The Sheep of Kephas

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Monthly Archives: December 2014


For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-12-28

Here is Bulletin_2014-12-28.

Personal Comments:

1. Christmas: Christmas is not just one day. For Holy Mother Church, Christmas is a season:

The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him…including the fact that he was born to die for us.

For my wife and I, this has been a joyous time. Unlike the period of separation while we were living in Idaho, this year we had many opportunities to spend uninterrupted and unhurried time together with each of the members of our family. We intend to make sure that every day during this Christmas Season is a time to “celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts…”

2. Christmas Greetings for the Sheep in Exile: My wife asked me to make particular mention of how happy she was to share Christmas greetings with some of our friends after the 8:30AM Mass today as St. John the Baptist. She values these new friendships, especially because they are centered on the Church and our shared Faith. Her only regret is that there is the constant reminder that we can not exchange Christmas greetings outside the doors of our own St. Peter’s instead of at St. John’s.

3. An Apology: To those same folks we greeted at St. John’s and to my wife, let me extend a sincere apology. I should not have brought up the topic that I did at that time and place. It detracted from the moment and the place where we were. I think that you understand how much I look forward to the day that I can retire this blog and we can all just enjoy the opportunity to worship the Lord together in our own Parish.

Analysis and Commentary:

1. The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God: At the 5:ooPM Mass yesterday, it appeared that our Pastor had a slight lapse of memory. When giving the final announcements, he had difficulty recalling what was the occasion for the Masses on Wednesday, December 31st and January 1st. He first said “Christmas Eve” and then stammered and stuttered as he looked to the congregation for some help. Some of us attempted to let him know it would be the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.

When I had the opportunity to review Bulletin 2014-12-28, I realized that Father’s lapse in memory extended beyond the experience last evening. Here is what the bulletin says:

Dear friends,

                                                  NEW YEAR’S MASS SCHEDULES
Like last year, we will have a regular Sunday schedule for the New Year’s Mass schedule: i.e. 5 pm mass on New Year’s Eve., and 8:30 am and 10:45 am Masses on New Year’s Day.

Fr. Tuck

There should be no confusion between the secular New Year’s celebration and what we as Roman Catholics celebrate on the Octave Day of Christmas. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Website:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Should our Pastor have trouble remembering that, I would recommend that he refer to the St. Peter Catholic Church calendar entry for Thursday, January 1, 2015. There he will find the words, “Mary, the Holy Mother of God.” Interestingly, just below the name of the parish, St. Peter Catholic Church, there is the name Rev. Horace H. Grinnell, Pastor.

2. Proposed Augustian reflection Group: Included in this week’s bulletin was a flyer entitled: Saint Augustine: Opportunities for Spiritual Reflection.

The proposed Augustian reflection group is an initiative of Father Tuck Grinnell and John Kiser. John has been reading selections of Augustine’s teachings collected in St Augustine of Hippo (Skylight Paths, 2010) edited by Dr. Joseph Kelley and was struck by their relevance today. Dr. Kelly teaches theology at Merrimack, an Augustinian Catholic college in North Andover, Mass. and is the Director of Merrimack’s Center for Jewish Christian Muslim Relations (and may be enticed to visit Rappahannock one day).

Of course, this is intriguing. The prospect of learning about a Doctor of the Church and early Church Father is a wonderful opportunity. It raises many interesting questions in my mind concerning where the discussions might lead.  However, I have not been living in Rappahannock County long enough, nor have I been a member of St. Peter Catholic Church long enough to understand everything I have learned by reading our Pastor’s flyer.

So, my first question concerns Merrimack College and its Center for Jewish Christian Muslim Relations. Well, funding is always a good place to start. I learned the following from the Form 990-PF submitted to the IRS by the The William & Mary Greve Foundation, Inc. for 2013. According to that document, Merrimack College was granted $85,450 “In continuing support of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations and programs to expand the mission of promoting tolerance and interfaith understanding.”

My next question follows from the first, who is Dr. Joseph Kelley. The Website for Merrimack College confirms that Dr. Joseph Kelley, indeed, teaches at that institution and is an Associate Professor in Religious and Theological Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations.

