The Sheep of Kephas

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What Can Happen to a Parish in Four Months?

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In his letter to the parishioners of St. Charles Borromeo on June 8, Fr. Grinnell stated: “Keep me in prayer as I go on to my next assignment. I will certainly remember all of you. The parish that I’m going to should allow me ample time to pray, so I can assure you that I will pray for you! I will not be too far, and you are all welcome any time.”

My wife and I were certainly more than willing to allow Fr. Grinnell “ample time to pray.” That is the beauty of Rappahannock County and St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Unlike the fast pace of life inside the Beltway, we have grown spiritually because we have a beautiful gift here at St. Peter’s – the time to reflect and pray. Although we have only been here since December, the peace and calm we found at St. Peter’s and the release from the spiritual tension that we experienced in the Diocese of Boise reinvigorated us in our Faith.

Of course, we hoped that Fr. Grinnell would find the same opportunity to renew himself and perhaps to find a meaning for why God, through the Bishop, had him moved here. Yet, if we just look at the number of changes he has instituted and the pace at which he is moving to remake the Parish, we have come to think that Fr. Grinnell has brought the Beltway mentality with him. In so doing, he necessarily has endeavored to impose that mode upon St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the “sheep of Kephas – the sheep of Peter.”

Without adding analysis or commentary of my own (that will come later), here are a few excerpts from recent Parish bulletins. There are many other new activities Fr. Grinnell has proposed off-line to the Knights of Columbus and to other groups, but here, in Fr. Grinnell’s words is what can happen to a parish in four months.

2014-06-29 Pastor’s Piece: I would like to make one change in the mass schedule on Thursday. I would like to move the 8:30am mass to 7pm just before the 7:30 Holy Hour.

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.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS – Someone told me that Fr. Murphy preferred to use Eucharistic Prayer 1 (the “Roman Canon”) for mass. I prefer to save the Roman Canon for special feasts. More often I use one of the other 9 Eucharistic prayers. I often use Eucharistic prayers 2, 3, and 4 for masses. In Lent or when the theme of the readings is reconciliation, I will often use Reconciliation Eucharistic Prayers 1 and 2. In addition there are 4 Eucharistic prayers for various needs: #1: The Church on the Path of Unity, #2; God Guides His church along the Way of Salvation; #3: Jesus, the Way to the Father; #4: Jesus, Who Went About Doing Good. I try to match the prayer to the theme of the readings or the homily.

HOMILY OR SERMON – One person asked the difference between a homily and a sermon. A homily is preaching on the readings of the mass. This is my preference and what the Church recommends. A Sermon might be on a specific topic and not necessarily be closely related to the readings. A topic for a sermon might be a talk on “avarice” or “envy” or “just war” or “fidelity”. Sometimes we are asked to preach a sermon, for example the sermon each year on the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal.

OUR WEBSITE – I have a friend, Fred Pugarelli, who has offered to update our website and make our website more interactive. I know that in other churches that I have been assigned to, the website is crucial for informing and attracting people. In a county as settled as Rappahannock, a website might not be as important, but I still think it would be useful to be out there in the internet. One thing that I would like to put on is a link to the weekly homily. I would also like to have pictures of parish events and interviews with parishioners (an oral history). I know that the gen Xers and the Millennial generation seem to be more oriented to the internet and it would be good to try to attract them.

2014-08-03 Pastor’s Piece:

YOU ARE INVITED TO MAKE A CURSILLO – One of the turning points in my spiritual life was in March of 1974 when, as a Deacon, I attended a Cursillo weekend. I loved the weekend but, even more, I loved the time since the weekend (what is called the Fourth Day-the rest of your life). I have been active in the fourth day regularly the last 40 years.

I would like to invite any woman interested to make a Cursillo the weekend of September 25-28 and I would like to invite any man who is interested in Cursillo the weekend of October 23-26. The Weekend goes 3 days-Thursday night to Sunday evening. The Cursillos are held at the Diocesan Retreat House at White Post (a little north of Front Royal). The team that presents a weekend is made up of 12 people-two spiritual directors and 10 men or women team members. Each person on the team gives a talk and there is a table discussion after each talk. There is Mass every day and time for Confession. The meals are wonderful– cooked by a team of Cursllistas (people who have already made a Cursillo).

I will put applications for the Cursillo in the vestibule of the Church. Fill it out and give it to me and I will sponsor anyone who wants to make the Cursillo. If money is a problem, tell me and I will solve the problem-no sweat.

If you know of anyone who does not get the bulletin but you think would be interested-pass this bulletin to them or tell them about it. You will not regret attending a Cursillo and it might even change your life like it did for me.

ANOTHER INVITATION ABOUT CURSILLO – I want to invite you to an ULTREYA here at St. Peter’s on Saturday night August 30 at 6pm. We will start with a pot luck dinner (bring a dish to share) and then introduce ourselves, sing a song of two, break into group reunions (small groups of 4) to share, have a witness talk by Jim Bayne. There will be many people from the area coming-Catholic and non-Catholic. We are inviting anyone who has made a Cursillo or is interested in Cursillo to come and have a wonderful evening of sharing with your neighbors.

2014-09-21 Pastor’s Piece

LOOKING FOR PASTORAL COUNCIL MEMBERS – I would like to start a parish Pastoral Council to help and advise me on pastoral directions for our parish. I would project that the council would meet 4 times a year and would have 5 members. One member would come from the Knights of Columbus and one member would come from the cemetery committee and three members would come from each of the weekend masses. I would like people to volunteer. The only prerequisite would be that the volunteers be willing and able to attend the 4 yearly meetings of the council and be knowledgeable about and supportive of our parish. The commitment for serving on the council would only be for a year at a time but could be renewable year by year if the person so chose. I see the pastoral council meetings starting with a dinner meeting about 6 pm and lasting until 8 pm.

If you would be willing to serve please email me I said above, I am looking for one person from the Knights of Columbus and one person from the cemetery committee and one person from each of the masses (5 pm Saturday and 8:30 am and 10:45 am on Sunday). This service to the parish will not be a burden and will help me as I am new to the parish and need to know what the best pastoral initiatives will be for our Parish. Please volunteer!

LOOKING FOR EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS – I am also looking for Parishioners who would be willing to be trained and serve as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. These people would assist me in distributing communion at the weekend masses. Some would minister the Body of Christ with me and others would minister the Blood of Christ (the Chalice) for Communion under Both species. I would like to have volunteers to be trained from each weekend mass so that there would be enough Eucharistic ministers to serve at the masses that they normally go to. To be qualified for this ministry one should be an adult practicing Catholic in good standing who is willing to serve. Please email me ( to volunteer and tell me which weekend mass that you would serve at. I need your help so please volunteer!


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