The Sheep of Kephas

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7th Annual AUSCP Assembly! Albuquerque, NM: June 25-28, 2018

The Big AUSCP AssemblyJune 25th, 2018
4 months to go.

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2018-02-18

Here is Bulletin_2018-02-18

Clerical Error: Despite what you might find in the bulletin entry for Wednesday, February 21st, that day is not Ash Wednesday. However, there might be an encore performance by the Rappahannock Clergy Association (RCA).


The Rappahannock Clergy Association

Forgive my double entendre, but if the RCA shows up again distributing ashes on the 21st, would that be a “clerical error”?


Where we are going and the distractions along the way

Tonight our minds are filled with disparate images of what some Catholic parishes have become and what is in their future. We are also thinking of what has happened to Christianity over the last 500 years and where we might be heading.

PandD-02We came here to Rappahannock County and St. Peter’s after six years in the wayward Diocese of Boise (Idaho). My friends tell me it is somewhat better now than it used to be. So, this recent picture of Bishop Peter Christensen as he “helped the RCIA candidates on their Journey of Faith at the Rite of Election on Friday, February 16” in our old parish shows us that many of the old “distractions” are still there.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The girl holding the book really does have green and blue hair. Perhaps we are too old fashioned, but my beautiful spouse and I would consider that a “distraction” at Mass or any liturgy.

Now let’s consider our good Pastor. He made the news many years ago with his defiance of the then bishop. Read about it in Priest Who Allowed Altar Girls Is Told to Stop. Now you might say this is old news. Yet, if you look at it from the perspective of “distractions”, you might find it hard to believe that our Pastor would think that so-called “altar girls” would be no distraction, but ringing of bells at the elevation of the Eucharist would. In his words:

2014-07-13 – Pastor’s Piece:

RINGING BELLS – I prefer to have the servers ring the bells one time at the Epiclesis which is when the priest calls down the Holy Spirit on the gifts. I prefer to have some moments of silence after the words of institution (“this is my body” -“this is my blood”). Ringing the bells seven times (once for the epiclesis and 6 times for the Body and the Blood) does not give us enough quiet time in which to say a quick prayer. My mother always said to herself in that quiet time-“my Lord and my God”–the words of St. Thomas to the resurrected Jesus.

The problem is, now our servers don’t ring the bells even one time. If there is a ever a requirement for “distractions” at Mass, please give us those ever so distracting bells and spare us the green and blue hair.

Luther and Henry VIII started something of a trend in the Christian World. PandD-03And my wife and I believe the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP) are in line with the present day manifestation of that trend. Look at what has happened to Christianity in Sweden since Luther. On the left is Eva Brunne, the “world’s first lesbian ‘bishop'”. A recent story reports that (Sweden’s Liberal Church ‘Set to Lose over a Million Members in Next Decade’).



“Bishop” Brunne and friends

The story line reminds one of the losses in the Catholic Church here in America. Now the AUSCP intends to explore that problem at their next assembly. Consider what we said last week in our post Here’s Your Theme & “almost final schedule”. Remember that the AUSCP assembly theme will be a very simple and straightforward:

The Church in a Post-Modern World: Spirituality and Ministry in a Secular Age Can we still attract and grow disciples?

Our thought at this point is this: Dear Fathers of the AUSCP, you were the ones who brought on the “distractions”. Can you pull up your pants, act like real men, and get rid of the “distractions” and pray the Mass as priests of God? If you can’t do that, then please tell us where Christianity is going in the next 500 years.

Perhaps we should pose that question to this group as well.


The Rappahannock Clergy Association


Lent – Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving

In our last post (For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2018-02-11), the bulletin had very, very little on Lenten activities at St. Peter’s. After the 5pm Mass, Father did say there would be some activities, but it wasn’t very clear exactly what. Hopefully, there will be more in next Sunday’s bulletin. Lent is too important a season to waste.

For the Sheep in Exile, you are aware of your options at St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Baptist, or elsewhere. I would call to your attention the handout from St. John the Baptist (Lent 2018–St. John the Baptist Catholic Church).

