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Veritatis Splendor

"Keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith" --Hebrews 12:2

Pope Benedict XVI before our Lord

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution.
Each of us is the result of a thought of God.
Each of us is willed,
each of us is loved,
each of us is necessary.
There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.
~Pope Benedict XVI, Homily April 24th, 2005

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Forget daily Mass, let's do weekly contemplative meditation instead!

So sad it's hilarious. This has got to be one of the most complete accounts ever of how a parish lost its way following the "Spirit of Vatican II" (yes, it is indeed a real parish - they should get together with our pals from St. Joan of Arc, they have a lot in common with each other and almost nothing in common with, say, for example, the Catholic Church).

Excerpts (my emphasis and comments) from their "Parish Heritage" account:

WARNING: Snarkiness alert!

...Rev. Frank Harrison, later to be Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, was appointed the first pastor in May 1956. Milestones were quickly marked. The first Field Days on September 29, 1956 raised $9,291. By December of that year, 163 children were enrolled in Sunday School taught by the Daughters of Charity from Cathedral School. [what a difference a few decades makes!] Father Harrison and his sister, Florence Timmons, served as the teachers for the Tuesday release time program for students in Grades 1-3 at Percy Hughes Elementary School.

...The parish bulletins of those early years were filled with the announcements from the Holy Name Society, Altar and Rosary Society, Legion of Mary, and an adult and children’s choirs. Sunday 9 o’clock Mass was the children’s Mass where Fr. Harrison came down from the altar, stepped outside the altar railing and spoke directly to the children sitting as a group in the front of the church. Special religious observances like 40 Hours Devotion, Novena to the Sacred Heart, Stations of the Cross, Benediction, Spiritual Bouquets, and Plenary Indulgences were also part of the parish vocabulary. Social activities included dances, spaghetti suppers, card parties, and a Bowling League of eight teams that met at the Southside Bowling Alley.

...Instead of building a school, the parish hired a bus in 1962 and paid the tuition for students to go to Cathedral School. By 1965, 63 students were enrolled in the program. The bus picked up and dropped off the students at the church parking lot. (This was before the days when public school districts provided free bus service for children attending Catholic school.) This decision was significant in the future of the parish as most parishes of the day did invest in a parish school. Given the demographics of the parish after 1980 when the population of children decreased dramatically, a school would have been a failed allocation of resources. [Translation: "Isn't it wonderful that we successfully foresaw the trend of the future?"]

...In reminiscences about the parish, Fr. Harrison described the parish he knew as “traditional.” Still during his tenure there were seeds of change showing. The congregation began responding to the celebrant of the Mass through Missa Recitata; soon these responses were in English. With the astounding call for convening of the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Harrison asked the parish to pray for its success.

...Changes to the Mass came quickly. After a vote of the parish, the first Mass facing the people was offered on January 1, 1965; the first sung Mass in English took place November 7, 1965, followed by the use of English, at first only outside of the Canon of the Mass. Lectors became a regular part the Mass.

The first homily ever given by a layperson at St. Andrew’s occurred on September 25, 1966 when Robert Landers spoke about the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), a religious education program in the American Church. Landers’s assignment fit with Vatican II’s call for the laity to enter into “partnership with the priest in the sacred things of God.”

...By 1966 the parish had grown to more than 400 families. [Never again to attain that height, gee, weren't they "prophetic" enough?] The Christmas bulletin that year listed Mass at midnight, and 8, 9, 10, and 11 a.m. the next day. A parish forum and survey, created by the CCD Board, attempted to determine the needs of the parish that year.

...A Liturgical Committee was formed in 1968. A Parish Forum [Got that? We're democratic here!] was organized and given the responsibility to be the decision making body of the parish. Until the elected Parish Council took over in 1976, the forum attracted nearly 100 to its yearly town hall type meeting. Prayer of the Faithful was added to the Mass in 1967 as were folk Masses and neighborhood Masses in the home.

... Monthly children’s liturgies were held downstairs in the parish hall simultaneously with “adult” liturgies upstairs. Many creative approaches to worship were tried in the downstairs setting that were later adapted to full parish liturgies upstairs. Numerous magnificent liturgical banners designed and produced by Mary Spadaro enhanced the liturgies. She set a standard that others followed for many years. [No comment.]

...Fr. Kane was presiding over significant changes. He has described himself as “neither liberal or conservative, but open.” He was open to new ideas, to leadership from the laity and was willing to institute new practices about which many of his fellow priests teased and criticized him. [For good reason, perhaps?]

His homilies were enriched with background color from his travels in the Holy Land. He even brought water from the River Jordan to use in baptisms. We celebrated with “Joe” as he marked his 40th and 50th ordination anniversaries. And when he celebrated his parting Mass on December 26, 1997 we gathered to say “good-by” and cry tears of thanks for his witness to our community and tears of sorrow for our loss.

