Friday, February 29, 2008

Watch Your Language!!!!!

This just in from the Vatican!

If you, or your baby, or your grandchildren were "baptized" with the trendy formula of "I baptize you in the name of the Creator, the Sustainer, and the Holy Sanctifier...."

The Vatican says you were not validly baptized. And you have to have it redone the right way: ( I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. )

Also, if you were not validly baptized, and then proceeded to celebrate subsequent sacraments like Confirmation or Marriage or Holy Orders....they ALL have to get re-done!

This is one of those times when I'm really glad that I'm basically a liturgical conservative. I've never thought about using an alternate formula for baptisms, just to please those who might be offeded by patriarchal liturgical/scriptural language. There are times when it's appropriate to adapt the language of the liturgy, but then there are inappropriate times. We're supposed to be members of the Catholic Church, we're not Congregationalists! We don't make up our own rules. We are called to be in communion with the whole Catholic Church throughout the world. That means that our basic symbols, rituals, and practices look like those in other lands. It means that we don't make up practices or symbols or rituals to fit certain agendas. This is a hot topic, and one which we'll be hearing a lot about in the next few months. Stay tuned! your language!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Getting ready for Irish Night.....

So we're getting ready to host our annual Irish Night Celebration this coming Saturday, March 1.

Yes, officially, it's early, but it doesn't mean that we can't celebrate the Luck of the Iriish, and their contributions to Catholic Life in the USA.

Anyone who has studied anything about the Catholic Church in the USA knows the important role that the Irish have taken in the leadership of Catholic communities throughout the United States of America.

At St. Anselm, we celebrate Irish Night, but welcome ALL parishioners and FRIENDS.

We're called to welcome all peoples. Perhaps in a utopian situation, we might be called upon to welcome parishioners who might come from Iraq, Afghanisten, North Korea, Kenya, Guatemala, or other wonderful lands....

Actually, we are currently welcoming new parishioners from all sorts of new communities.

Maybe, like St. Patrick, we're being called to explore new, and more expansive ways of being church in our area today!!!!

He Healed the Darkness of my mind.....

This Sunday, we hear John's account of Jesus meeting the Man born Blind. The story, as portrayed in John's Gospel is full of mutivalent meanings and teachings.

Lent is a time to look at our own "blind-spots" and try to correct them. For me, I'm realizing that I'm being stretched in too many ways, and by too many constituencies. I need to cut back and simplify....even in the midst of increasing demands.

There are so many people vying for my time and attention: the average parishioner, the people who are sick or lonely of the parish, friends from other parts of the Diocese, people working at the Diocesan level looking for input from pastors, my young friends at St. John Vianney High School, and teachers and administrators from Catholic Schools near and far, and even Bishops from across the country looking for help from experienced and qualified liturgical scholars. And, sadly, I place my family's needs Dad is having knee surgery soon, I have a niece graduating college in May, and I can't be there....there are three cousins graduating from High School this year, and I'm not sure I can even get away for an afternoon to celebrate!

I'll bet it was this way for Jesus too! So many people were approaching him with all sorts of different expectations and requests!

But in the midst of his busy-ness, this simple blind-man approaches Jesus....and both are changed, and so is salvation history!

This story illustrates so well how we humans can be really blind at times when we think that we see clearly. It also reminds us that Jesus, the Lord, can always bring light and sight to situations that we consider dark and forboding!

So many characters in this story thought that they saw clearly, but were really blind!

Lent is a time to take stock, to look honestly at our lives in the call to Fast, Pray and do Mercy, and then to evaluate how we're doing.

It's always a challenge. It's always a time to say, "Hey, I really need a retreat. I need to get back to the important stuff. I need to focus on the important things in my life." THAT'S WHAT LENT IS ALL ABOUT.