As you well know, my wife and are still new to St. Peter’s and we have not met all in the Parish. The way the flyer reads you would expect that John Kiser is a member of St. Peter Parish or is a long-time friend of the Pastor. I only have an old edition of the Parish directory, and I don’t find John Kiser listed therein. Interestingly, though, I took a closer look at the Form 990-PF for The William & Mary Greve Foundation and found that there is a John W. Kiser III of Sperryville, VA listed as the “Chairman, Director” in Part VIII – List of Officers, Directors, Trustees and Foundation Managers.

Based on the above, it is possible that the John Kiser mentioned in the flyer and John W. Kiser III might be one and the same person. That might explain why our Pastor could say “[Dr. Kelley] … may be enticed to visit Rappahannock one day). That would be understandable considering the funding from the Greve Foundation.

This has opened up many, many more questions and lines of pursuit for me. As I said, I’m not sure I understand everything I understand about what was presented in the flyer. A brief excursion through several information sources suggest that there are political aspects to this as well, but my wife and I have to do our homework.

Nevertheless, the prospects for this new Augustian reflection group are quite intriguing. Perhaps it might even be worth the time to sit in on these sessions and see where they lead. Meanwhile, I will continue to research my questions and, hopefully, will have some more to say about this in Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors.



For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-12-21

Here is Bulletin Bulletin_2014-12-21.

This post is very short for one very important reason. It is Advent, and my wife and I need this time together to prepare ourselves during this last week of penitential expectation. To the many of you who support and assist in this blog, to all of the Sheep in Exile, to all in the flock of St. Peter’s, be certain that you are in our prayers and may you have a holy and merry Christmas.

Analysis and Commentary:

1. Bulletin: This week’s bulletin is mute on two points – Cursillo and the Pastoral Council.

Cursillo: Perhaps Father has no more to say about this topic. History and common sense tell me otherwise.

Pastoral Council:  For weeks, Father has been asking us us to see the “meeting minutes from the last meeting  (Oct. 7)” of the Pastoral Council. In point of fact, the last Pastoral Council meeting was December 2nd. As of this evening, the minutes for that meeting have not been posted on the parish Website. Why?

2. Gloria: At the 8:30AM Mass today, the choir sang the Gloria. I am not a liturgist. I have no special training or credentials. Consequently, whatever I say here is subject to correction. What little I know concerning the Gloria comes from Chapter II: The Structure of the Mass, Its Elements, and Its Parts of the General Instruction Of the Roman Missal:

The Gloria in Excelsis

53. The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is a most ancient and venerable hymn by which the Church, gathered in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other. It is intoned by the Priest or, if appropriate, by a cantor or by the choir; but it is sung either by everyone together, or by the people alternately with the choir, or by the choir alone. If not sung, it is to be recited either by everybody together or by two choirs responding one to the other.

It is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character.

The singing of the Gloria today almost certainly was a mistake, one of those little things that just happens. Nevertheless, it is a distraction and it upsets the mood that is meant to be part of Advent. We can hope that the primary liturgist of the parish (the Pastor) would ensure that, those who assist in the liturgy (choir, lectors, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, etc.), would be instructed beforehand concerning what is expected at each Mass.

3. Christmas Mass Schedule: It is unfortunate that the Sheep in Exile must attend Mass at other parishes. It is unfortunate and it is thoroughly understandable. Already I have been asked by some for the schedule of Christmas Masses at St. John the Baptist. For those of you who might have the same question, here is the St. John the Baptist Christmas Mass Schedule.

One Year Ago Today

Yes, it really was one year ago today when the moving truck arrived at our old farm house in Sperryville. The mountains of eastern Idaho were far behind and were replaced with the beauty of the Blue Ridge. We had done our due diligence and prayed earnestly for God to find just the right place to live for however long He wanted us to be here. We had either known personally or knew of every pastor that had led the flock at St. Peter’s. After nearly six years of living in a diocese that had seemingly abandoned the call to nourish its sheep, we were in a place where we could be refreshed in the true beauty of the sacraments and the faithful teaching of the Church. Our only regret was that our friends, those who remained faithful despite the impoverished teaching and liturgy emanating from Boise, were left behind to contend with the relentless corrupting forces of modernism.

