Tagged: priests

Good Shepherding

Christ the Good ShepherdYesterday my family and I went to a parish in the area that we had not been to yet. We have been living in our new city for 2.5 months now, and wanted to settle into a parish and establish “roots”, or something like them, as soon as possible. We have basically settled on a parish/community that celebrates Mass in the extraordinary form. Yet, because we have never had the opportunity to attend a parish with the Extraordinary form exclusively there are some “adjusts” and “growing pains” we are learning to deal with.

Fortunately, through our community and good networking fortune, we have tapped into a social circle fairly quickly. In doing so, we started asking some of the friends that don’t attend the extraordinary form Mass where they go. Because of the layout of the area, it makes sense that not everyone in the social circle attends the same place. Yet, one parish kept getting named as the Church that, “if I don’t go to…, we go here.” People didn’t relegate it to second place, more so it was an elevation to “I wish it were closer/had been that way when we moved/etc…” So we decided to check out what all the talk was about.

Instantly you could tell what folks were talking about. The Church itself wasn’t anything special, in fact it was… well, boring. But, what that did was lend itself to being a perfect canvass for the Sacred. What I mean is that the first thing my 3yo pointed out to me is that there were “tall candles like at Easter at the one Mass in the small church.” What she meant was that for Easter Mass in the Extraordinary Form, we had just acquired a full set of beautiful candlesticks. Six tall candles on the Altar, and who notices it? My 3yo.

From there things got better, a scola, altar boys in cassocks and surplices – nothing fancy, vestments that clearly spoke to those in attendance that the priest took his role seriously1 It was clear that there was an intentional decision on behalf of the pastor to do all of these things. There was purpose to everything.

The entire Mass things popped into my head, it drew me in to what we were all really there for.. the Holy Sacrifice.

As all of this was coming together in my mind, the homily is what really pushed me over the edge. He spoke of shepherds. He talked about how if men are never told to think about the priesthood, then few will become priests. He also said that if we knew of good men, good boys, that would make excellent husbands and excellent fathers – they then should be told to consider the priesthood. Because if they would not make good husbands or fathers – they should not then be priests. He did not say that if they are called, but that we, the people around them, see these traits in them and discern that.

While some may have arguments against this, I agree 100%. I do believe that priests and fathers/husbands are teachers, leaders and shepherds. We are working hard to shepherd our families to God, and hopefully towards heaven. In the end, I realized that he was right because of what I experienced at Mass. It was an intentional encounter, carefully prepared by a loving leader, hoping to guide and instruct us all towards Christ. It inspired me as a Catholic… but even more so as a father.

 

  1. that is not to say that they were extravagant, but simply befitting the rest of the Liturgy. []

‘My Beloved’

This past Sunday, my family went to a parish that we are sometimes… required to go to.1 We don’t do it often, and in all honesty a later Sunday Mass with young children is tough. But, we actually enjoy the parish and priests so much, that in a way, it is a nice treat, for the not so nice necessity of attending that particular Mass.

This Sunday, the parish’s pastor was the celebrant. Normally, there is another priest, whom we are quite fond of, that is the evening celebrant. Since he was on vacation this week, the pastor filled in. Both of these priests are polish, and the parish is a polish stronghold in a rather interesting part of the city. The priests are very holy and orthodox.

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We have never had the pleasure of having this priest, and as Mass was celebrated he kept referring to the congregation as ‘my beloved.’ At first it was strange, solely because it was so foreign. After a few times, I chalked it up simply to his translation and the fact that english was not his native language. It began to grow on me and I quite liked it.

As Mass was ending and we got to the part where some parishes have a prolonged “Announcements” section, my family was ready to go. The priest began to speak of the parish mergers, realignments, et al that are occurring here in the Archdiocese of Detroit. I was starting to get annoyed, but then I was really drawn to what he was saying. He started talking about the evening Mass, the parishes, the merger, and the people that assist at Mass, especially the late evening Mass. He talked about how those people tirelessly give up their Sunday evenings to make sure the Mass is available to those who need an evening Mass – for whatever reason.

His sincerity and authenticity gushed and rang true in his words. It made me then recall what happened prior to Mass. One of my children needed to use the restroom just prior to Mass (of course!). As we were walking towards them, we saw the priest and he smiled and said something to my child which I recall as something to the effect of… “Well hello my beloved dear, so glad to see you!” I dont know if that is exactly what he said, because I was frustrated that we were heading out of Mass just as it started, and that the priest we liked so much wasn’t there. But I do know he said… “beloved.”

As I left Mass I realized that as a priest stands in the place of Christ so many times in our lives as Catholics, the term beloved, especially when pronounced in a thick polish accent Beh-love-ed, is awesome! It feels as if it is exactly how Christ sees us. It also made me think about how I need to act, towards my beloved.

  1. It is the local parish with the late Mass in the evening. []
priestly collar

Priests in public

A quick post here about something I encountered today. I was somewhere quite “busy” and was in a crowded area with lots of people “of all shapes and colors,” if you will. As I turned around I saw a priest. Yes, a priest in a public place of culture/leisure and he was wearing his “collar.” Continue reading