Here is Bulletin_2016-12-25
Huh?!!: My wife will be the first to confirm that I am a bear of little brain. I am easily confused by situations that are unreasonably unreasonable or simply lacking in reason in any form. If you recall, in For the Sheep in Exile – 2016-12-18, we spent some time explaining how the parish was getting the short end of the deal because there was going to be one less Mass for Christmas than in 2014 and on all normal Sundays. We said it was a case of “less than <“.
Well, this week we run into the case of “not equal to ≠“. For Sunday, December 25, Christmas, Father can declare that St. Peter’s will have a Sardine Christmas. Just one weekend later, the world has turned upside down. All the rationale for a “less than <” Sardine Christmas has suddenly vanished. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, St. Peter’s will follow a regular Sunday Schedule.
(By the way, although Father might not remember, the USCCB and the Sheep in Exile certainly can recall that January 1st is “The Octave Day of Christmas, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” and not just the secular holiday “New Year’s”.)
So, by our reckoning, the logical (illogical) conclusion is that Christmas, with its Sardine Mass schedule, is “not equal to ≠” to New Year’s. I call upon Aristotle, Euclid, and St. Thomas Aquinas to make sense of our Pastor’s logic.
Fake News and Fact Checking: Since the term “fake news” is now in vogue, it might be worth a moment to reflect on the fake news we receive in our weekly bulletin. My wife and I attended Mass at St. John the Evangelist this morning. And, instead of hearing the Mass of “Our Lady of Guadlupe (sic)” as declared in our bulletin. The Mass we attended was the Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr. Likewise, we suspect that most parishes in the country will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs on Wednesday, rather than St. John of the Cross.
As We Suspected: The people in the pews, the parishioners, the sheep in need of a pastor are answering to the call to provide for their brothers in spiritual need. They have reached into their own pockets to provide spiritual sustenance. They are performing the spiritual works of mercy for their fellow parishioners. We extend to them our thanks and prayers. Thank you!
Dedication: This week, we dedicate the following song to our friends on the Parish Finance Council and the Parish Pastoral Council. Take these words to heart. (Click here.)
Don’t you give me no dirty looks
Your father’s hip; he knows what cooks
Just tell your hoodlum friend outside
You ain’t got time to take a ride
Yakety yak (Don’t talk back)
“For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David.
And this shall be a sign unto you.
You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:
Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.”
To all of the Sheep in Exile, parishioners, and Pastor of St. Peter Catholic Church, have a very merry and a very holy Christmas!!
To my Brother Knights, in the words of our Grand Knight:
May the birth of Christ fill you and your families with peace, comfort, and joy this holiday season and throughout the new year.
P.S. We’re not sure, but we suspect that the book “Thirsting for God, daily meditations – Mother Teresa” now in the vestibule was a gift from an anonymous donor(s). If that is the case, my wife and I extend to you many thanks and the prayer that you have a most blessed Christmas.
Here is Bulletin_2016-12-18
Sardines for Christmas at St. Peters
This is the Fourth Week of Advent. It is a time of anticipation, reflection, and prayer. We at the Sheep of Kephas blog remember all at St. Peter’s and all of the Sheep in Exile in our prayers. May this final week of Advent lead to a most joyous Christmas Day!
Many of you have not yet seen the Christmas Mass schedule. Just like last year there will only be two Masses. But, even though Christmas falls on a Sunday we will have one Mass less than < usual.
Everyone knows that fewer people attend Mass on Christmas, right? Wrong! We all know that people who seldom make it to Mass at any other time show up on Christmas. Reason and experience dictate that a parish should be prepared for larger numbers in the pews. One way to do that is to have more Masses, not less. Apparently, reason and experience had no influence in forming the Mass schedule for St. Peter’s this year. Our only advice to parishioners is be prepared for two “sardine Masses” this year.
Although the following will be somewhat tedious, boring, and uninteresting, we are including an historical perspective so that you can understand where our parish stands now with our current pastor as compared to the way it was before he arrived. The following are facts, not conjecture or opinion.
In 2013, St. Peter’s had three Christmas Masses.
In 2014, our current pastor continued that tradition and said so in the Pastor’s Piece. (See Bulletin_2014-12-21)
In 2015, our pastor decided that the only two Masses were needed for Christmas. (See Bulletin_2015-12-20)
In 2016, this year, our pastor elected to have only two Masses for Christmas, even though Christmas falls on Sunday when there are normally three Masses. (See Bulletin_2016-12-18)
We have capsulized the above in a single table that leads to a very simple conclusion: 2 < 3. That means with our current pastor we are getting less than we did before.
Now consider what occurred on Thanksgiving when there was no Mass at all. (See: Bulletin_2016-11-20 & Soul Check: WooHoo! The parking lot is a sin!.) We learned then another indisputable mathematical fact from our pastor; when there is no Mass at all, then: 0 < 1. This is what we are getting at St. Peter’s:
Less than <,
less than before <,
less than at other parishes <,
less than < what the parishioners of St. Peter’s deserve as faithful Catholics.
Are there any other reasons for us to think that we at St. Peter’s get less than <? Oh, yes! This week’s bulletin reflects a lack of coordination in scheduling. Apparently, there were supposed to be two Christmas Carol Sing Alongs – one at 4:40 PM on Christmas Eve and another on Christmas Day 10:40 AM for the 11:00 AM Mass. Unfortunately, the Christmas Day Sing Along had to be nixed because of the elimination of one of the Sunday/Christmas Day Masses.
