Here is Bulletin_2015-12-27
From my wife and me, may you all have a very holy and joyful Christmas!
Christmas wishes are also extend by my dear friend Fre3d Capra, my dead horse Petition, and my 15 lb. Maine Coon.
Here is Bulletin_2015-12-20
It’s Advent and there are any number of good things to occupy our attention. So, there’s no need to take up your time this week with inconsequential meanderings. We note, however, the following item on page 2 of the bulletin:
DONATION ENVELOPES FOR 2016PLEASE PICK UP YOUR DONATION ENVELOPES IN THE VESTIBULE FOR THE UPCOMING 2016 YEAR. THANK YOU.
Here is Bulletin_2015-12-13
1. Spiritual Direction: This blog would not be possible without the good counsel of my Spiritual Director. He takes the time to point out my failings and my strengths – he is honest where others would not be. I need that. This week, among other things, we discussed “The Year of Mercy” declared by Pope Francis. Because I was remiss in my preparation for this special year, my Spiritual Director gave me an assignment. Before our next meeting I must read Misericordiae Vultus – Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. So, that is what I am doing. If you have the time, join with me in studying the Papal Bull as the Pope exhorts us to “rediscover” what the Church teaches about mercy. Section 15 of the Bull reminds us that there is balance in mercy – it is not just corporal, it is also spiritual:
“It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.”
2. Advent Program – December 6th: Providing time permits we will publish a separate post concerning the “Advent Program” which took place after the 8:30AM Mass on Sunday, December 6th. (See Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #8 – Bishop With a ‘Fresh View’ for more details.) I attended and took very good notes. At least one other person attended whom you would be know. The basic topics of discussion were selected quotes from the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis. Nothing unusual or outrageous occurred. We did learn that there will be more discussions like this sponsored by the Parish, but they will likely take place at the Rappahannock County Library with all from the county invited, especially conservation groups.
Why is that? Because the primary source for the discussion will be the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care for our Common Home.
So, if you liked the Vatican light show and the abuses that took place in Rome, you will surely find yourself quite at home with where these discussions will lead. This reminds us of a story in the Rappahannock News – ‘Climate Justice’ sermon. According to the report, on October 25, Unitarian Universalists of the Blue Ridge (UUBridge) Rev. Russ Savage was to present a sermon on “Climate Justice” at Hearthstone School, based on Pope Francis’s argument that the effects of climate change fall most heavily upon the poor.
3. Conflicted: Have you noticed our first article and our second article are somewhat at odds. Both refer to teaching from Pope Francis. In the Papal Bull, we were able to find balance and a reminder that mercy really does have a spiritual component. On the other hand, in Laudato Si’ we see how liberal elements have latched on to Pope Francis’ statements and are using them to preach a doctrine that is in no way Catholic. Yes, we are conflicted. My Spiritual Director and I discussed this problem. We remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the Church he established and we pray fervently that the Pope will guide the Church just as Jesus exhorted Peter to guide His flock.
4. Exile Swap Shop: The chances that we would ever resort to quoting from the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) are usually just about nil. Yet, while commuting on Metrorail yesterday I came across a story that might just give us a way to solve all of our problems here at St. Peter’s. The story is North Carolina parishioners clash with pastor, petition for his removal.
It is our story, but in reverse. In the eyes of some parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church in Waynesville, North Carolina, they have been inflicted with the grave injustice of an orthodox pastor. In the view of the new pastor’s critics he is described as having “restorationist” approaches to liturgy and church governance. Here are some selected quotes from the article:
In interviews with NCR, parishioners say their pastor has been aloof and removed from the concerns of grieving families at funerals. Attendees at one local civic leader’s funeral, which included a large number of non-Catholics, were told in the pastor’s homily about church teaching on purgatory and little or nothing about the life of the deceased. They also said their pastor is slow to respond to requests for the sacrament of the sick for the dying. Their complaints fill hundreds of pages of documents they have submitted to NCR and to Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States. ……
Some parishioners now attend Sunday Mass at the office of a local dentist, after being asked by Jugis to cease Sunday worship at the nearby Living Waters Retreat House. ……
Carol Viau, a local Catholic, considers herself to be part of “St. John’s in exile.” The retreat center Sunday Mass had attracted as many as 100 former St. John’s parishioners. Petitioners have so far received no formal response from the bishop, other than his suggestion that the group meet with [Fr.] Riehl. A first meeting, held Dec. 1, was described by Viau as providing some progress in addressing concerns about the pastor’s response to requests for the sacraments. ….