For six months we worked to regain our spiritual strength and stability. In addition to the repairs to our souls, we also worked hard to repair our old farm house. By mid-June, the time was right to invite Fr. Murphy to bless our new home. He responded to our request rapidly and happily. It was a day filled with joy. A Pastor attends to the needs of his sheep.

Just weeks later, our brief respite came to an end. You know the details. They are are listed and described in this blog. Just as in Idaho, faith filled Catholics, dismayed and repulsed by the minimalism and modernism, the social-justicism and the adherence to the teachings of st. saul, are leaving St. Peter’s. They are exiles because they cannot tolerate, will not tolerate that which is intolerable. And my wife is among them. This is not what we were dreaming of one year ago today when the moving truck arrived at our old farm house in Sperryville.

Yesterday, we saw a ray of light shine down on the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise. It was the occasion for which my wife and I and so many of our friends have prayed for years. It was the Installation Mass of the Bishop of the Diocese of Boise the Most Reverend Peter F. Christensen, M.A., D.D. as the Eighth Bishop of Boise. No, the Diocese of Boise won’t recover rapidly from the years of spiritual neglect. But we met and talked to many of the new and younger priests there. They have been waiting for this installation as have we. Some day, there will be many parishes in Idaho that will be like St. Peter’s used to be – that time which was the “status quo ante.”

As in Idaho, prayers will be answered here at St. Peter’s. Keep in mind, although we might be the sheep and lambs of St. Peter’s, we are also members of the Church Militant, ready to fight under the Standard of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our weapons are the Rosary, our devotions, our sacrifices, our fasting, our adoration of the Eucharist, and our adherence to the command to “love one another.”

BTW: The last Pastoral Council meeting was December 2, and still no posting of the minutes of that meeting. Why?

Status Quo Ante, Update #1

On December 8th, my wife and I published an open letter entitled Status Quo Ante to the Very Reverend Stanley J. Krempa, V.F., the Dean of Deanery IV. The letter was also sent directly to Fr. Krempa via email with our names and phone number provided. Two days later, Fr. Krempa graciously responded to our letter. He advised that the particular matters described in the open letter were not within within his purview. He stated that he had forwarded the letter to the appropriate diocesan authority.

My wife and I greatly appreciate Fr. Krempa’s response. We also understand that the link for this blog was included in the email to this diocesan authority.

On a different note, we were greatly moved by the action of the Pastor and the Parochial Vicar at St. John the Baptist. The letter Affirmation of Faith will be signed by many members of that Parish and will be forwarded to Pope Francis as a “Christmas Gift” affirming the truths taught by the Church concerning marriage and family. This blog subscribes to the motto “Assent to counter dissent.” The Letter from St. John’s is that type of assent. We would hope and pray that similar actions could come from St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Washington, VA.

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-12-14

Here is Bulletin_2014-12-14.

Analysis and Commentary:

A Teaching Opportunity Lost: At the 5:00PM Vigil Mass our Pastor provided another visual demonstration of priestly, sacramental minimalism. On the Third Sunday of Advent, he had the option to use violet or rose vestments – he chose violet. That choice is fully in accord with General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) Chapter VI: The Requisites for the Celebration of Mass:

346. As regards the color of sacred vestments, traditional usage should be observed, namely: … f) The color rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent).

Father made no comment about vestments. Instead, he merely noted:

“In Latin this is called Gaudete Sunday because of the reading, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. And that’s why the candle is a different color, a more salmon or pink color and not as purple as the others.”

It might be worthwhile noting that the USCCB, in talking About Advent Wreaths, brings out an important teaching point:

The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas.

Sometimes the practice of minimalism brings about a poverty in teaching. So many rich examples of symbolism that can nourish the young lambs and those new to the Faith can be lost when the minimal option is chosen over the optimal.

If you attended St. Peter’s today, perhaps you read today’s Collect prayer in Reading God’s Word. My mistake, the Collect is not printed in that publication. Well, perhaps you read the Collect prayer in the missalette. My mistake again. We no longer have missalettes. If you didn’t hear the Collect prayer today, here is what it said:

O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Sheep in Exile look forward to the day when, rather than minimalism, there will see solemn worship and glad rejoicing once again at St. Peter’s.

