Thursday, June 20, 2013


The Saint Sebastian rectory IMHO is rather nice.  What most people don’t know is that it largely furnished out of Goodwill, yard sales, and trash picking.  I live off of the refuse of a nation. 
Things are not too much different over in the church.  At some point in the parish history somebody pitched everything – from altar clothes, to vestments, to thuribles, the whole nine yards.  So there was not much to “play with” when I got here and other items simply no longer existed.  Things have been slowly accumulating again however.  Items not used in other parishes I have “borrowed.”  (I dread the day they want their items back and we have to spend top dollar for them.)  Several items originally from the parish that were thrown in the trash and saved by conscientious parishioners have been slowly returned now that they no longer fear they will end up in a landfill. 
One day I was walking Sebastian down the street and a man having a yard sale started calling out, “Father!  Father!  Do you want a cross on a stick?”  I had no idea to what he was referring.  He promised to drop it by the rectory later in the day.  It turned out to be a very nice processional cross now in use from time to time at the parish.  With it was also a box of other items some of which were useful.


Also in use at the parish are things I have accumulated over the years in assignments at other parishes.  “We should just throw these things out!”  And as they did I would snag them out of the dumpster and put them in my trunk.  Humeral veils and old ciboria are among these finds that we are used at St. Sebastian today.  I’ve also received paintings (of various quality) statues, and even an altar and tabernacle that is now in the rectory chapel.
This morning a lady dropped of a car load of vestments.  “We found these in my mother’s house as we were cleaning it out after her death.  We have no idea why she has them except maybe when a parish closed or something she took them out of the trash for safe keeping.” 
So now I am looking at them in my office.  Some of them are beautiful (meaning, of course, my taste) and others are Okay.  All were expensive at some point.  Some will go in our vestment cases for use, some to the missions, a set to a future priest who likes them.  (Much better than having them go in the trash I think.)
Now, I understand that one cannot hold on to everything.  The giant boxes of felt and Elmer’s glue banners from the 70s that are molding and coming apart and no longer lay flat might be an exception to the rule.  Other things of quality but are not of your taste might be worth putting in a box and keeping in the attic or donating to another parish. 
On second thought – for the time being – keep throwing your parish patrimony out.  At least until we get back everything we need here.  Then start the conservation program.


W.C. Hoag said...

The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago regularly dispose of vestments would one express it...certain contemporary flavours through the purifying power of flames.

MaryofSharon said...

The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius are a very bright and beautiful light in the U.S. Church today. Glad to see someone else familiar with them!

I learned about them through this wonderful On Assignment documentary, "Restoring the Sacred", on the revitalization of the parish of St. John Cantius, which the starting point of the Canons Regular. This is a story of great beauty and hope for the future of the Church!

The pastor: "Our goal is to make saints of everyone who comes to this place. "

Sarah said...

I would be pleased to remove the boxes of '70s felt banners. I was a child in the 1970s and remember loathing those banners then (in a different state, but I suspect that they were all of a similar style). I felt that hasn't disintegrated would make great project materiel for our little guys and their friends, and you would know that the banners would never again adorn a church.
Felt and tambourines seem to define the atmosphere from that time.