Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Return God to the Center

So our Diocese is moving into a new era. We are in the process of closing almost 1/2 of our churches down, most of our schools are shuttered up, our Wilkes-Barre Hispanic population has moved into their new "parish community" at St. Nick's where I hear there is still grumbling, and priests are constantly being moved about like chess pieces. I know of one priest in particular that has been moved three times in one year.

So what's next?

I certainly hope that our Bishop will become a real leader and begin a more pastoral era in our Diocese, one that is not so focused on the physical plant, but one primarily concerned with the salvation of souls, and the return of a God-centered Catholicism.

What do I mean by a God-centered Catholicism?

One where we return to the Catholicism our grandparents knew, where worship of God Almighty supersedes worship of man and man's needs. Remember that being a Catholic is not just believing as the Church has always believed, but it is also about worshiping God in the way the Church has always passed down to us.

Until recently the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in a tabernacle in the center of the Church, usually situated on the main altar or reredos. Today the odds you will find the Lord in the center of the Church is probably around 40/60.

Why is that? Because in 1967 the "Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery" stated that "It is therefore recommended that, as far as possible, the tabernacle be placed in a chapel distinct from the middle or central part of the church, above all in those churches where marriages and funerals take place frequently, and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures". Contrary to popular belief, this was not an invitation to rip out high altars, reredos, communion rails, and to destroy sacred art and other traditional items.

Unfortunately thanks to liturgical committees and priests eager for "change" many of our Churches have been thus "renovated" in an effort to bring liturgical "renewal" into their parishes.

Enough is enough.

Bishop John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne, Indiana released a letter July 19 to bring God back to the center of our Churches. To return the Tabernacle where it belongs, bringing Jesus Christ front and center. You can read about it here.

My wish is that Bishop Martino would incorporate such a change in our Diocese and soon. Over the years we have been taught that the presence of God is no big deal. Well it's only a matter of time until 'no big deal' turns into 'who cares'?

And in many instances, it already has.


Anonymous said...

Plans are underway to start this change at St Peters Cathedral.your wish is being granted

The Rockin' Traddy said...

I pray this is the case! Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Yay for church being God-centered. That's what it's all about after-all.

- L

Anonymous said...

more then grumbling at St Nick's, not happy about the move forced on us at all. what a crock. people starting to leave already.


The Rockin' Traddy said...


I have attended Mass twice recently at St Nick's as you may know if you read this blog regularly. I did think the crowd was a bit thin. Can you expound on the situation any further?

You can email me privately at if you wish.

Thanks for stopping by.

Raphael said...

Excellent post, Traddy. Personally, I'd like to see the tables placed in front of high altars removed as well, but that's really pushing it. There is an opportunity now to restore our sanctuaries, including returning the tabernacle to a place of prominence. I only hope that all of these new parishes, in their zeal for "renewal," don't move in the opposite direction.

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Thanks Raph!

I agree that this is an excellent opportunity we have here. I am eager to see if it will be squandered or utilized fully.

Unfortunately the pessimist in me is leaning towards the former.

Anonymous said...

Dear Traddy,

The Tabernacle at Most Precious Blood Church in Hazleton was returned to front and center on Easter Sunday 2009, which was also the date of our very first Sunday Latin Mass (9:00am). That Easter morning, Fr. Will Comellas had six altar servers, ranging from 8 years old to 17 years old, and he was accompanied by a glorious choir singing prayers of the Mass in Latin.

Previously, the Latin Mass had been relegated to Thursday nights at MPB. Yet even on Thursday, the Mass often had at least four altar servers, not to mention the choir.

Fr. Will also installed a communion rail just in time for Easter.

...And they all lived happily ever after?

The first angry letters to the Bishop started even before that day. A very vocal sector of our large parish were outraged that they were to be inconvenienced by the placement of Latin Mass at 9:00am. The new schedule indicated that 8:00am Mass had to start (gasp!) 15 whole minutes earlier! And the 10:00am Mass had to begin (horrors!!) an entire 1/2 hour later. This was only the beginning of the outrage. How dare Fr. Comellas actually put a rail there for those who wish to kneel and receive our Lord in a way they feel necessary. Did that rail change the way people at the other Masses would receive? Of course not.

Then, of course, there was the movement of the Tabernacle (the nerve!) Sadly, the Tabernacle is something I think most of these "protestors" rarely acknowledged before. Nevertheless,it was the cause of much turmoil and angry letters.

Now that Fr. Will has been moved to St. Al's in WB, unbelievably, some of these same people are actually petitioning to have the Tabernacle moved back to the sidelines again!

I really doubt our new Pastor, Fr. Grippe, would do such a pointless and silly thing.

The Church Militant is in the midst of one tough battle. Keep praying, especially the Rosary!


A (disgusted) Traditional Mom

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Trad Mom,

The Church Militant? What's that? I doubt that any run of the mill Scranton Diocese parishioner is familiar with that term.

And as far as the MPB parishioners involved in petitioning to move that pesky tabernacle, it sounds as if they are more a part of the "church whining".

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Could you please answer a question?
In a homily the other day, a priest who fancies himself "orthodox" made the comment that Vatican II came about because there were "too many silly rules." He then gave the example about how a priest had to hold his hands in prayer while saying the TLM. The gospel that day had Jesus responding to the Pharisees. Do you think this fellow was trying to say the Church prior to Vatican II was Pharisaical? And if so why would an "orthodox" priest say such a thing?

The Rockin' Traddy said...

There are many people within holy mother Church that are frightened of the return to our traditions that Pope Benedict represents. I know of several priests that have made cracks at the the Old Mass's expense during homilies.

I think what he may have been refering to is that today's Missale Romanum does not have nearly as many prescribed postures for the priest as in decades past. There were and rightly so I think, rigidly prescribed postures during the liturgical action in the 1962 and previous editions of the Missale Romanum.

Unfortunately today, there seems to be no regard for what the liturgical texts actually say anyway, so I doubt that if even the newer texts were clearer, priests today would still be doing whatever they want during Mass.

Lets look quickly at one the options the latest Missale Romanum gives the priest.

In years past, there was one Eucharistic Prayer - The Roman Canon, unchanged since the 7th century. But for some reason, for the 1970 edition of the Missale, they felt a need to tinker with the Canon, making minor changes to the text, and more than minor changes to the rubrics. They also came to the conclusion that priests needed more options. So they now have 5 different Eucharistic Prayers with which to bedazzle us Sunday mornings.

You can decide for yourself why the changes were made.

Anonymous said...

why is the participation at mass at st nick's thin? it's because of the move forced on st nicks by martino. bringing the hispanic ministry(which is a joke) it's should be the catholic ministry anyway. why I say that because it's called assimilation. anyway everyone I speak with and some very devout parishoners who have been at st nicks for eons, are pissed that the bishop did this. the mass schedule was changed around so the choosen hispanics can have their own mass.So all the families who enjoyed 11:15 mass, now are going to st thresa, and when that closes I surmise they will either just stop going to mass or spread out to other pastures.They also feel that they never were hand fed anything, meaning the people who built that parish had to struggle for everything they have now, and the hispanics are just coming in and being given the red carpet treatment,like here you go,,have at it, it's your's now,you can have your own mass, your own programs,your own parade of statues and put them in the church,and some of the money collected at mass will go to assist the new hispanic families etc... and the people HATE all of that. And finally they are now starting to find out that the name of st nicks will be changing very shortly, most did not realize this, and they are angry, many feel it will be named our lady of guadalupe or something along those lines. the bishop should not of messed with the german people and the eon parishoners at st nicks, now he will find out.

susan(former parishoner of st nicks)