Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bishops and the social contract

Readers, this applies particularly to Cleveland, Ohio diocese but the principle applies to the greater society.

There is a parable in Matthew where a fearful servant speaks to his master, "Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed."* This sort of response would only anger the master. What an indictment―of that 'lord'. Have we not the same situation here?

You, your parents, your grandparents, and for some of you even further back, built these parishes. These original sites were the basements of other churches, school gyms, pool halls and whatever was available. Then with time, money and work a more proper place became home to the parish. The bishops of the time did not pony up the money. You and yours did. Now, in this hour a successor bishop, very like that 'hard man' of the parable, has visited us.

Yet, he has his supporters, or his office with him as the accidental holder. Their defense of him is pitifully weak. It rests ultimately on servile obedience alone. This allows us the traditional tyranny of "pray, pay and obey."

Now, in all of us there resides a conflict between good and evil. None are perfect. None are without sin. Each one of us may be more good than evil, or vice versa. Each one of us may be suited for his current position or not. We are not cast as absolutes, we are all responsible for our behavior. The idea that any leader is to be exalted in extremis is dangerous. To suggest that one can do no wrong, make no errors, that no conditions apply is to allow for the greatest misfortunes.

This theory has its antecedents and adherents. Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan (1651) allows the sovereign such complete subservience, the only thing he allows us is our life, only at that point can we object. Richard Cheney follows the all power to the 'unitary executive'. These are only modern updates to what the ancients called 'oriental despotism'. One such despot was Pharoa in Exodus. Under that system god resided in the pharoa, only he had rights. Only pharoa was a citizen.

Saint Paul spread the way of Jesus in the greek lands. He taught that, we are fundamentally equal in Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. ― Gal iii.28.
Non est Judǽus, neque Græcus : non est servus, neque liber : non est másculus, neque fémina. Omnes enim vos unum estis in Christo Jesu.
At the fall of Rome in the west, there came a 'migration of peoples'. One of a group of slavonic tribes that settled in the eastern Alps, north of the Balkans became, as they are known to-day, the slovenes. In their history, the philosopher Jean Bodin (1566) and later Thomas Jefferson (1776) found the social contract. In a ceremony from the early mediæval period, at least since the 6th century, even after subjugation by germanic overlordship, that continued until 1414, when the Habsburg potenate would not degrade himself to undergo a slavonic peasant rite, the leader would take a yearly oath, later it became only a crowning ceremony. Well, in that rite, the people pledged to follow the knez (duke) for the year, and if the knez failed to serve his people, he forfeited his life. The leader of his people was responsible to the people. There are many nations amongst the slavs, the slovenes are a small one; outside of the homeland, Cleveland, Ohio, had the largest concentration; a few, a very few, know their ancient heritage.

We have three options in the bishop-parishioner relationship. We have the pauline-christian one, which Lennon rejects. We have the slavonic-democratic social contract theory, which he certainly would not countenance. We have the pharonic-leviathan rules absolutely theory, which we reject.
*Matthew xxv. 24.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Workers' Memorial Day

Workers’ Mourning Day began in Canada in 1984 and has spread through the globe. It really is not well known here, although the Department of Labor has issued the above poster for this quoting Mother Jones, "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

This past Sunday, President Barack Obama went to Beckley, West Virginia, to mourn the 29 dead of the April 5th coal mine explosion. In an eulogy the President asked, "How can a nation that relies on its miners not do everything in its power to protect them? How can we let anyone in this country put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work, by simply pursuing the American dream?" Certainly, these were also political questions that would not have been asked by the previous occupant of the office, whom most assuredly would not have come to such an event, to remember dead workers killed working for an anti-worker, anti-union, anti-safety regulation, ownership.

Mother Jones, Mary Harris Jones knew those coal fields. She organised for the United Mine Workers, which fought for better pay and conditions, while many were arrested, beaten and sometimes shot dead in that pursuit. Since 1981 those efforts were steadily defeated. The Appalachian coal grounds are not the only dangerous work place, but they have always been an obvious front in labor and safety disasters and fights for the American dream against rapacious bosses and their system of brutal management.

April 28th was the day in 1914 when Workers' Compensation Act passed into Canadian law. Such government legislation has saved many an uncountable lives, for they prevented, at least some, deadly events to come into being. To-day is a day to especially note the deaths, injuries and illnesses caused in the workplace, a day to mourn the dead and to fight so more can live longer. Remember the dead miners whenever someone complains about government regulation.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Continuing story of the Casimiri

The Saint Casimir-in-exile parishioners met again Sunday. There was rumors of an out of town reporter from a national catholic news service being present, he was not, and the actual presence of new local media in attendance. With this scenario and some new people coming for the first time, such as a couple from the suppressed and episcopally looted St. Procop's, an introduction and identification of members were made in addition to the prayers and hymns.

