by the doors. In fact, I stood dead center, using my girth to block access to the outside.
I stood, and waited.
Soon, there it was. Just after the moment the celebrant gave the final blessing, they began to come towards me, trying to leave Mass.
And I didn't budge.
In a rare moment of bravery, I said in my best passive-aggressive voice, "Oh no, you can't go yet. Father hasn't left yet."
Soon there was a logjam of humanity. People unable to escape, wondering what was wrong. Thinking, "Every other week we're in our car by now. What gives?"
As I stood my ground, I was trying to figure out why I was so "all of a sudden" brave?
Then it hit me. I didn't not recognize any of them, even though I've been here for 13 months. Week after week they come to Mass and leave early, so I never get the chance to shake their hands before they make for their cars.
Next week, I'll have the Saturday night Mass, and they'll leave early again.
But I did have this afternoon, and it felt great.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This morning, having nothing planned on my day off, I went to a Trader Joe's supermarket. I found about Trader Joe's years ago, and there are some things they sell that I absolutely love. Right now I live just far enough not to make a habit of going there, but close enough that it's entirely do-able.
It's kind of a "shi-shi" supermarket, with lots of organic stuff, lots of propaganda posters about preserving the environment, and, well lots of peculiar people. I like to think of it as "shopping and a show".
While walking around there today, what came to my mind were the series of 'Posh People' skits by the British comedian Catherine Tate. Watch this and you'll get the idea.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Almost every clergyman (and most laity) have stories they can tell about experiences they've had at funerals with respect to eulogies. The stories, sadly, are usually about bad ones rather than good.
Thanks to Fr. Bernie Healey of the Diocese of Providence for bringing this to my attention, which comes from the U.S. Catholic website. Here are some bits from the article. They're looking for input on readers' experiences with eulogies, so click HERE to go to the website and read the full article.
Death by eulogy
A Catholic funeral is no place for a eulogy, says a Catholic pastor, but that doesn't mean we can't speak well of the dead.
By James Field, pastor of Incarnation Parish in Melrose and Saugus, Massachusetts and the former director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Boston.
The commonplace "eulogy" is not part of our Catholic tradition, and it doesn't belong in a Catholic funeral Mass. Eulogy is Greek for "word of praise," and we come to bury Caesar and not to praise the wretch, as Shakespeare says, because the only one we praise in liturgy is Christ.
...lately funerals have taken on the attributes of canonizations. Secular canonizations at that. Nary a word of faith, of a disciple's life, is heard at during the "words of remembrance," that brief time after communion set often set aside to remember the deceased Christian witness (rather than list off accomplishments, or more often, embarrassing moments). Indeed, you may be surprised that the Catholic Order of Christian Funerals makes only one mention of a "eulogy"-and there it outright forbids them, even warning that homilies are to be kept free from the eulogistic style.
Nevertheless, the custom of having a "word of remembrance" at the funeral Mass has seized hold in the last 30 years or so, sometimes with the grudging approval of bishops in the particular law of the diocese. This adaptation normally happens after the communion prayer and before the final commendation. Where there are guidelines, they are often ignored.
Not long ago, a priest in a nearby parish was horrified to hear a beer can pop open in the pulpit as a tipsy cavalcade of grandchildren saluted their salubrious grandpa with a final Schlitz. Next they will be wielding champagne bottles against the casket like Mamie Eisenhower smacking the bow of an aircraft carrier. I once squirmed through an extended story involving bad clams, diarrhea in a roadside forest, pursuing skunks, and home remedies that was a disgrace to the memory of a fine old Catholic gentleman.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Happy Feast day to my brother Priests out there! Today is our feast day, and a chance to reflect on the life of St. John Vianney. So here are some pictures on this occasion.
St. Jean Vianney (1786-1859)
The Curé of Ars
"Keurig of Ars"
(It's not really on the tour; you have to ask to see it)
What can I say? The man liked his coffee.