Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
We have been reflecting over various topics related to the idea of parishes in our modern world. The mobility that we now have has certainly changed the way in which we operate. It has become very easy to change parishes for a whole variety of reasons, from style and likes and dislikes, to the pursuit of the truth.
The mobility that we have certainly has blessings, but it can allow for a certain stunting in our spiritual lives. If allow ourselves to bounce from parish to parish, losing a connection with a priest and other parishioners, we run the risk of allowing the faith to become only personal, rather than ecclessial, that is, in view of the wider Church (past, present, and future). It is for these reasons that I have been addressing this.
It is my desire, and the desire of all of the priests at Old St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart, that we all become perfect as Our Lord has commanded us. If we give in constantly to our desires and preferences, then we run the risk of missing the mark. One of the most important relationships in the world that a person can have is with your local priests. This serves as a mark of conscience and a guide. It allows someone who serves as a mediator between God and men, as another Christ, to know and to challenge us when needed. It serves as a check against superstition and the slow move toward declaring ourselves the Magisterium. Priests desire to be pastors to people, not simply the care takers of two very nice buildings.
To this end, these are a few questions that I have received:
Are we not allowed to go to other churches? This has not been said nor meant to be implied. However, it is important to have one main base that truly serves as not just a part-time home, but as the foundation of our spiritual life. Everyone is welcome to Old St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart, but not all are parishioners. Perhaps daily Mass works better in some places but not others. Perhaps there are good talks taking place in another parish. But even while taking advantage of all of these opportunities to grow in perfection, at the end of the day, there is but one home base and one pastor who is responsible for me before God.
Are you contradicting yourself for putting Old St. Mary’s/Sacred Heart’s schedule in our bulletin? Sometimes various daily Mass opportunities work better in different places. Occasionally, the Sunday Mass you regularly attend doesn’t fit with your schedule. Either way, if you attend either parish occasionally, you are receiving a consistent message by the same priests. You are seeing the same people. While they are two separate parishes, they aren’t totally separate spiritually or pastorally because of the sharing of priests. The schedule is shared to give people as many opportunities throughout the week to participate in Divine Worship and further growth in perfection.
I will conclude this series of columns in the next week or two, as we begin to prepare for the great Lenten Season. Please remember to pray for our parishes, our clergy, and our parishioners each day. Have a blessed week ahead!