The Sheep of Kephas

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Soul Check – Father, It’s All about the Sheep!

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Last night, my beautiful and loving wife revealed the recent Radical Pastor Sighting. Uncharacteristically, she did it in the form of a Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors serial. She saw how our Pastor “… has emerged from his Winter hibernation early and he’s hungry for some social justicism action.” Without making too much of it, she also noted that the story reporting our Pastor’s comments was carried by none other than that paramount repository of “Catholic” wisdom “Fishwrap” (The National Catholic Reporter). Now, I would like to make two points concerning her post.

1. It’s All about the Sheep: How many “undocumented immigrants” are there in Rappahannock County? I don’t really know. I know there are some, but they’re living in the shadows. I see them on work crews and in other places around the county. And when I’m close enough, I hear them speaking Spanish. They are here and they are a real part of our community.

The fact that they are speaking Spanish leads me to suspect that some relatively large percentage of them are Roman Catholic. So, they are real, they are here, and some may be Catholic. My question is, why haven’t I seen them at Mass in any significant numbers. Do they make the long trek to another parish like the Sheep in Exile have to do on a regular basis? I just don’t know. I hope that is the case, but I suspect it is not. I hope they are in the state of grace and receiving the Sacraments. I pray that they are in the state of grace and receiving the Sacraments.

Consider the following:

Horace “Tuck” Grinnell, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Washington, Va., said immigrants in his rural area, a part of the Diocese of Arlington, are also being told their legal rights.

Perhaps the most important of these is the right to remain silent, he said.

With that in mind, my next question cuts directly to the point. “Father, have you told them about St. Peter Roman Catholic Church and about their most important right – the right to receive the Sacraments and the fullness of God’s loving grace?” After all, there are no “undocumented immigrants” in Heaven. You have to be in the state of grace to gain entry.

I look forward to meeting these “immigrants” in a place where they don’t have to exercise a right to remain silent. I hope to meet them in St. Peter’s at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There, we can all open our mouths and hearts and praise God as a faith filled Catholic community.

2. How Very Odd: A keenly observant reader noted the following concerning the Fishwrap article:

How perceptive of the author to identify our pastor as only that, and not as “Father Grinnell” or “Roman Catholic priest”.

We hadn’t noticed it, but it’s true. Peter Feuerherd identified all the other clergy and religious in his article by their proper titles. Our Pastor was merely identified as “Horace “Tuck” Grinnell, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Washington, Va.”. Considering that Mr. Feuerherd took the time to identify all the others in his article properly, why would he omit an acknowledgment of Ordination by using a title such as Father, Fr., at least Catholic priest? I know we at the Sheep of Kephas blog have posed the question is St. Peter’s still Catholic. But, I assure you, we have never questioned the fact that our Pastor is a duly ordained Catholic priest.

Bottom Line: “Father, it’s all about the sheep! It’s all about saving their immortal souls!” We hope and pray that someday our Pastor will be quoted in the National Catholic Register, the Wanderer, and the Arlington Catholic Herald as saying:

I prayed with them. I led them to the Sacraments. I worked with their children so that they would not be terrified, but rather that they would be spiritually fortified with God’s loving grace.

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