Sunday, December 20, 2009

Divine Mercy armbands debut

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, a few dozen parishioners of Saint Casimir, and a few of their friends met, in front of a chained and padlocked fence, in front of the boarded and locked church, for another weekly prayer and hymn service. The cold would not deter. They sang hymns and prayed as they have since their church was wrested from them.
a celtic lass amidst the slavs
They also shared oplatki. An oplatek is a rectangular and embossed wafer similar to an unconsecrated host, and it can also symbolise manna. Usually a family shares these at Christmas Eve supper. A piece is broken off and then the remainder is passed to another family member. People forgive each other, hug and so on. Love and reconciliation is encouraged. Some people put honey on their portion, to increase the shared sweetness of the custom. But, such a practice is not limited to the family. In the christmas season such breaking of oplatki can occur amongst any comrades, and here to-day in front of a closed church. This cultural practice began with the poles and spread to the lithuanians, slovaks and is known to other slavonic nations. Some call these christmas wafers or angel bread. It is a reminder that in a world wide faith there are many local doings that are not known universally, but still pleasant.

They announced, and introduced, the Divine Mercy armband in the cause of solidarity with all members of the diocese, in a petition to save parishes. It will be a symbol of their trust in Jesus, and a symbol and sign to others of their perseverance. They send out a welcome to others, especially to the people of Saint Barbara's, to join them, and to wear them at Mass.
formal introduction of Divine Mercy armbands
nativity tableaux with mums, roses and the mexican christmas flower
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noto bene: Between the time of this event and its description Dick the Destroyer of Parishes has suppressed Saint Vitus (Croat) Lorain.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cleveland's Saint Adalbert needs to continue


view from East 83rd
lion rampant (forelegs raised, on one foot, tongue out) tail moving (in winter)
The exterior of Saint Adalbert, Cleveland is patterned after the neo-classical cathedral in Salzburg. The original czech (bohemian) congregation moved into their second home in 1911. The top of the central facade has a circular window of the bohemian heraldic lion. What, appears to be a double tail, is a twitching tail. From the inside the lion stands on a ruby red glass background, that can not be appreciated from the outside; one must remember stained glass was created to be seen with the incoming sunshine.

window under choir loft stairs
corner detail from Nativity window

The windows are of highest painterly southern german style and craftsmanship, some with czech titles and a Chicago maker's mark of Mayer Studio. Several of the window's are from episodes of Jesus' life, the evangelists, fathers of the church, a prophet, a virgin martyr and mystical depictions of the Eucharist. Windows that are not visible from the main floor (nave and sanctuary) are of high decorative quality.

central dome
heraldic shield of the Apostle Simeon (Simon the Zealot)

Under a dome in the center of the church is an acoustical node, a sweet spot, where one's voice is magnified and echoes. On the inside circumference there is the shields of twelve apostles (Paul and Matthias included, Thomas absent as he was at Pentecost). Outside are portraits of the evangelists, whom are well represented in the church.

There is fine statuary and carving. There is a high altar with Crucifixion, SS. Martin de Porres, and Caspar del Bufalo (founder of the Sanguinists [Missionaries of the Precious Blood], who serve the parish and are not diocesan priests), and Moses with the tablets of commandments, and cherubs. Beneath the altar is the Scene of the Last Supper and First Celebration of the Eucharist. There are adjacent altars of Mary and Joseph of the same quality.

And as in so many churches, there are statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the near universal representations of The Little Flower, Ste. Thérèse de Lisieux, and an Anthony of Padua grouping, in which, the Baby Jesus gives bread to Anthony, whom gives bread to a beggar. The bread is a metaphor for the Eucharist and a representation of charity. There is a history of giving bread in the remembrance of Anthony.

The church is a beautiful, balanced unity. To dismember and sell off the parts would do great disservice. The church is meant to be an intact whole. The walls, the art, the structural details, decoration and presentation work well together. But the bishop, Richard Lennon wishes to suppress and dismember. There is virtually zero probability of a future liturgical community, that has a respect of this sacred space, to occupy it.

Saint Adalbert is on the edge of the Fairfax neighborhood near the other hub of Cleveland's density of day workers and financial concentration, University Circle. A number of St. Adalbert's members work in the University Circle's medical and educational institutions. It could represent catholicism to both communities.

Saint Adalbert's, of to-day, is a product of the merger of the bohemian parish and that of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in 1961. Blessed Sacrament was the first black parish in the city. That historical legacy should be enough to save Saint Adalbert.

