Friday, December 6, 2013

Holidays? Holy Days?

I often have the question in my mind about why, when we have set aside days of a religious nature, gathering as a people to honor God seems to be low on the priority list.

Here are a few of the things that come to mind.

  1. Gathering before Thanksgiving Day for religious services and then not gathering to pray together on Thanksgiving Day as a group of the faithful.
  2. Not having Christian Services on Christmas Day itself.  Many groups will only do a service on Christmas Eve.
  3. Canceling Sunday Services if Christmas is on a Sunday. It may be Sunday and Christmas, but we will not celebrate as a Christian community.
  4. Having a single Protestant sunrise service on Easter Sunday (even though there are 5+ congregations or ministers in a community) at a neutral location and not celebrating Easter as individual congregations. Many times only one of the local clergy members presides at the service while the others are out of town.
One of the reasons I hear for these attitudes is that the ministers want to spend the holiday with their own family. Sometimes the extended families or in-laws are not local so they need time to travel. In other communities, a lot of the other members of the congregation have the same issues. They don't have time to go to church because they have to get to the family celebration. These holiday (holy days) seem to have shifted from focus on God to focus on us.

As a priest who is usually assigned to multiple communities, I know that I can not bi-locate. I've had people who have gone to Mass elsewhere because I've not had Mass in their community on Christmas Eve, but rather on Christmas Day. But, as we look at the significance of days set aside to honor God, I want to suggest that we encourage our parishes and congregations to set aside these days to honor God on the day designated so that God is once again our real priority. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fighting for the faith

After a heads-up from LifesiteNews I just finished watching this video (graphic, viewer discretion is advised) about an attack late last month on the Cathedral of San Juan in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A group of men, mostly young, stood several deep, arm-in-arm, to keep a group of radical women from desecrating the cathedral. The women, several having bared their breasts, were promoting abortion and lesbianism. The women drew on the Hitler style mustaches on the faces of the men. They sprayed paint on their faces and crotch areas. They performed lewd acts in front of the men who continued to pray in front of the cathedral. The women later burned an effigy of Pope Frances.

Now that I've described what took place, I have a question that causes me concern. If we were to get word that a similar event were about to take place at a cathedral in the United States, could we find enough men ready to humble themselves to stand strong against such an attack? I know there would be some who would protect the Church, but whereas we do not make up a huge majority of the population, would the minority have the courage to stay strong? Would other Christians stand by us, be indifferent, or stand on the side of the protestors? Some Christian groups are opposed to some of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  If you were called to stand in the face of such violence, would you be there?