I attended Mass with my wife at St. John the Baptist this evening, but I have this weeks St. Peter’s bulletin for you now: Bulletin_2014-11-09. There are at least three items in the bulletin that were of interest to me.
1. Page 2 – Dear Friends: In this item, our Pastor asks us to join him in supporting the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Justice for Immigrants (JFI) campaign. I think that it is essential to read what the USCCB site has to say on this subject. Among the primary objectives of the JFI campaign is: “To educate the public, especially the Catholic community, including Catholic public officials, about Church teaching on migration and immigrants.”
The discourse on the immigration issue reminds me of a multi-day conversation I had with a very close Mormon friend in Idaho. We both came to the realization that when we were discussion our religious beliefs about the Trinity, the priesthood, and other things, we both were using the same words to describe entirely different things. Consequently, we actually disagreed even though our words would make it sound like we were in agreement.
That valuable lesson in the meaning of words has taught me to tread lightly when discussing issues that have both religious (faith-based) and political components. So, before I go off to call the White House about justice for immigrants, I will first go off to study what the Church teaching actually is on migration and immigrants. — I voted last Tuesday concerning the political component, but I must live the religious component every day.
2. Page 4 – Want to go to France with Me Next August?: No thank you, Father. I’ve been to France and Switzerland several times. In fact, one of my most striking memories was my visit to the St. Pierre (St. Peter) cathedral in Geneva. As the Sacred Destination Website describes:
“The Catholic cathedral of St. Peter became a Protestant church in 1536. John Calvin preached here from 1536 to 1564, and the cathedral became the guiding center of Protestantism. Like reformers all over Europe, Calvin’s followers stripped Geneva’s cathedral of its altars, statues, paintings and furniture. Only the stained glass windows remained.”
Fortunately for me, however, rather than staying in the Huguenot/Calvinist enclave, I stayed in the beautiful city of Thonon-les-Baines in France – the home of St. Francis de Sales. I attended Mass and received Holy Communion at the same church where St. Francis would offer the Holy Sacrifice. Through prayer, patience, and love for the separated souls he converted as many as 72,000 protestants in France and Switzerland back to the Roman Catholic Church.
It is because I have seen what happened to one church named after St. Peter and because of what I have seen happen in the Diocese of Boise that I have chosen St. Francis de Sales as my patron for this blog.
We have seen the turn to liturgical minimalism that has occurred at St. Peter’s. It is a spiritual or perhaps anti-spiritual manifestation of the same type of thinking that brought about the physical stripping that occurred at St. Pierre cathedral.
Another way of saying it is as Reverend Monsignor Guido Marini, Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations stated it:
“The words of the Pope could not be clearer. It follows from them that no form of stinginess is admissible, nor any type of minimalism and of ill-intentioned impoverishment in the liturgical celebration. The beautiful, in its diverse ancient and modern forms in which it finds expression, is the proper means by which the mystery of the beauty of the love of God shines forth in our liturgies, even if always but dimly. Hence, why we can never do enough to beautify our rites! The Church teaches us that, in her long history, she has never feared to “waste” in order to surround the liturgical celebration with the highest expressions of art: from architecture to sculpture, to music, to sacred objects. The saints, despite their personal poverty, have always taught us to desire that only the best things be set aside for divine worship.”
So, Father, far more than a trip to France, I would “…desire that only the best things be set aside for divine worship.” Yes, and many other sheep of St. Peter’s also desire the “best” – not the least. We do not desire, nor can we abide by the “minimal” – because we know “we can never do enough to beautify our rites!”
3. Page 4 – Join me for the Women’s Cursillo December 4-7: My wife and I are Cursillistas. We know that Cursillo is a good movement. In fact, Cursillo helped my wife survive a great spiritual crisis. We have both been on several teams for Cursillo weekends and given many of the talks. Despite all that, we wonder. We wonder why our Pastor has been so intent on bringing Cursillo to St. Peter’s.
So, we pose the question. Why is bringing Cursillo to St. Peter’s so important?
My wife and I will have much more to say on this topic.