Saturday, July 14, 2012

Unless it is broken


How do you fix a broken television?  I will betray my age if I mention a wire hanger where the antenna should be, or a pair of needle-nose pliers to turn the stem of a missing channel-selector knob.  Televisions now have neither antennae nor knobs, and I haven’t the clue how to fix them, either.
I have likened our situation here at Saint Bernadette as akin to a broken television: only one channel, and one program, no matter what time you tune in.  With only your humble Pastor here now that Father DeRosa has gone, programming could become fairly monotonous, with no help no matter how hard you press the buttons on the remote. 
So, without benefit of pliers, I have applied for a remedy to help us through the month. The remedies are several, in fact, and I am confident you will like them all.
Msgr. Thomas Olszyk is the Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A.   A priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, he spent twenty-plus years as a chaplain in the Air Force.  We met in Rome when I was Secretary and he was in Canon Law studies.  He organized the daily English-language pilgrimage to and Mass at the daily Station Church, in which I participated without fail – about which more some other time.  He is offering many weekday Masses this month. 
Father John McDonald is a priest of Birmingham in Alabama, working toward a doctorate at CUA this summer.  Currently the principal of the high school where my nephew will attend, he was just a first-year seminarian at the North American College when I met him – again, during my secretary days.  I remembered my Birmingham roots and got to know him, and have not regretted it ever since.  You will enjoy the many Sunday Masses he celebrates.
Father Bill Gurnee is one of ours – a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington – who spent a summer as a seminarian here in Saint Bernadette back in, oh, 1999, I think.  He succeeded me as secretary to Cardinal McCarrick in 2002, earning the number 30.  Now he is the spiritual director at our new Blessed John Paul II Seminary, so he can join us for several daily and Sunday Masses.
I do not entrust you to strangers.  These are all my friends in Christ, which comforts me greatly if I cannot be with you myself.
Next weekend, I will be away so I can attend my thirtieth high school reunion in Birmingham.  There were only 32 in my graduating class, so even with the adjacent classes invited, it will not be a big event, but I am very excited, and grateful for their help – and your solicitude – that make my participation possible.
The same face, the same voice all the time, every channel, every program.  Yes, this is how many parishes in our nation and in the Church function all the time; no, it is not how I want your parish to function.  I want you to have the variety of different priests preaching and praying in different ways, but of course, always the same.  
For as diverse as we priests may be in vocabulary, voice, and visage, it is Jesus Christ we preach, and Him crucified; and it is the Sacred Liturgy, the great prayer of his bride, the Church, that we pray.  We priests are many, but we share in the one saving Priesthood of Jesus Christ that is unchanging.  Nothing about that need be fixed, for it is not broken.
Monsignor Smith

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