St. Peter’s Second Sunday Social: The bulletin says:

Join our parish family and friends to begin the new year with a great St. Peter’s tradition. St. Peter’s Second Sunday Social is open to all after each Mass this weekend. We will gather in Father Albert Hall for light snacks, sparkling conversation, and perhaps a carol or two. Come let us celebrate together this glorious season of Christmas.

I would have joined my fellow parishioners in the Second Sunday Social after the 5:00PM Vigil Mass. I would have, but my wife was not with me at Mass. She was not with me because she is one of the Sheep in Exile. She and I, however, were together at the 8:30AM Mass at St. John the Baptist. We both were able to rejoice with the parishioners there. After all, it is Gaudete Sunday and the celebrant did wear rose vestments.

I’m sure it was just a mistake. We are still in the the Advent Season even though the announcement invited us to “celebrate together this glorious season of Christmas.”advent-calendar-header-470_3


See Pastoral Council Minutes on Website: Father keeps asking us to see the “meeting minutes from the last meeting  (Oct. 7)” of the Pastoral Council. Why? The last Pastoral Council meeting was December 2nd. What’s taking so long for them to be posted. The people in the Parish really would like to know what changes are going to be made in their names.

My next question would be “Which Pastoral Council member represents the Sheep in Exile?”

Penance Services: My wife and I were not here this time last year. Is it usual to not have a penance service at St. Peter’s during Advent?

Our Lady of Guadalupe

My wife and I say we have three children, but God knows we have four. My wife and I say we have ten grandchildren, but God knows we have thirteen. Sometimes children conceived are never born. Instead, God calls them to Himself earlier than we would want. Last night, we learned that grandchild thirteen was one whom God desired to be with Him early.

936full-virgen-de-guadalupeYes, there is sorrow in our family today. Yet, our God is a loving God and He provides solace and comfort in many ways. Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Fr. Fasano celebrated the great triumph of Our Lady in converting the Americas from paganism. Today is the ninth birthday of one of our granddaughters and we will celebrate it as is it meant to be celebrated – a wonderful child, a human life, physical and spiritual, that God has given us.

Our Lady of Guadalupe painted herself miraculously on St. Juan Diego’s tilma. She was with child – the Child. She brought Jesus, her Son, to the Americas in a way that only a Mother can. Both joy and sorrow were experienced by the Mother of God. And so it is for the mother of our thirteenth grandchild. God has called one of her children early and He has left one child to remind all of us of His Mother. He is truly a merciful and loving God!

Our Lady of Guadalupe – Pray for us.

Status Quo Ante

An open letter to the Very Reverend Stanley J. Krempa, V.F.

Dear Fr. Krempa,

St. Peter Catholic Church in Washington, Virginia is a small parish. My wife and I joined this parish by choice after returning to Virginia from Idaho. When we arrived, St. Peter’s was a happy parish with faith-filled people – there was harmony. Now the harmony is gone and it is no longer happy.

The blog Sheep of Kephas is a journal of our observations and commentary concerning the “tidal wave of change” that is destabilizing the spiritual life of my family and the families of many whom we have met here.

This weekend, we enjoyed a brief respite from our recent problems when a former pastor filled in for Fr. Grinnell. If you explore the blog and read For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-12-07, you will learn what a joy it was to have this moment of relief and participate in the Mass in the way that the Church intends it to be celebrated.

Today, was the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. My wife and I attended Mass at St. John the Baptist in Front Royal. In the pews there we saw other Sheep in Exile from St. Peter’s. After our brief respite, once more we have to go elsewhere to take part in the Mass the way it used to be at St. Peter’s. Once more we have have to go elsewhere seeking the nourishment that a pastor is supposed to provide. Once more we have to wonder why the spiritual stability we had at St. Peter’s has been taken away from us and replaced with some shoddy, minimalistic, replica of the Mass.

You might not like nor agree with everything you see in the Sheep of Kephas. That is your prerogative. Yet, this is the only means my wife and I have at our disposal to make a plea for a return to the “status quo ante.” Other request and pleas by many other parishioners addressed to Fr. Grinnell or others in the Diocese appear to have gone unanswered or ignored.

We are asking for nothing more than that which was taken from us. We only ask for the status quo ante.

Yours in Christ and very respectfully,

(Name provided in separate email)