As we continue our Lenten Journey, let's pray that we'll all be a little better at the end of Lent, let's pray that we'll all be more like Jesus come Easter Sunday. That's the true goal of Lent and these days.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Each year on this Sunday, we hear the theologically rich story of the encounter between the thirsty Jesus and the mysterious Samaritan woman at the well.
This picture, of a sculpture in front of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame, is of a wonderful sculpture by Ivan Mestrovic, a famous sculptor who did many wonderful pieces on the campus of Notre Dame.
I've always been struck by how strong the posture of the Jesus figure is, while the woman's posture is obviously ashamed....almost as if she can't wait to get away.
Listen to the Gospel story this weekend, and then imagine for yourself why these may be VERY important postures for these important Gospel teachers.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Feb. 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

the Church celebrates
the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.
We're not really sure that St. Peter ever
actually had time to sit on a specific chair during his time in Rome.
Obviously, we had no cameras in those days.
Obviously, we had no Internet in those days.
Obviously, we were not there with movie cameras in those days to record historical details.
However, we do have the testimony of history to give us some insights into this feast-day.
We have the history of the church of Rome that signalled this day as special.
We have the history of the Roman Church that sets this day apart as special.
We would be making a huge mistake if we ever thought that this is a day of unchanging tradition.
On the contrary....this feast teaches us that the Church is always in need of reformation, of reconcilitation, of renewal.
This feast day teaches us that leadership of the Catholic Church needs to be always mindful to the signs of the times in every age. The Church should always be about listening, rather than always speaking. The Church should be humble as was Peter. The Church should always be about service to the poorest of the poor.
Let's pray that in these uncertain days of the future of the traditional church, that the Holy Spirit will inspire us all with the vision of the Lord Jesus, who washed feet, who touched lepers, who spoke with known prostitutes, who dined with sinners, who loved flawed human beings.
May Jesus, the Christ, reach out to us sinners,
with compassion, love, and respect.
We pray all good things,
through the mercy of his Father and in his sustaining Spriit.
One God for ever and ever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The February Meeting of the Deanery Study

Tonight, we had the second meeting of the Deanery Study. Each parish, represented by its pastor and two representatives, reported on self-perceptions of each one's strengths, assets, competencies, and our goals for the future.

These reports, formulated in conjunction with each parish's leadership team, showed many similarities, and also pointed out how each parish has unique charisms.

The whole process of this Deanery Study is to re-examine the mission of the Church, to examine the mission of the Church in this portion of the Church of Trenton, to look at the signs of the times in the real world of today, and then to make recommendations to Bishop Smith for the future life of the Church in this area for the future.

Many people fear the future. They hear all sorts of "bad news" about the number of available ordained ministers shrinking greatly in the next few years. They bemoan the limited pool of qualified leaders for our parishes. They cry about not having leaders to serve them in their native languages and cultures. They fear change, and departure from "the ways I'm used to."

But the Gospel calls us to hope. The Gospel calls us to realize our equality as baptized members of Christ, all called to ministry by virtue of baptism. The Gospel calls us to "think outside of the box" and imagine ministry in new, and different forms in the future. The Gospel calls us to be open to being Church in new and different ways.

The Church has faced many struggles and re-configurations in its 2000-year old history, especially in the area of ministry and leadership. For the first 1000 years, married priests were the norm! There were married bishops. There were married Popes!

There were also strong, vibrant communities led by women! During the persecutions, many times women were called upon to lead the local gatherings, because all of the men had been hauled off to prison or execution. Perhaps even back in those highly-patriarchal days, women presided at the small gatherings for the "breaking of the bread."

Reading the "signs of the times" is not always easy. Sometimes our "vision" is clouded by our history, our specific location, our local practices. But sometimes, reading the signs of the times can provide a local community with a renewed vision, a renewal of energy and a renewal of vibrancy.

Let's pray that we can all have hearts, and eyes, and minds open to the vibrant ways of living the Gospel in perhaps new ways in the future. Let's keep the mission of the Church foremost in our minds, and pray that the Lord will grace us with the strength to be open to the Gospel of Christ in the days, weeks, years, and centuries to come.

Bishop Smith's Vision of a Vibrant Parish

In a talk given to the priests of the Trenton Diocese in 1999, Bishop John M. Smith outlined criteria for a vibrant parish. This vision is helpful to keep before us as we proceed to study the needs of the Church in this area of Monmouth County.