...A dual collection for the wounded in South and North Vietnam was one of the first political controversies that caused people to leave. But at the same time, the parish started to attract new members from all over the county because of these very controversial issues, its commitment of the reforms of Vatican II and leadership by the laity. Today the parish has members from Homer to North Syracuse and from Cazenovia to Westvale. St. Andrew’s started with about 200 families [a vibrant, neighborhood parish], rose in the 1960’s to 400 families [before the cloud of the Spirit got too big] and gradually dropped back to 200 families by the 1980. [and can we really blame all that on the decline of children?] Today, there are 175 households on the parish registry, 72% of whom are from outside the parish boundaries. [Now that's what a call a clear sign of the health of this little "faith-building community"!]

...Communion in the hand began on the Feast of Christ the King in November 1977. By 1978 with one priest and the need to depend on frequent visiting priests, Sunday Masses went from three to two, at 8:45 and 10:45 a.m.

...Another new ministry, one Fr. Kane says he is most proud of, was opening the parish to the Catholic Gay and Lesbian community for Sunday Mass twice a month starting in 1994.

...As a parting gift to the parish on his retirement in 1996, Fr. Kane donated the stained glass window above the altar. The center point that draws in different lines is symbolic of how the diverse people of the parish meet at this place of worship and also someday perhaps in what Teilhard De Chardin called the “omega point.” [Chardin is NOT a canonized saint for a reason - "Chardin, a Jesuit paleontologist, wrote of the evolution of God, mankind and Christ into a cosmic whole, an "Omega point" where mankind would realize his Godhood." (from Amazon reviewer)]

...A team of men and women have served as homilists: Nancy Ring, Peggy Thompson, Nancy Murray, Kip Hargrave, Marilyn Goulet, Dave Turner, Frank Woolever, Mary Jureller, Mike Flusche and Bill Preston. That practice started in the 1980’s but became more regular with the era of shared parishes for the Mass celebrant [and just what does an era of shared parishes have to do with a priest sitting back while Sr. Justice-N-Peace-not-Life recites poetry?]

...Finally, a loyal band of parishioners has, during these past 50 years, gathered around the altar for daily Mass – among them Carmela Sandro, Richard and Marie Kunder, Rita Dauenhauer, and Rita Gokey. Today a new band gathers for weekly contemplative meditation instead of daily Mass. [WHAT THE #@)*$?? are they contemplating exactly?? Not the missing verses I bet!]

Well, now boys and girls, what do you think happened here? We started off with a new parish, bursting at the seams with families and holy activities (including, but not limited to, fun social ones). Over the decades, as each puff of the "Spirit of Vatican II" smoke drifted its way in we see MORE pseudo-priests and "dynamic", "relevant" liturgies (ie, folk Masses and neighborhood block parties...I mean, Masses... at homes) and LESS parishioners and families. Then we see self-congratulations for predicting the future of childless homes and less need for religious schooling, along with increased excitment over all the ways that we can create our own heaven on earth through social action and not have to worry about actually following the narrow path to attain the real one someday. We get LESS parishioners again. Finally we reach the stage of today, were we now have a small group of like-minded (dare I say) parochialists who hug each other and congratulate themselves and their hip relevancy to the modern world, and find their inner Spirit at their weekly contemplative mediation instead of participating in daily Mass.

I'll let the parish have a final word:

Our Mission

To proclaim and Celebrate the Good News of Jesus and share his teachings. ["I'm ok, you're ok!"]
To love, support and strengthen each other. ["Who needs the strength of God when we've got each other to hug?"]
To develop our liturgical celebrations in the spirit of Vatican II. ["We must be vigilant to keep up the pace of liturgical development with other spirit of Vatican II faith communities you know!"]
To meet the human and spiritual needs of this community and beyond through active ministry and service. ["Except for the human and spiritual needs of those who don't agree with us and those who are not born yet - they don't really exist anyway, do they?"]
To commit to just peacemaking. ["That's all, just peacemaking. Nothing else. No evangelization, no study of God's Word, no praying, nope, no time for that!"]

Ok, I lied, here's their final word:

Schedule of Services

Sunday Mass Schedule:
Vigil: Saturday 4:15 p.m./ Sunday: 11:00 a.m.

Mass for Gay and Lesbian Community:
5:00 p.m. First and Third Sunday of each month

Hey, they forgot to include a note saying that they no longer have daily Mass or Confession, because of the great joy of coming together weekly for "contemplative meditation"!

Oh, wait, I guess none of their parishioners would wonder about that lack anyway.

St. Andrew the Apostle, pray for them!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Their links are to:

Voice of the Faithful
Call to Action
Catholic Culture
The Vatican


That is one confused "parish".

June 03, 2007 3:16 PM  

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