Sunday, November 8, 2009

Poles surprise the bishop

In the movie Casablanca, the occupying Germans begin to sing in Rick's Place. Then the Frenchmen all sing the French national hymn, the Marseillaise, absolutely rousing and poignant, and all with a soul would weep. The French are defiant to their occupiers, the leading German officer was not amused, and ordered the police chief to find a reason to close the establishment.

Richard Lennon came to preside over a Mass of Eviction at Saint Casimir in Cleveland. It was the third Mass there that day. A very solemn Liturgy, in Polish, replete with an outdoor Eucharistic procession was the middlemost event. Lennon has closed about two dozen parishes in ‘his’ diocese, and they have been the most uninspiring and perfunctory affairs, but these Poles introduced him to their contempt of him. They stood up to serenade him. They sang Polish patriotic hymns, they sang a deeply sentimental Marian hymn, they brought in recorded music on speakers to sing with. He was not amused. They booed him, cursed him, and walked out on him; in less than an hour and a half he was whisked away in a silver car onto Sowinski Avenue.

Of the four local television news channels, at least two (wews5 and wjw8) took footage. On the Sunday broadcasts only wjw8 reported the event inside the church, and that in passing. A major, heartfelt, emotional position was clearly delivered, and few outside the church building and those immediately outside are aware of it. A very good photographer from the remaining major local paper spent time there, we will see if the morning edition will give notice and publish.

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