1. The parish will have a strong sense of itself as a community of faith, called by God, united in Christ and led by the Holy Spirit.

2. Members will see themselves as called and willing to participate actively in the leadership and growth of the parish.

3. A pastor who knows the people of the parish, they know him and they are comfortable in communicating with him. The pastor is so important to the life of a good vibrant parish. He presides over the liturgy and empowers others to take part in the ministry of the church.

4. The parish must have an adequate number of well-trained staff to take care of the needs of the parish. They must have a sense of purpose in achieving the goals of the parish.

5. Parishioners will actively participate in the life of the parish, both in the liturgical life and in other functions connected with the parish.

6. The liturgy will be the point to which all else leads and flows. The people will come to experience the presence of the living God.

7. The parish must be fully committed to the religious education of children and adults.

8. Experiences the call of Christ to spread the Word of God with evangelization programs, welcoming others through faith-sharing experiences.

9. Parish must be a certain size and have enough people in their active years to keep the parish healthy. There will be a mix of people of different age, sex, and race.

10. The financial condition of the parish should be such that it is able to carry out its work without undue stress on ministry and laity. Must not be preoccupied with financial matters.

11. The facilities must be maintained in acceptable condition. Must not be too small or too big.

A Prayer for our Deanery Study

Prayer for the Monmouth County Deanery Study

Heavenly Father, you call us, the people of the Catholic Church of Trenton, to proclaim and advance the Kingdom of God in Monmouth County.
We are united by our baptism in Christ. With Jesus our Lord, with our Holy Father Benedict, and with our bishop John, we form a community to discover the realities that affect our mission.
You call us, as you called St. Peter, to look ahead, to "put out into the deep," confident that our nets will be filled and our parishes made more vibrant. Inform our dreams of a renewed church. Because our work is in the cause of the eternal Kingdom, we must set our hand to the plow. Though our history is one of pride and accomplishment, open our eyes to the reality of the present and fix our gaze toward the future. Set us on the right course as we design new ways of being Church.
Father, give us the grace to rediscover the Church as "mystery," as a people gathered together in the unity of the Father, Son, and Spirit and to know that in this mystery lies the Church's holiness. Let the aroma of holiness fill us and guide our words and actions.
Lead us to a spirituality of communion. Give us the courage to go forward in hope, straining to what lies ahead, in faith that the Risen Lord accompanies us on our way. May he be a light unto our path and illumine our destiny.
We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Great Catholic Preacher goes "Home"

From Rocco, over at Whispers in the Loggia, some sad news:

By the multitudes, notices have come pouring in of the death yesterday at 95 of the famed Jesuit preacher Fr Walter Burghardt. A native Manhattanite and member of the Maryland Province, Burghardt died at the provincial infirmary on the campus of St Joseph's University in Philadelphia. While he'd been ill for several years and was near-blind by the end of his long journey, a friend said that he had been dictating one last book to a typist in his final months.
Numbered by many among the nation's most eminent clerics of any denominational stripe, Burghardt authored countless works long and short, served on the Holy See's International Theological Commission, taught at Woodstock, Catholic U. and, of course, Georgetown.
A 1998 documentary series on the nation's "Great Preachers" tapped Burghardt as one of two priests among the group of nine servant-masters of the pulpit -- helmed, as one would expect, by the age's first heir to George Whitefield, Billy Graham. (For the record, both Catholic contributions to the list were Jesuits.)
The successor of John Courtney Murray as editor of Theological Studies -- a post he held for 24 years -- he wrote on topics as varied as preaching in the American vernacular, man's merit of peace, the Holy Family and the proclaiming of the "just word" that became the cause of his later years. But the thread that ran through the whole of it was encapsulated in the title of a 1989 piece bearing an oft-necessary reminder in the journey: "Without Contemplation, the People Perish."
Last year, marking his 75th anniversary as a Jesuit, he wrote in the pages of America that

