I’ve posted here before - once asking about the licitly of glass ‘chalices’ - about my ‘new’ parish. I’m disabled (I have had both legs amputated and am in a wheelchair and in overall poor health) and I came out of a nursing home after seven years and begin attending the closest parish church - just over 2 miles from my home. Thanks to a very kind ‘lapsed’ Catholic in my apartment building, I’m able to get a ride to church almost every Sunday and on some Saturdays.
We still have the glass ‘chalices’. Yesterday morning we had four glass and one earthenware ‘chalices’. I’ve already brought the licitly of the ‘cups’ to the pastor’s attention - and for a couple of Sunday’s we did have a chalice of ‘noble’ metal - but those Sundays were the exception. Had I the money, I would buy proper chalices for the church - but I don’t and it doesn’t seem to be a problem with anyone other than me!
So let me tell you a bit about my parish. It’s a very, very poor parish in a very, very poor part of the Deep South. We have a middle school and a high school with an enrollment of about 100 students - most of whom are able to afford school because of gifts from wealthier parishes. Our church is very old - 75 years old this year and a bit worse for the wear. While the Cathedral is only about 4 miles further away than my parish church, there’s a vast, vast difference between the two.
Our parish is largely African American and made up, primarily, of converts. Children who went to our schools, their parents, etc. We are, I suppose, more than a little “Baptist” in our worship. The order of the Mass is not followed to a ‘t’… and this bothered me a bit at first.
…I have found charity in abundance in our church. The ‘kiss of peace’ is a - rightfully - prolonged, until each parishioner has a least a shake of the hand or a hug from others. We hold hands during the Our Father and pray the doxology within the prayer (as is normal in Protestant churches).
Oh, there are so many things that we would not do, I suppose, if the Bishop were present! I’ve not been to a Mass, yet, in my parish with the Bishop presiding! What would he have to say about the order of worship? I don’t know - one day I’ll find out!
But my real intent here is to ask for prayers for both my parish and our pastor. This coming week we will find out if our pastor, who has been at the church and teaching at the school for eighteen years, will continue to be our pastor. He’s no spring chicken, to be sure, and I do not really know exactly his wishes. But I know that the parishioners, students, parents, community members, etc., are all praying that he will continue to pastor our church. He’s a terrific priest. Just during the months that I’ve known him, he has been a wonderful spiritual guide for me. While he’ll know today what his future will hold, we parishioners may not know for another week or so.
So I’m asking for your prayers. That our small parish might flourish and that, if it be God’s will, that our pastor returns to us with directions from his order to continue his ministry with us.