Pastoral Message – May 15, 2022
I get a lot of advice from our fellow parishioners. A lot of our parishioners love to share their opinions with me. I’m happy to hear both. I’ll answer you as best I can. For example, I have heard that the guitar is too loud at Mass. I have other folks tell me that they can’t hear Fr. T ‘cuz he talks softly. Some of you say when I speak I’m incomprehensible. Well, I can tell you that the guitar being too loud, or the speech being too soft will be fixed sooner than later. We’ve signed a contract with a firm that is designing a new audio-visual system for us! And hopefully, we’ll be ready to install everything by the end of the summer. Unfortunately, a new sound system can’t fix my incomprehensibility or the speed of my speech. (I’ll try to slow down. But the truth is, even after 24 years of preaching, I still get nervous and tend to babble on. Sorry about that!)
I also hear that the Church is too cold, or the Church is too hot. Well, that has to do with two issues. Some of you think that the wooden pews in the Church are actually like memory foam. You think that the pews remember you week after week, so much so that you sit in the exact same spot always – so as not to disappoint your friend, the pew. The other issue is that the air conditioning blowers are uneven and blow frigid air right at your time-honored spot. Or not blow frigid air at your time-honored spot if you’re too warm. We’ve talked to the air-conditioning folks. The blower situation can’t be avoided. So the answer for greater comfort is to change up your routine. You might find that changing your seat by a couple of rows, you won’t have to wear mukluks to Mass.
Another air-conditioning issue we’re working to fix has to do with the confessionals. While every other spot in the Church building gets a little cooling breeze, the confessionals are literally hot boxes. There is no air-conditioning in there. That issue is being addressed over the summer so we’ll start using the confessionals again.
Finally, an issue that continues to arise has to do with pictures of our beloved deceased displayed in shadow boxes in the narthex of the Church. The pre-Covid policy was that every family who had a funeral here had to provide a photo which would be displayed so the community would be aware of those who had died. If such knowledge encouraged prayer, great! If such knowledge simply assuaged curiosity, so be it. The community has a right to know. That was, and for some of you – still is, the thinking.
This previous policy seemed a bit heavy handed to me. Not every grieving family wants publicity. Many funerals we celebrate here are not always for parishioners, or even practicing Catholics. And I’m not sure that the community’s right to know trumps a family’s right to privacy – particularly in a time of loss. So, each and every family that asks us to celebrate a funeral will be asked if they would like a photo of their deceased loved one displayed in the Narthex. If those would like to, the family will provide a photo and we will gladly display the photo for a time before and
after the funeral. But for those who prefer privacy, we won’t display a photo. We will continue to publish the names of the deceased in the bulletin if a family so desires. It’s as simple as that. I know that some folks have created a conspiracy theory because they don’t see a lot of photos up. Believe me, there is no conspiracy theory. As your Pastor, I don’t care one way or the other. I do care about providing privacy for those who desire it.
Finally, if you have an opinion or complaint, I encourage you to not let small things distract you from prayer or the practice of your faith. It’s easy to let negative emotions flow when you don’t prefer something. The trick is to follow the advice of St. Teresa of Avila, who wrote…
Nada te turbe, nada te espante todo se pasa, Dios no se muda,
la paciencia todo lo alcanza, quien a Dios tiene nada le falta sólo Dios basta.
Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes, God does not change,
patience obtains everything, whoever has God lacks nothing, God alone is enough.