African-american parishes are not numerous in this diocese or country. To extinguish one with so much gravitas and integrity is horrendous. It would continue a dismemberment of the community. This church is a continuing catholic landmark in an area of the county that has too little catholic presence, and needs more. St. Catherine, St. Henry, Epiphany are recently gone. St. Cecilia's parish is also slated for extinction.

There are several extremely devoted parishioners who love not only their faith in the universal church, but this particular church. This church is not lacking. It is "vibrant", that is the Madison Avenue branding term, that, is used chameleon like for whatever purpose it is wanted for by the chancery and its representatives. The bishop will be separating members of the flock not only from their parish, but some will leave the 'one true church', 'the church militant', and 'the church universal'.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bishop on stamp

Alojzij Šuštar (*1920,†2007) had been the metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana, Slovenija. He has been recently commemorated on a postage stamp. This is significantly interesting, in that, most of his life, the government was that of communist Jugoslavija. During the war he was studying in Rome, and for several years, thereafter, he was in Switzerland. In 1993 Slovenija became independent and communist dictatorship ended. Under communism the church and its adherents were severely oppressed.

Gregorij Rožman was bishop during world war ii and the civil war. The communists won the civil war and engaged in a blood lust. Rožman went into exile and died in Cleveland, Ohio, where he resided at Saint Lawrence parish from 1948 to his death in 1959. Currently there is an attempt for his historical rehabilitation, for all those whom had opposed Tito and communism were held as the worst sort of traitors.

Rožman was convicted in absentia in a military show trial. A successor, Anton Vovk, was set on fire at a train station. Vovk's attackers were given leniency, and were condoned by the court, for understandably being upset with the continued presence of a cleric openly engaging in society. Another bishop, Jozef Pogacnik, was imprisoned.

Archbishop Šuštar was bishop during the transition of governments. In the late 1980s, partly with the current of freedom expanding in east europe, relations between state and church improved. Christmas was allowed as a public celebration. The postwar massacres of more than ten thousand (which were aided by british treachery) at Kočevski Rog were publicly lamented.

But half of a century of communist propaganda and rule was, and is, still embedded in society. There was no accounting of communist crimes. There is still a division in society and much of the old propaganda is still extant and influential.

Šuštar was held in some esteem by both communities. It can be seen in the issuance of a commemorative postage stamp. The stamp has the motto, "Dei voluntatem facere", which in english reads "To do the will of God". This would have been unthinkable a generation ago, under the previous régime.

Now, to completely career into a different tangent. The letter above travelled from the archdiocese of Ljubljana to the diocese of Cleveland. Ljubljana's bishop has been put on a stamp. Cleveland's bishop, Richard Lennon, is putting his image on Cleveland's church. Now, the first bishop of Cleveland was Louis Amédée Rappe. Saint Emeric's parish has the bell from, what had been, Cleveland's only french parish, Annunciation. That bell has Rappe's name on it. Richard Lennon for his work will never be commemorated on either a stamp or bell. Such remembrance is a sign of respect and affection and acknowledgment of positive achievement. He has neither helped the church to grow or survive. People will not remember him with any fondness, for he will be remembered as 'Dick the Destroyer of Parishes'.

Parish in exile

On the 8th of November, the bishop of Cleveland, Richard Lennon attempted to suppress Saint Casimir parish with a Mass of Eviction. The congregation opposed him. They still do.

The parish has continued to meet every Sunday at 11.30 a.m. They are communally active, and they are far more than the minimum required by Jesus and canon law. That number is three. On the 13th of December, about forty souls sang and prayed in a continuous rain that was just above freezing. It traditionally has taken a full century to finalise a suppression. That suppression would entail no meeting of the parish community. The first grains of the sandglass have not descended. The parish has not been extinguished.

Richard Lennon did not build these parishes, but he is selling their parishes as cash cows, because they have property and possessions. In a parable the servant says to his lord, "I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed." * Here the poor and beleaguered one issues a modest and accurate assessment of his superior. It is a devastating indictment.
Yet, this is not how the parable is presented in a protestant, capitalistic establishment, such as American society, a society of social darwinists. We, Americans, (especially in the last generation) weigh against the poor and the laborer; and weigh for the rich and for management and authoritarian power. That parable about the talents has been spun falsely. A talent is a vast weight of coins, it is not the gift of ability. The hard man in the parable angrily admits to the accusation, and berates the servant, and in the beratement demanded of the servant the transgression of religious law.
And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury.
The lord demanded money. He did not care how it was accumulated. Now, this is against the first principle of Catholic Christian ethics, ends must be achieved by honorable means.

