When we travel I always check the local parish’s website to make sure it’s not nuts. If they have an “All Are Welcome” sign on the site, a certain sign of homosexual enablement, we won’t go there. We look for an active pro-life group, Legion of Mary, adoration, more than one hour on Saturday for Confession…well…you get the idea. This morning we headed for the local parish which looked good. The photo on the website showed a beautiful sanctuary with the tabernacle in the center and the parish had a school and nothing outrageous on the website.
I’m not going to name the parish or the priest because. The priest seemed like a decent guy: friendly, likes kids, has a parish school. Anyway, I’ll let him be anonymous and the parishioners looked like kind friendly people. I’ll let them be anonymous too.
When we got to the church it was about 20 minutes before Mass. All was quiet, a good sign, no before Mass chatter. When a woman came in wearing a veil and her husband went to join the choir I thought that was a good sign. I wasn’t the only one veiled. The church filled up and by the time Mass started there were still some places in the pews but a number of folks stood in the back. Great to see so many people in attendance in view of the Wuhan devastation of the Mass.
The choir began a raucous version of Amazing Grace complete with piano, guitar, and violin and loud-loud singing. As they finished, Father came out of the sacristy and said something I couldn’t hear. There was no entrance procession with a cross bearer and servers despite the parish having a school. The loud processional epitomized the music accompaniment throughout. The hymns were typical Glory and Praise banal songs with several by gay ex-Jesuit priest Dan Schutte, music more fit for a hootenanny than for the liturgy.
Father ad lobbed a bit, especially with the Kyrie which got a preamble to each Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy. His homily was a bit hard to follow because he came down out of the sanctuary to the front of the Church and trotted back and forth across the front. I felt like I was watching a tennis match. The homily itself was typical I”m okay-you’re okay pabluum. None of us is allowed to judge; we all have to be nice and just give a good example. Never say anything hard because it just turns people off. He sounded like he was fresh off a retreat with Pope Francis. He also joked and got some laughs, the kind of priest I describe as a showman and a stand-up-comic wannabe. Please, Father, just Church teaching!
At the Consecration, Father made a profound bow before the Sacred Species, but did not genuflect. Perhaps he has a knee problem, but he looked fit as a fiddle, and at least 15 or 20 years younger than we are.
We always sit in the back of the church because we want to receive Communion from the anointed hands of the priest. In this case, everyone going up was receiving on the hand. We decided, out of consideration for those who might be alarmed by those receiving on the tongue, to go to the back of the church and wait until the end. When we approached in Father’s line I could see that there was only one host left in the ciborium. He nodded his head to the lay woman next to him and said, “Get IT from her,” or “She’ll give It to you.” I presumed he was going to give the last host to my husband who was behind me. He did not, but said the same thing to Him. I wanted to cry. Father, do you believe in the Real Presence? And why did you refuse to give either of us Communion? Did you judge us as rigid, pharisaical Catholics because we received on the tongue and I genuflected before receiving? I felt judged and rejected by his act, but mostly just sad. Jesus is a Person, not an “It.”
At the end of Mass most people clapped loudly for the choir and the church turned into a pandemonium with almost everyone congregating in the aisles and laughing and talking. I wanted to shout, “Don’t you know Jesus is here? Don’t you believe in the Real Presence? Don’t any of you want to thank Him for giving Himself to you in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Of course not because it wasn’t a “holy sacrifice” it was a celebration of fellowship just like a Protestant service. Later as I was waiting in the vestibule I saw Father come out of the sacristy and into the sanctuary and begin laughing and talking with about a dozen people in front of the altar. No after Mass thanksgiving for him either. We both left saying, “How good it will be to get back to the chapel where Jesus is the ALL and the I Am of our worship.”
I’m currently reading the Soul of the Apostolate and I recalled what Dom Chautard said about the holy priesthood and it’s importance to the salvation of souls.Pray for priests! Pray that they will recognize the essential nature of their vocation. Pray that they will imitate Christ instead of the “greatest showman.” We need our priests. Love them enough to fast and pray for them. I haven’t decided yet whether to write a letter to this priest, but I will definitely have a Mass said for him.