Saturday, November 22, 2014
Minority? What minority? With an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics officially throughout the world, it may seem absurd that in any way, shape, or form I could suggest that we represent a minority in our society. However, the more I am engaged in conversation and relationship with the parishioners of St. Mary— individuals and families— I have a growing sense that for a Catholic who is striving to embrace and engage the breadth of what is involved in living the Gospel and the Tradition of the Church, one almost has to grow accustomed to receiving reactions from people (including, at times, their own relatives) that suggest something akin to being perceived as citizens of another planet.
Just this past week or so, a parishioner related how she witnessed another minister in the area “bashing Catholics” from the pulpit. On the one hand, it brings to mind the experience of the earliest disciples: “So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name” (Acts 5:41). Not that we go looking to bring on abuse and derision— yet it could be a sign that one is on the right track.
From another perspective, this is more or less ideal “soil” for the work of evangelization. We need to be willing to take some punches on behalf of the truth, even while we defend it without counterattacking. Our present adult faith study series, A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother is providing some outstanding catechesis for Catholics to have available for conversation with others who greatly misunderstand our relationship with Mary.
Mary’s position as “Queen” is thoroughly bible-based, since numerous references are made in the Old Testament to the mother of the King (for example, Bathsheba, mother of King David) bearing the title of Queen and holding a privileged position, not only of honor but of counsel and advocacy on behalf of the king’s subjects. As we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King, the completion of the current church year, it is a blessing to know that we can draw closer to His Sacred Heart by nurturing friendship with His mother.
Speaking of evangelization, it comes in many forms. Back when now-Fr. Ryan Mann was a seminarian intern at St. Mary, he instituted an open gym night for basketball on Mondays. Fr. Chris usually joined them; it continued past Fr. Mann’s assignment, and Fr. Augustine has kept it going. I was recently contacted by our parishioner— and one of the regulars— Rob McCarter, who shared with me that one of the players, himself not a Catholic, would like to do something as a mark of gratitude for our hospitality. Hence the following announcement:
In addition to adult open gym basketball and fellowship this Monday November 24th at 7:00 PM in the St. Mary's gymnasium, the basketball group will be having its first annual St. Mary's Hoops for Hunger Turkey Shootout. Please bring canned food goods to participate. All are welcome - men and woman of all ages and talents. Cans will be donated to those in need. Tee shirts will be given out along with fun and games.The basketball group meets every Monday and Thursday at 7 p.m. for athletics and fellowship.
A reminder: Thanksgiving Day Mass will be celebrated on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. The parish office will be closed both on Thursday and Friday of this week.
Blessed Thanksgiving, Fr. Stephen