[T]he more remarkable of early Christian theologians were searching not only for ideas about God; they were searching for God’s very self, struggling for union with divinity. My immersion in the fathers of the church, the early Christian theologians, has appreciably aided my immersion in the center of my Jesuit spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the exercises there is indeed a theology: a sense of sin as sacrilege, a Christology, a theology of redemption and salvation through Christ’s crucifixion, of life after death. But the exercises are not primarily an intellectual enterprise; from beginning to end they are an experience. Ignatius asks me to walk with the Jesus of Nazareth, talk with the Jesus of Jerusalem, suffer with Jesus on the cross, rise with Jesus from death. In his final meditation, Ignatius wants me to see Jesus working within me “as a laborer,” literally a collaborator. As with the early theologians, my theology and my spirituality must converge.As he once summed it up elsewhere, "Love God above all else. Love every human being -- friend or enemy -- like another self as a child of God, especially those who are on the lower edge of society. Touch the earth, God's material creation -- nuclear energy or a blade of grass -- with respect. With reverence as a gift of God."
According to one report, the funeral liturgy is scheduled for Wednesday at the Jesuit outpost of Holy Trinity in Georgetown, where Burghardt preached and ministered through his decades in DC.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Transfiguration, the Lord's and ours!

This weekend, we hear the Gospel story of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

The story, which we get in some form on this Sunday each year, is a familiar one. Even though it's very familiar, it might be worthwhile to look again at some of the details of the story, and "put ourselves into the story" in our imagination and prayer.

We might meditate on the details of how Jesus was transfigured, how his divine glory was revealed to his closest disciples, how they were dumbstruck with misunderstanding and wonder, and how Jesus quickly "comes down" to his "normal" self to continue business as usual.

However, we might better meditate on the ways in which, knowing the end of the Gospel story, this little "glimpse into heaven" should change us!

What might it mean for me to really believe that God calls each of us to be transfigured? What parts of my life need to be changed? What do I need to change to become a better disciple of Jesus?

Pretty good questions for all of Lent.

This weekend, we have Fr. Francis speaking with us about our twinning relationship with his parish in Jamaica. Let's all pray that the Lord will grace us with creative insights as to how we can all benefit from this ongoing relationship.

"Lord, change our hearts,
mold them into what YOU want.
Change our lives,
and take them from the muck of
self-centeredness and selfishness,
into the light of
living for others.
We ask this
through Christ
our Risen Lord.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Confirmation Retreat 2008

Bishop Daniel Jenky, C.S.C. of Peoria, IL, anoints a candidate for Confirmation.

This Sunday, we'll have our annual Confirmation Retreat. As in past years, we've invited young people from the National Evangelization Team (NET) to help facilitate the retreat. The members of NET are young adults who volunteer a full year to offer these retreats for young people preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation.

These young people are from all over the United States, and it's always been a pleasure to offer them hospitality here at St. Anselm. They are really on fire with love for the Lord, the Church, and for young people.

We'll celebrate the actual Sacrament of Confirmation on May 11 with Bishop John M. Smith coming to confer the sacrament this year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Jamaica Project

This weekend, the parish of St. Anselm will welcome Fr. Francis from Jamaica. He will be speaking at all of the masses and helping us to build up our "twinning" relationship with his parish in Jamaica. Hopefully we will share ideas about the many ways that we can join in partnership with the parish in Jamaica.

We're especially looking to share ideas of how to build up the liturgical, and spiritual life of both parishes through this partnership.

So, please plan on joining us after each of the masses this weekend, and greet Fr. Francis.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fasting in Perspective

Yolen Jenuky sells mud cookies in Cite Soleil, the poorest section of Haiti's capitol city, Port au Prince.

Thank you to A Concord Pastor Comments. This is his post - it was so moving and informative that I have posted it here in its entirety.

