Saturday, February 24, 2007


When I come down to join the other priests for breakfast in the morning the first question asked is no longer, “Did the Church make the paper?” It is now, “What are they saying about us today?” The Church makes the news so often that I’ve thought of writing to the paper suggesting that they have a Catholic section to make finding the Catholic Church stories easier.

Of course the stories are almost invariably negative. “Another Happy and Productive Day in Catholic Land,” does not sell. And quite honestly, we deserve some of it and some of it helps keep us honest. And I don’t have a problem if someone wants to debate a Catholic issue. At least they are talking about it. But what really gets my shorts in a bunch is the constant stream of misinformation, exaggerations, and the tendency to only find persons who are opposed to the Church or her teachings to give any kind of comment. How is that fare and unbiased reporting? Answer: It isn’t.

I thought of venting about each of the misleading stories that were printed or aired locally in just the past week but why give the stories any more exposure? In a way, it is a back-handed compliment that the Church is so constantly maligned. If we were unimportant, there would be no reports or people acting so vehemently. So thank you I suppose.

And even if there are some people doing stupid things in the name of the Church, the vast majority of us keep moving along, quietly doing what Christ has called us to do. So instead of hashing the poor reporting over again, here is a nice story about your Church from the last week that you will not have heard about:

An elderly lady died in a nursing home. She was penniless. Her family moved and left no forwarding address. (Did I mention that she was penniless?) Calling hours were held and a notice was placed in the paper, but nobody came. Her funeral, however, was one of the nicest ever held here. Cecil B. DeMille would have been proud.

The pastor had the mass. A member of Gabriel’s Harp, a Christian band that has performed all over the world including various World Youth Days, provided music. A local boy’s Catholic high school Saint Ignatius has a ministry called the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearer Ministry which provides pallbearers for families that do not have members or friends that can act as such. They made themselves available at both the church and at the graveyard. Classes from our grade school came to pray for her and to act in ministries such as reader, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, and gift bearer. And the members of the local Jesuit community will offer another mass in her name.

That’s cool. The daily, quiet acts of corporal and spiritual acts of charity that go largely unnoticed. Thank you to all of you who do these things too, quietly, unrecognized, maybe even feeling alone in your endeavors. You are not. You are part of a much greater goodness. What you do is important even if no one sees it. God bless you for your ministry.


Cindy said...

hellooo.... I had no idea you had a blog. I'll bookmark this and have a look tomorrow. I guess I've sent you my blog by now, with the pictures from my travels. My other blogs are more often updated, but I'm not much at updating any of them any more. Anyway, this is cool. For someone who resisted leaving the Amish ways,you've adjusted quite well.

Silvana said...

Hi, Father V! I've been enjoying your blog, and this story really touched me. It's a shame this kind of thing doesn't make the papers more.

Keep up the great work on the blog, it's great reading and very interesting!

Oh....the couple you described in "How I Met Your Mother" sound like really wonderful people! ;)

Fr. V said...

;>) Back at ya!

Anonymous said...

Oh Lord, how did I miss this one?

These are of the sort of parishioners and others that I know, and indeed, this is the sort of stuff, like the things holy Bishops do, too, that cannot possibly make the paper, usually.. so we must find some other way of mentioning them.

You know, in England, doctors still make house calls, and in Ireland, priests do. And I knew that, but not this -- that somewhere right here in America, love has not gotten too busy to be spent on people; it has not gone cold.

Some days, you are a diamond. Other days, you are even more.