Fr. Fasano and Fr. Beres do a great job of laying out a three-fold plan for Lent. It’s all there,  a practical plan to address prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. And to bring it all into a real-world focus, they have included the Spiritual Works of Mercy and the Corporal Works of Mercy. You can’t go wrong if you follow a plan like that.

Though very few will say it , we will, “Have a happy and holy Lent!”

Here’s Your Theme & “almost final schedule”

In some quarters, the anticipation is building at a rapid rate. The AUSCP 2018 Assembly in Albuquerque, June 25-28 is in it’s final planning stages.

The theme for the upcoming priestly extravaganza is a very simple and straightforward:

The Church in a Post-Modern World:
Spirituality and Ministry in a Secular Age

Can we still attract and grow disciples?

Let me be so bold as to ask this of the purported 1,200 members of the AUSCP:

Did you ever? Did you ever attract and grow disciples? Did you ever attract and grow disciples during your 50 years on watch? Look at your own statistics relating the devastating decline in Mass attendance and vocations and explain to us how you can use the word “still” in the question you pose to yourselves.

The “almost final schedule” for the eagerly awaited Assembly can be found here.

Over the course of the next few weeks we will look at the schedule and the keynote speakers. Assuming that our Pastor intends to attend the Assembly for a third consecutive year, perhaps he would like to contribute some comments on what he hopes to hear from:

  • Katarina Schuth 

  • Father Richard Rohr, and

  • Bishop Robert McElroy






For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2018-02-11

Here is Bulletin_2018-02-11

Once again, a multi-page brochure on the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal was included in the bulletin. You can find more details here.

It’s Back: Yes, the Bishop Kenneth Untener-inspired study in profound Lenten meditations known as “The Little Black Book” is back in the vestibule. (Of course, we have written about this before. See “For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2016-02-28“)

Considering the myriad of Lenten meditations that are available to parishes that speak directly to the heart and soul, this little black gem brings to mind the old commercial with the famous tagline: “Where’s the beef?”

Perhaps the following graphic will illustrate the answer to that question as it is embodied in “The Little Black Book”.



Something’s Not “Kosher” Here

As most of you well know the POST-SYNODAL APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AMORIS LÆ TITIA OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS (AL) has stirred a great controversy within the Church. One of the voices supporting the view that AL will eventually bring about a major change to Canon 915 and the teaching of the Church is Massimo Faggioli. See what he has to say in the Commonweal article ‘I’m Sure It Will Do a Lot of Good’ – Francis’s Response to Argentine Bishops on ‘Amoris Laetitia’.

What is this Canon 915 that Faggioli would like to see changed?



Can.  915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Within the institution known as the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests (AUSCP), Massimo Faggioli is well known and often praised. As recently as December 17, 2017 the head of the AUSCP, Fr. Bob Bonnot, said in a post on the AUSCP website concerning the Faggioli article in Commonweal (Faggioli on how (and when) the Church changes):

For the AUSCP, Bob Bonnot writes: Portions of this essay “undergird the importance of the prophetic dimension of our mission. When we choose to support something not currently kosher, such as ordaining married men, ordaining women deacons, entrusting parishes to lay leaders, we are doing something significant and important.

As you well know, there is good reason to suspect that our Pastor is a member of the AUSCP. Our question to him is simple:

Father, in the above statement, Fr. Bonnot speaks for for the AUSCP – does he also speak for you? We at St. Peter’s need to know how many things that are not kosher that you support. Do you support changing or abrogating Canon 915?

Lest you think that we are attempting impute guilt by association, we are not. Instead we simply pray that our Pastor will avoid associating with those who may have guilt.

After all: The supreme law is the salvation of souls.




For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2018-02-04

Here is Bulletin_2018-02-04

Included in today’s bulletin was a multi-page brochure on the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal. You can find more details here.

Several have asked about my beautiful wife’s health since her return from the hospital. — She is improving, but we still have no solid diagnosis. Your many prayers and warm regard are greatly appreciated.


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