A duty of a bishop is the salvation of souls. Richard Lennon is drivings souls away from the church. In many afflicted parishes there are people that will leave the church of their families of ages past, not just that destroyed parish, but the one true church that Jesus founded and left to his apostles. Some will follow or take comfort in another faith community, some will become totally inactive. This is the reconfiguration that Lennon is forging. He wants what he wants, and does not care about consequences. He does not act as a pastor but as a despot. There are many in the diocese who do not wish to be steamrolled.

Many of the fervent and tenacious congregants of Saint Casimir were born in the old country. Some saw nazi, and then communist, suppression of their church and society. They did not like to be bullied in Poland, and they do not like to be bullied in the United States.

They, like St. Faustina, believe in Jesus and his Divine Mercy. They trust in Jesus. They do not trust in Lennon. They are Christians, and not leninists, nor lennonists.
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* Matthew xxv. 24

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holy Trinity Grinched

The exodus from the pharonic autocrat flows outdoors. People are painfully, poignantly pierced. The price of episcopal suppression on a devoted parishioner.
Catholic editorial comment displayed universally. Flowers of farewell and loss are placed outside locked doors in funereal remorse.
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Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
To-day, the 3rd Sunday of Advent's introit is from Paul's Epistle to the Philippians (iv.4). But, it is not easy, we have sorrow throughout this Cleveland diocese. A cold cynic could convey that we have a particularly pitiless and vindictive grinch as bishop.

To-day there occurred a sacrilege. Holy Trinity church and parish, in Lorain, experienced a Mass of Eviction conducted by Richard Lennon. Holy Trinity is a consecrated church.

When God spoke to Solomon after the dedication of the temple, as recorded in, II Paralipomenon (Chronicles) vii. 16, He said:
For I have chosen, and have sanctified this place, that my name may be there for ever, and my eyes and my heart may remain there perpetually.
One can see this painted in the choir loft at Holy Trinity.
Lord Lennon was not moved. When thirty parishioners walked out of church as he was about to speak, he just stopped and listened to the applause of the rump. They exited and mingled with a community of protesters outside.

Many were long time members, with many familial memories interwound with the parish. Some had slovak flags, some had carnations, as they did when some had marched to the suppression of their sister catholics, a few yards away, at Saint Stanislaus; some also showed similar support when nearby Saints Cyril and Methodius was taken. It would appear, his lordship, has a disdain for the slavonic nations and their houses of worship.

At least two drivers along Elyria Avenue, stopped and invited the catholics to go to their "better" churches. They did not give names, but gave addresses. They felt the pressing need to welcome by evangelising. One man yelled back in one instance, "We do not want another church. We want better leadership."

In the cartoon, the narrator intoned about the creature whom looted a particular home, "On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire." These people had a wonderful temple, they understood was to be of worship as long as stone stood upon stone. Lennon is of contrary opinion.

It rained, it could have snowed, if only a few degrees less of temperature had been given. The snow would have been more comfortable. People stayed to the bitter end.

Now, Richard Lennon is a planning and paranoid man. In the last pews, at the wing seat he had placed business suited police, as if no one would know. There was three police cars in front and two in back. There was a pair of uniformed police at the top step of the main entrance, and two bored cops in the back lot, and perhaps a couple more. He also had his two staff members, [Baghdad] Bob Tayek and Jim Armstrong, whom always accompany, scout, and patrol, and attempt to police the site as always.

At precisely, 90 minutes (even at Saint Casimir, it was 90 minutes) after the scheduled start of the Mass, the garage doors opened up (while the church bell rang) and decoy vehicles left on one side of the property, where most of the remaining protesters gathered. They went there, in the belief that he would not pass the front entrance, and he did not. The next church, he was to collect was in the direction of the waited drive. He was driven from the other end by the parish hall, again avoiding an encounter to speak. That was at 10.30.

To the east, an hour later, in front of Saint Casimir, there gathered another grouping, of mostly, foreign born slavs; this time poles. There forty people prayed and sang, in the moderate and unrelenting rain, in their continuing weekly vigil, hoping for roman intervention. The slavs wish to endure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A local martyr, and a church

The bishop of Cleveland (facetiously associated with Lennongrad) will be taking St. Robert Bellarmine, after Christmas, on Sunday the 27th. For a time Sr. Dorothy (Sr. Laurentine) Kazel was a member and then teacher at St. Robert. She was one of the martyrs of El Salvador.