Fast and Abstinence In LentAll Christians are called to special prayer, fasting and caring for the poor in the season of Lent. Each person determines how he or she will personally live out these ancient Lenten exercises. In addition to personal Lenten practices, Catholics are also called to a communal practice of self-denial through fasting and abstinence.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau. The mud has long been used by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places like Cite Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings, and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt, and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal. "When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat them three times a day," Charlene said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, looking even thinner than the slim 6 pounds, 3 ounces, he weighed at birth. Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains. "When I nurse, the baby sometimes seems colicky, too," she said.

Ash Wednesday Is a Day of Fast and AbstinenceOn Ash Wednesday, Catholics over 14 years of age are expected to abstain from eating meat on this day. Catholics 18 years of age and up to the beginning of their 60th year are expected to fast: taking only one full meal and two other light meals, eating nothing between meals.

Food prices around the world have spiked because of higher prices for oil, which is needed for fertilizer, irrigation, and transportation. Prices for basic ingredients such as corn and wheat are also up sharply, and the increasing global demand for biofuels is pressuring food markets as well. The problem is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 percent in places… At the market in the La Saline slum, a two-cup portion of rice now sells for 60 cents, up 10 cents from December and 50 percent from a year ago. Beans, condensed milk, and fruit have gone up at a similar rate, and even the price of the edible clay has risen over the past year by almost $1.50. Dirt to make 100 cookies now costs $5, the cookie makers say. Still, at about 5 cents apiece, the cookies are a bargain compared with food staples. About 80 percent of people in Haiti live on less than $2 a day and a tiny elite controls the economy.

All the Fridays of Lent Are Days of Abstinence Catholics over 14 years of age are expected to abstain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent.

Merchants truck the dirt from the central town of Hinche to the La Saline market, a maze of tables of vegetables and meat swarming with flies. Women buy the dirt, then process it into mud cookies… Carrying buckets of dirt and water up ladders to the roof of the former prison for which Fort Dimanche is named, they strain out rocks and clumps on a sheet, and stir in shortening and salt. Then they pat the mixture into mud cookies and leave them to dry under the scorching sun. The finished cookies are carried in buckets to markets or sold on the streets. A reporter sampling a cookie found that it had a smooth consistency and sucked all the moisture out of the mouth as soon as it touched the tongue. For hours, an unpleasant taste of dirt lingered… Marie Noel, 40, sells the cookies in a market to provide for her seven children. Her family also eats them. "I'm hoping one day I'll have enough food to eat, so I can stop eating these," she said. "I know it's not good for me." (By Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press, January 31, 2008)

Good Friday Is a Day of Fast and Abstinence On Good Friday, Catholics over 14 years of age are expected to abstain from eating meat on this day. Catholics 18 years of age and up to the beginning of their 60th year are expected to fast: taking only one full meal and two other light meals, eating nothing between meals.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The real meaning of Lent

During this season, the Church is called to renew our discipleship. Jesus gives the three hallmarks of discipleship: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. For centuries these have been the traditional disciplines of Lent.
At the Church of St. Anselm, we will light three large Altar-Candles to remind us of the three parts of our Lenten discipline.
Together, we remember the words of St. Peter Chrysologous:
There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm,
devotion remains constant, and virtue endures.
They are prayer, fasting, and mercy.
Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.
Prayer, mercy and fasting: thess three are one, and they give life to each other.
Fasting is the sould of prayer,
mercy is the lifeblood of fasting.
Let no one try to separate them;
they cannot be separated.
If you have only one of them or not all together,
you have nothing.
So if you pray, fast;
if you fast, show mercy;
if you want your petitions to be heard,
hear the petitions of others.
If you do not close your ear to others you open God's ear to yourself.
When you fast, see the fasting of others.
If you want God to know that you are hungry,
know that another is hungry.
If you hope for mercy, show mercy.
If you lookd for kindness, show kindness.
If you want to receive, give.
If you ask for yourself what you deny to others,
what you're asking for is a mockery.
Let this be the pattern for all when they practice mercy:
show mercy to others in the same way,
with the same generosity,
with the same promptness,
as you want others to show mercy to you.
Therefore, let prayer, mercy and fasting
be one single plea to God on our behalf,
one speech in our defense,
a threefold united prayer in our favor.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday, Super Bowl, Super Lent?