This is yet another example of where we at St. Peter’s get less than <. So, Dear Santa, if you decide to stop at St. Peter’s for Mass and a festive sing along on Christmas Day, make sure you come at 10:00 AM and be prepared to enjoy sardines.
By the way, Santa, there are three words for this Sardine Christmas at St. Peters: Stink, Stank, Stunk!
Here is Bulletin_2016-12-11
St. Peter’s in the Minority Again: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is pretty clear in proclaiming what the Third Sunday in Advent is:
- It’s Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday! Light the third (rose-colored) candle on your Advent wreath. On Gaudete Sunday, the season of Advent shifts its focus. For the first two weeks of Advent, the focus can be summed up in the phrase, “The Lord is coming.” But beginning with Gaudete Sunday, the summary might be, “The Lord is near.” This shift is marked by a lighter mood and a heightened sense of joyous anticipation. Liturgically, the colors lighten as well. The priest usually wears rose-colored vestments, a hue seen only on Gaudete Sunday and Laetare Sunday. In times when the focus of our anticipation is often on the negative and fearful, this celebration is a reminder that God who loves us is still in charge and that we await his coming not with fear, but with tremendous joy
Our neighboring parishes fully understand that “The Lord is near” and they shift their focus so that the people in the pews, the Faithful, can rejoice with the Church throughout the world. St. John the Baptist even shifts the theme color on it bulletins to emphasize the point. And while the USCCB affirms that “The priest usually wears rose-colored vestments…“, our Pastor continues to provide us, his flock, the unusual, the minimalist view – there is nothing whatsoever important or notable about the Third Sunday in Advent.
In Fr. Z’s Blog today there is a poll posing a very simple question Did you see Rose vestments on “Gaudete” Sunday 2016?
It was still early in the day when we first viewed the poll, but already the results were telling the story. The majority of respondents declared that Rose was the color of the day (Rose/Pink 73%). Then there were those in the minority (Purple/Violet 22%, Blue 3%, other 3%). So, there it is, even if only informally, St. Peter’s is clearly in the minority – again.
Of course, this is not the first time we have discussed this point. See “A Teaching Opportunity Lost” in our post For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-12-14.)
Here is thought for the Parish Pastoral Council and all the parishioners of St. Peter’s to bring to our Pastor. “Father, Lent is coming. Please allow the people in the pews, our fellow parishioners, your flock, the opportunity to share with the Church throughout the world the full richness of the Roman Catholic liturgy by wearing rose vestments on Laetare Sunday and preaching a homily that befits that particular Sunday in Lent. After all, as Fr Z would say”
The Diocese of Arlington has a new Bishop. We welcome and pray for Bishop Burbidge!
Question Me a Question – Clarification:
Somewhere out there there was a very kind person who provided answers to some of the questions we posed yesterday about this entry in Bulletin 2016-12-04. We thank you for helping us to provide clear and correct reporting. Here is what we have learned:
The St. Peters Assistance Fund and the St. Peters Outreach Collection are one and the same. The collection going to the Rappahannock Welfare Dept. (Social Services) for the children was donated by the ecumenical gathering on Thanksgiving day.
Here is Bulletin_2016-12-04
1. Our New Bishop: We at the Sheep of Kephas blog pray for Bishop Burbidge on his installation as Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington. May God’s protecting Angels be ever at his side. Please see this link for details.
Watch the Installation Mass LIVE!
A live stream of the Installation Mass for Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will be offered here (on the homepage) tomorrow, December 6th at 2 p.m. You can also listen to the Mass LIVE on the radio at WMET 1160 AM or watch the Mass in its entirety on EWTN at 3 p.m. E.T.
2. American Life League (ALL) Needs Your Help: We wouldn’t ask this if it weren’t for a good reason. ALL has been out there fighting the good fight for Life and for the Church. They are indeed out there courageously doing what the Church Militant must do. It is not easy and it certainly is not monetarily rewarding. This year they need your donations more than ever. Please consider giving what you can and what your conscience dictates.
3. Question Me a Question: After reading this week’s bulletin, we are asking ourselves some questions. Is there anyone out there who might have some answers? We know what the “General Collection” is. We know that St. Peter’s has recently started “Online Donations”. However, we don’t remember seeing an envelope for the “Rappahannock Welfare Dept”. Was this brought up in past Pastoral Council Meetings? Even though there have been no minutes reported from any Pastoral Council meetings for the last year, we can assure you that the Rappahannock Welfare Dept. was not mentioned there. Perhaps it was mentioned at the Finance Council meetings. But, there are no published minutes for any of those meetings (that we know of). And with the number of people being fired from that Council, who would know anything about what goes on there?
We know there is a St. Peter’s Local Outreach Collection, but what is the St. Peter’s Assistance Fund? Can anybody help us out with that question? And can anybody tell us where the money from the Outreach Collection is going? We just thought we would “reach out” and ask. Anyway, we’re sure that the answers are “somewhere out there“.
And even though I know how very far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishin’ on the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky
By the way, somewhere out there God is thinking of each one of us. This is Advent, and somewhere out there our Savior is preparing to come for our salvation. Come, Lord Jesus!