Here is a difference, if i may opine, in the church universal such an heritage would open the possibility of a church as site of pilgrimage, or a shrine. In the United States such tender, and eccentric sympathies, and sentiments are crushed by merciless institutional bureaucracy and fiat. It is an ugly universe where will trounces compassion. The sparing of such sites connects us with each other, this generation with that generation.

Saint Casimir was visited by Karol Wojtyla, whom later became pope John Paul II. Saint Lawrence was the home of the exiled bishop of Ljubljana, Gregorij Rožman. Saint Emeric was visited by József Mindszenty the Primate of Hungary and Archbishop of Esztergom. Saint Hyacinth was the boyhood parish of John Cardinal Krol, archbishop of Philadelphia. These four churches have been, or are scheduled to be, suppressed by Richard Lennon. They, along with St. Robert's, have been sites that have shared individuals and moments of history with the church on an international level. None of this has saved them from closure. One man, Richard Lennon, is denying the entire church, and its members, of these places and parishes to celebrate.
And certainly there are other stories to cherish.

The Lord is sweet to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.—Psalmi cxliv. 9.
Let thy tender mercies come unto me, and I shall live: for thy law is my meditation.—Psalmi cxviii. 77. DRC

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let us close vibrant parishes

I attended mid-week, mid-day mass at Saint Robert Bellarmine in Euclid with four dozen other christians. Before mass more than two dozen communally prayed the rosary. A few stayed and prayed after mass. A few gathered with each other and chatted. This is surely evidence of a parish's vibrant, living in action, devotional life.
Some time ago, I attended an early Saturday mass at Saint Louis in Cleveland Heights. In a very spartan (but with several touches of quite evident elegance) atmosphere a warm and pleasant mass as anyone could experience occurred. I doubt that the same feeling has not happened again, and again, and again at Saint Louis.
Holy Trinity in Lorain had parishioners visually prominent attend its neighbouring parishes' (St. Stanislaus and Saints Cyril and Methodius) suppression. They appealed to Rome for their parish. They did not want extinction for themselves or others. They acted with determined solidarity and brotherhood.
These are the next three parishes that were* to be taken by Richard Lennon:
Holy Trinity 2428 Elyria Ave. Lorain on 13 December
St. Robert 23802 Lakeshore Blvd. Euclid on 27 December
St. Louis 2463 North Taylor Rd. Cleveland Heights on 9 January
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*Recently St. Vitus (Croat) Lorain has been expedited from 02 28 10 to12 20 09, therefore the original sentence is incorrect. So at the time of writing, St. Vitus is the second next to be taken.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Economic interests lie for themselves constantly

They will lie against common sense. Science, logical thought and scrupulous study are their unforgivable enemies.

The national football league has their own doctors and studies suggesting concussions are not that bad. What simpleton would believe that? The language has the term 'punch drunk' for boxers. So many beatings to the head causes mental damage. Can anyone believe that ten years having one's head bounce around in a helmet as does a clapper in a bell not cause harm?

When someone has done something odd, there is a saying said facetiously like, "Joe has not been the same since he was kicked by that mule". The language of the people has the truth in it, yet the moneyed interests will tell a mendacious story.

Do we not remember the cigarette lawyers, and the doctors, and scientists hired by the tobacco industry that denied smoking causes physical harm? How could someone have not known that smoking was not harmful? Yet, people denied it. Some smokers did too, they could not accept the idea that they were engaging in self-destructive behavior.

To-day we have the petroleum and coal industries, and the Republican politicians, whom, get some of their money, telling the world 'climate change' is a hoax. Have we not been here before? Have we not seen this act? Does not prudence have a rôle?

I was surprised that some people I was acquainted with were so sure that man's activity did not, could not, effect the weather. They also tied this into their anti-Obama paranoia. Perhaps, I can see someone voting Republican, and being for gwbjr and the iraqui war, but why are those issues also in lock step with the anti-science positions. The whole menu is swallowed, there are no à la carte selections. It is for the worship and love of a false god—Mammon, or Mars, or the bitch goddess—Success. Lucre that one will not have, but will worship, none-the-less. All the false gods, it seem, are interchangeable and intermingle. They all live on the same mountain, the same hall.

Here is the fault of an individual's mind: while it is in the self-interest of the moneyed power, the economic interest to lie for his incentive, his profit, his position and to attack anything or anyone that may reduce it; why does the individual, who does not profit, accept all the mendacity? Is Mammon that powerful, that he claims such unshakable devotion?