Today we celebrate the day when the Holy Spirit first came to confused and frightened disciples. We share their fear, and ask for a new outpouring to give us courage and the grace to endure.
Painting of Pentecost by Nora Kelly
Thomas O’Loughlin offers a home liturgy for Christian Pentecost in 2020
Seamus Ahearne writes of Pentecost, among other topics that caught his attention. “A new Spring. Speaking all languages – care, love, heart, understanding, acceptance, respect. Get rid of formality and functionality. Drop the apathy, lethargy, torpor. Our Church should be bursting with life, with fire, with heart, with fun, with laughter, with hope, with excitement, with exuberance, with a sense of adventure.”
Two articles that remind us of the huge responsibility there is on all church members to ensure they are not risking life or health when re-opening after lockdowns.
An Irish Times story about a Dublin church being forced to close after ignoring regulations also covers the comment by Archbishop Martin of Dublin about the need to respect the sacrifices made by so many.
“The current public health policy has required sacrifice on the part of all of us. People have accepted that. I think of those who have had to bury a loved one without the normal process of grieving, with funeral rites limited to a bare minimum. We must show respect for those whose sacrifice has been greatest.
Public health policy will only work when its proposals and sequencing are fully respected by all. There is no room for self-dispensation from or self-interpretation of the norms. Jumping the queue by individuals or communities puts everyone at risk”
In another article
Michael J. O’Loughlin of americamagazine.org interviews a man we have become familiar with on our TV news programmes, Dr. Anthony Fauci.
““There have been situations in multiple countries where the source of the cluster was a church service,” he said. “That’s the reason why we gotta be so careful about that.”
As a result, even if churches are open, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions should consider staying home, “because they really are at high risk,” he said. “It would be so tragic for someone who just comes to a place of worship, gets sick themselves, or gets infected and brings it home to an elderly person who might have a compromising comorbidity, and the person gets seriously ill and dies.”
Chris McDonnell reviews Jim Forest’s Writing straight with crooked lines
Thomas O’Loughlin, in a slightly longer version that was published in La Croix, looks at some objections raised to ordaining married men as presbyters.
“It has often been noted that while universities speak of ‘education’ (focusing on developing the individual’s talent), seminaries, along with military academies, speak of ‘formation’: learning to think with the group, act together, and became familiar with the group’s standard procedures and goals.”
Tony Flannery, writing on his own in his own blog and in an article that was published in the Connaught Tribune, questions the wisdom of ‘live-streaming” Masses during this crisis when church buildings are closed.
We celebrate the Ascension of Jesus today. We remember his sending out of the disciples, and his promise to remain with us always, reassuring words for this dark time.
Statement from the Association of Catholic Priests on COVID-19 Pandemic
Paddy Ferry draws our attention to the coverage in novenanews.com of Pope Francis’ remarks that he intended to deliver to Pontifical Mission Societies. Pope Francis addressed ‘pitfalls’ in the church in his message, including, “The elitist temptation in some organisations connected to the Church can be accompanied at times by a sentiment of superiority and of intolerance towards the rest of the baptised, towards the people of God who may attend parishes and visit shrines, but are not ‘activists’ busy in Catholic organisations”
Brendan Hoban comments on the progress so far in the campaign to suppress the corona virus but cautions that the battle is still only half fought.
“The phased re-introduction of normality has encouraged different vested interests to argue their claims to be shunted up the list of important services. Clearly concerted media campaigns by groups with commercial agendas are in train. “
Brendan mentions those in the media who comment on everything and anything and do so as if they bear no personal responsibility for their commentary apart from satisfying their readers.
“Leaders, in church and society, haven’t that luxury.”
Seamus Ahearne reminds us that grace filled moments can come about in chance encounters, even in the sad and bitter memories from the past. “He still can’t grasp how those in the Institutions and those out on the farms, who were full of God and faith, never displayed anything of the God of love. That haunts him. He doesn’t feel bitter about anything else. It is the model of God presented, that hurts most deeply. Mass, Benediction and prayers were very important but there wasn’t any sign of the God of love.” ….. ” A new Church is needed. New worship is needed. New vision is needed. No one else is going to do it. We have to get on with it.”
UPDATE 19 May 2020, 21:45
Fr. Pat Rogers remains very seriously ill in hospital.
His family asks, and is very grateful, for your continued prayers.
Thomas O Loughlin challenges us to think more deeply about our attitudes towards liturgy as some shortcomings in understanding are being highlighted by the COVID-19 lock downs.
The article first appeared in La-croix International
Prof. Thomas O’Loughlin suggests a home liturgy for celebrating Ascension Day.
Perhaps consideration could be given this year to celebrating Ascension on Thursday, 21 May – the day that is forty days after Easter Sunday?
Each Sunday in Easter time, we celebrate the gifts we receive in Baptism and Confirmation. We rejoice that the Spirit is our Advocate, who continues to support us in the difficulties of life, and particularly in this pandemic.
Seamus Ahearne has expanded his exercise zone as per guidelines and gets to observe to behaviour of birds on his walks. But he also considers what the pandemic may mean for us.
“It asks us big questions: What am I about? What is important? Who matters to me? Do I matter to anyone? … For us as ministers, it is quite dangerous and can undermine our very existence. Do we need ‘them’ (them=our faith community) more than ‘they’ need us? We feel very ‘useful’ normally. We are very busy. Now many of us can do very little. We don’t like it.”
UPDATED with sample of guidelines from Diocese of Santa Fe, USA
Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, has contacted parishes suggesting “a list of the questions that each parish should be asking at this stage as it prepares its own plan and reflects on the personnel needs required to put that plan into action.”
1. Interview with Mattie Long by Monica Morley of Faith Alive on Mid West Radio about some of the issues that need to be considered before the re-opening of churches on 20 July.
2. Pádraig McCarthy draws our attention to a statement issued on Friday 01 May by the leaders of Churches in Ireland on church reopening.
Select a category in the sidebar for more posts
Select a category in the sidebar for more posts