With apologies to my friends from New England, here in New Jersey, we're really enjoying the Giants' win in the Super-Bowl. We're getting ready for a great ticker-tape parade in NYC tomorrow morning. There's nothing like a parade in NYC.

However, it's also Super Tuesday, and for the first time ever in New Jersey, we are a part of this Super-Primary....So, everybody vote first, then watch the parade on TV.

Tomorrow is also preparation day for the beginning of Lent. We strip our church building of flowers, extra banners, we bring out the violet vestments and hangings, and basically begin our Spring cleaning!

We'll burn the palms from last year's Palm Sunday, and then grind them down to make the ashes for Wednesday's Ashes.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Getting Ready for Ash Wednesday and Lent 2008

If your palms look something like this, take down the palms, put them into your car, and bring them with you to St. Anselm, and we'll collect them like this:
On Tuesday, we'll collect all of the blessed Palms from last year and then do this to get ready for Ash Wednesday:

So, we'll be ready to do this on Ash Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. Mass, 12:00 p.m. Service, 4:30 Service, and a 7:00 p.m. Mass:

Just for the record, if you can't get to church on Wednesday, if you're sick, or homebound, you don't need to receive ashes to mark the beginning of Lent. The ashes are not a "blessing", they are not a Sacrament, they are a sacramental. If you don't get to church for ashes on Ash Wednesday, that is NOT a sin in any way. And it is not something you need to worry about in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
However, we ALL need to mark out the season of Lent as a Special Time to Pray, Fast, and Give Alms (More than we usually do in our life). See my previous posts for suggestions as to how we can do Lent in St. Anselm's.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Presentation Day

Jesus is presented in the TEMPLE.

The first-born, a special role. I happen to be the first-born of parents who would bave been married 56 years today, on Feb. 2, 2008. I happen to love Feb. 2. each year.

Not only is it for me the anniversary of my parent's wedding anniversary, it is the feast of the Presantation of the Lord, it is GROUNDHOG DAY!

Feb. 2, is such a "quiet day", but the Feast is so full of meaning, light, and grace:

Yesterday's Gospel reading is a parable about how the Kingdom of God grows like a tiny seed, slow, but surely, if nurtured, cared for and properly tended.

Recently, we had the annual talk by parishioners on their practice of Stewardship.

As you know, we use 10% of all of our collections for aiding people most in need through our Community OutReach (COR) committee. We send a lot of our money out to people who really need it to just stay in their homes, or on the meds their doctors have prescribed.

You should know that our practice of Stewardship and our use of 10% of our collections is considered quite "UNIQUE" by the folks in the Chancery (Bishop's Office) and by our neighboring clergy.

But, truth be told, I would not have it any other way!

I take a certain evil "pride" in announcing to the deanery clergy that we do not CHARGE people for Weddings, Funerals or for Masses. We do not charge for the sacraments. We are a stewardship parish. and we seek to treat parishioners with all of their baptismal dignity.

When couples call up seeking to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage at the community of St. Anselm, they often ask, "What is the fee?" I always answer: "There is no fee. We do not charge for the celebration of the sacraments. Whatever you would like to give to help us to continue the mission of the parish is much apprectiated and valued. We want to thank you for helping us to continue to be the unique faith community that we are at St. Anselm."

I'm always amazed at the reactions of the couples....Apparently at neighboring churches there are all sorts of if the bride is late....she's fined $500....if the groom is's a fine of $40......and so on.....ALL SUCH NONSENSE!

My friends the Funeral Directors also have to deal with such nonsense.

They ask me how we at St. Anselm are able to "stay afloat" without taking fees and taking up collections, or having BINGO, or doing all of the "other stuff" that "other" parishes do all of the time.

I answer: "We are a prayerful community. We pray, and we celebrate, and we do what we can when we can." We are not about making money, we are about inviting people to join us in being disciples.

Challenging times to be a Pastor in a Catholic Parish. Let's pray for each other. Give comments!