Viau said that St. John’s was “a happy and vibrant parish” but is now deeply divided.
Parishioner Mark Zaffrann acknowledged that church attendance is down, but attributed that to what he said was discord sowed by the dissident group. The leadership of that group had “unbridled control of the various ministries” in the parish and resented Riehl’s new approach. He said the old finance council in the parish presented Riehl with an overly-optimistic view of the church’s finances, which was disputed by a diocesan-sponsored audit requested by the new pastor. As for the rectory repairs, Zaffrann, a local realtor, said the structure was uninhabitable and desperately needed renovations.
Liturgically, the parish has improved, Zaffrann told NCR. “My impression is that the Mass is better,” he said. “It’s very humble, reverent and solemn. It brings respect to the Eucharist.”
There is a great irony here. The Sheep in Exile of St. Peter’s pray for their Pastor. They would want him to change, but they would not wish him harm or pain. Although they might seek some redress by means proportional and appropriate they would not bring the matter to the attention of the Papal Nuncio.
My wife and I make this offer. Should the diocese in North Carolina and Bishop Loverde both be willing, we will pay for the travel costs to swap Father Riehl and our own Pastor. Then “St. John’s in exile“ in Waynesville, NC and the Sheep in Exile at St. Peter’s could all return home. What a Christmas present that would be! – Then with Bing Crosby we could sing “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Unfortunately, it will probably only be in our dreams.
Here is Bulletin_2015-12-06
I’ve been in Idaho all week and just arrived back in Dulles a few hours ago. It was a good week driving around in 6 inches of snow and enjoying temperatures down to -2º F. The best part was the commute time that was down from my normal nearly two hours each way to 10 minutes each way.
The high point of the week was the arrival of grandchild number 11, granddaughter number 5. The folks back in Idaho had to put up with several days of a bragging grandfather. But, they all had to admit that the pictures revealed the most beautiful little girl you can imagine. God is so very good!
Needless to say, I have lost some continuity on what is happening at St. Peter’s. So, forgive me this evening for my brevity and the lack of depth in my commentary.
Analysis and Commentary
1. The Little Blue Book is Back: The Little Blue Book – Advent and Christmas Seasons is back. Apparently, it emerged at the Masses last weekend. This is where our Pastor demonstrates that he is consistent and repetitive. That allows us the opportunity to isolate and identify his pattern, expose his actions, and consider his intent. I refer you to For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-11-30 and Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #4. We suppose that our Pastor is an Bishop Untenerian. In his day, the dissenting Bishop Untener was probably considered to be a Bishop with a “fresh view“. In many ways, Father and his friend Fred Pugarelli would want a someone like Bishop Untener to become the Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington when Bishop Loverde retires. —– The Little Blue Book helps to pave the way gaining acceptance of such a Bishop by the unsuspecting sheep of St. Peter’s.
2. From a Hotel Room in Idaho: I don’t keep a journal or a diary. Sometimes, however, I keep notes of my research. Following are some edited excerpts from notes I made during the quiet evening in my hotel room last week:
1. I’m sitting in a hotel room in Idaho Falls. … our Pastor is a friend and associate of the Fred Pugarelli, who is quoted in the article Local Catholics Ask For New Arlington Bishop With a ‘Fresh View’. Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #8 – Bishop With a ‘Fresh View’2. … on the face of it, the Website http://novabishop.org/ appears to be of only low-level concern. After all, there are only a few hundred signers at present. Nevertheless, there may be more to it than what we see on the surface. Consider what was said about this by Voice of the Faithful. This has the potential to go national.
News from NationalBishop Selection Options: New Template Available from Virginia
Voice of the Faithful hosts a national web portal (link is external) for the faithful to submit ideas about the qualities their next bishop should possess. It’s a basic survey tool, designed to send responses directly to the papal nuncio from any diocese in the U.S.But some Catholics hope to increase their impact by focusing only on their home dioceses. The faithful in the Arlington VA diocese did just that, creating a web site that allows local parishioners to support some “requested considerations in selecting the new bishop” as well as enter their own comments. Even better, they are happy to share that template with others.
3. The Association of US Catholic Priests also are interested in the Arlington group’s effort:
Selection of a BishopArlington Catholics seek lay participation in selecting their next bishop, believing that the next Bishop of Arlington should be a person who embodies the criteria laid out by Pope Francis. The criteria include being a “pastor close to the people” and not having “the psychology of ‘Princes.’”Go to the LINKS tab or click here.