Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A message for people like me who spend way too much time criticizing the way some priests celebrate Mass

Father Z, in Rome, who blogs at W.D.T.P.R.S., had a post the other day on a letter that apparently is to be sent from the Pope to Cardinal Zen in China. He posted this morning one of the comments he received that hit me, for one, right between the eyes:

“…a man of gentle steel…”

In my entry on Card. Zen’s speaking about the upcoming papal letter to the Chinese there is a comment which deserves special notice (my emphasis):

Cardinal Zen was our parish priest some of the time we lived in Hong Kong. I can tell you all that he is a man of gentle steel, faithfully true to the Church and a liturgical delight. Not only that but he was a real father to his parish.

As for the struggle to be free in China, the following story may interest some:

Twelve years ago, when my daughter was baptised in Hong Kong, the priest who baptised her, Fr Bernard Tohill, SDB, had returned that morning from a short trip into the mainland. He had been asked to go and offer Mass in a small village about 300 miles into China for a community that had been without the Mass since 1949. He had relearned how to say the old Mass and was expecting be be saying Mass for about a dozen people.

When he arrived in the village, there were over 1,000 people waiting to hear Mass and after the first Mass he heard confessions for 6 hours straight. The following day he heard confessions for another 6 or 7 hours before celebrating Mass at which over 700 made their Communion.

The faith in this area had been kept alive by families and small groups meeting to pray the Rosary and to learn the Catechism, for over 45 years.

Whenever I hear stories about China, I am reminded of Fr Bernard’s story and I offer the day’s sufferings, frustrations and joys to our Lord through the intercession of His blessed Motherfor the Church and people in China. Our Lady of Consolation, pray for China.

Comment by Stephen Morgan — 11 April 2007 @ 1:42 pm
Can you imagine the joy of these people at being able to have Mass?

And there are many who whine "Father doesn’t wiggle his little finger at the same point in my St. Joseph’s Daily Missal like old Fr. Ralph did back at St. Ipsydipsy when I was a kid… Father is too fast… Father is too slow… I don’t like the way…. "

Two things:

First, when the Motu Proprio comes, even though it might not have everything some would hope for, get down on your knees and thank God for Holy Mass

Second, when you go to your parish, no matter how wreckovated, no matter how disappointing the music or lax the priest, thanks God for Holy Mass. W.D.T.P.R.S.

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