The Sheep of Kephas

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“Good” Can Become “Better”

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This is a simple statement about something that is good with an opinion on how it can be made even better.

Good: This afternoon, the Rappahannock News posted a story about a truly good thing: Faith, charity … pantry. The story shows a picture of Daphne Hutchinson with our Pastor, Father Grinnell, stocking the shelves at the Rappahannock Food Pantry after the delivery of “… 959 pounds of food from St. Peter’s, as part of Catholic Charities’ October food drive.”

There is no ambiguity here. This was a case of “feeding the hungry” as a Corporal Work of Mercy based on Matthew 25:31-36. St. Peter’s responded to the call for assistance and provided to those in need. It was good that our Pastor was there to represent St. Peter’s and the Roman Catholic Church.

Better: During my 21 years in the US Navy, when there was a public ceremony related to the Navy, including Navy-sponsored community and charitable service, I would wear my uniform and wear it proudly. In a profoundly more significant way, Blessed Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity could be immediately identified by their traditional white sari with blue border as they ministered to “the poorest of the poor.”

Father Grinnell did represent our Parish and the Church – that’s a good thing. But, would it have not been even better had had worn his clerical garb and thereby proclaimed that he was doing a good thing in the name of the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ?

If the answer is “yes,” when the next opportunity arises, perhaps Father Grinnell could and should do the “better” thing  and wear his clerics when he represents the sheep of St. Peter’s.


1 Comment

  1. Fenton Goldblat says:

    Your post is very timely.

    Canon Law is clear on this: “Can. 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.” I’m not aware of a local custom prohibiting clerics from wearing their garb…

    Too many priests in our area act this way. The previous pastor at OLBR rarely went out in public dressed the part–I’d often see him shopping or at restaurant in jeans & shirt…just a regular Joe. In meetings with our current pastor at St Peters, he’s always in his “civvies”…reminds me of the Carter days when we were not allowed to wear our uniforms in public. Shameful.

    A priest in Clerical garb is such a welcome sight, as are nuns in their FULL habits…they should be proud of their station! The opportunity for a priest to encounter a fallen away Catholic or even a non-Catholic and evangelize them is too great! We were asked by Father Grinnell last week to go out and evangelize…he has a golden opportunity to do the same!

    Here is a good blog from a priest:

    From the USCCB…

    Canon 284 – Clerical Garb

    On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

    The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

    Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling.

    In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.

    In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.

    As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

    Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.

    Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
    Bishop of Galveston-Houston
    President, NCCB

    Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
    General Secretary


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