Some people heard for the first time the genesis of the exiled parish. A retired polish born physician, Dr. Michael Klymiuk, had a dream the night after the parishioners were evicted. The Mass of Eviction was 8 November 2009. The elderly doctor saw the icon Our Lady of Czȩstochowa, Mary the Mother of God, and she said to him, "Do not leave me alone". From that he called some other parishioners and twenty came the first Sunday. People have continued to come each and every week since, some have never been inside the church. Now, there is a tarp brought out to the fence with a photo of the high altar fixed upon it. The fence in front of the church becomes an iconostasis and billboard for an hour a week beginning at 11.30 a.m.

Colleen O'Shaughnessy has been attending these vigils for months, and has brought many of her family along. She and a daughter of the parish, Krystyna Moreno née Kowalewski have lobbied Cleveland City Hall for months in order to advance councilman Brian Cummins' legislation to protect the architectural interior of landmark buildings, they with particular regard for Saint Casimir's, which was built in the polish cathedral style. She was brought front and center, and confessed of having an inadequate singing voice, and recited the hymn, "Our Lady of Knock".

On one of the lobbying nights at City Hall with a few more people with her, one fellow responded to the mayor's chief-of-staff, Kenneth Silliman (yes, silly man from silly hall), after he continuously repeated himself about possible reuse of parish buildings, "But sir, we look at these parishes as living beings. You are just interested in the corpse." The silly man dramatically over reacted, he swung out his arms, glancing a blow upon his respondent and declared, "This is over with," and retreated into the main chamber in a major huff.

The primary english speaking prayer leader, Joseph Feckanin, gave his best presentation and was fervent and eloquent in his statements. He has long looked at the entire Casimir experience as an unfolding of Divine Providence, and he has repeatedly introduced people to the rest of the congregation.

The great nucleus of these congregants were born in the old country. Some with very unpleasant experiences of a communist régime. Andrzej Sobolewski was jailed for his Solidarność activity. He is no longer young, but every week he carries a large standard of the labor union's flag. His wife is always there beside him, and often his daughter.

They, the Casimiri, also share news of concern. Wednesday, past, there was a forum held at Cleveland State University. Two of the above members attended and spoke to one of the participants, John Maimone (my money, not his pronunciation, but consider it a mnemonic), the chief financial officer of the diocese. They found out the real estate of the parish was being shopped around for $975,000. This brought gasps out of the Casimiri. On a side note, the bishop himself has been invited to a public forum of his choosing to respond to the closings, by one of the groups against at least of some of the unjust closings, Code Purple. Lennon, nor anyone at the chancery, has ever responded.

During to-day's [Monday] morning rain, representatives of the diocese and the sheriff's office directed and oversaw
workmen removing plywood from the boarded windows of Saint Casimir's. Saint Casimir's has a pending appeal with the Apostolic Signatura, the Signatura is equivalent to a papal supreme court. Under canon law, a parish's property can not be disposed of during this process. Neighbors and parishioners were there as a workman fell from a ladder. The next vehicle to arrive was an ambulance to take the fallen away. Observers immediately were reminded of the incident in the time of King David when Oza (Ussah) rashly touched the Ark of God and was struck down.
And when they came to the floor of Nachon, Oza put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it: because the oxen kicked and made it lean aside. And the indignation of the Lord was enkindled against Oza, and he struck him for his rashness: and he died there before the ark of God. — II Kings vi. 6-7. DRC

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pastoral Disaster

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is Good Shepherd Sunday on the new calendar, in the old it was last week. This was the first Gospel verse in to-day's Mass.
Oves meæ vocem meam áudiunt, et ego cognósco eas, et sequúntur me:
My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. — John x.27.
When the Church was persecuted and had Mass in the catacombs, the image of Jesus was that of the Good Shepherd. Now, in the ancient world, this was a demeaning and unprestigious work. But Jesus knew what a 'Good Shepherd' would do. He would protect his flock, he would put his life on the line versus ravenous beasts that would harm or devour the sheep. This was love. The first requirement for a pastor, a good shepherd is to love his flock.

A bad shepherd does not love his sheep. He would not gather the lost, he would scatter or butcher them. Jesus spoke in metaphor, to illustrate by comparison and extended visual imagery and thought. Here in Cleveland, Ohio, our chief pastor, the bishop, Richard Gerard Lennon is a bad shepherd. If he lacked pastoral ability or was lazy, it would not be so bad, he goes far beyond that. He takes great measures to actively harm.

He bungled in Boston, a larger and more prestigious post. It is an archdiocese. He was sent to a smaller bishopric to rehabilitate himself, and we were the victims. He is fashioning his own diocese, the Diocese of Lennongrad.

He hates us, or at least many of us. When he extinguished the parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Akron, he said inappropriately referring to himself in the position of Jesus calling to the unwilling apostles, he said Jesus "let them go". No, Jesus would not behave like Lennon.
For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. What think you? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them should go astray: doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains, and go to seek that which is gone astray? And if it so be that he find it: Amen I say to you, he rejoiceth more for that, than for the ninety-nine that went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. — Matthew xviii, 11-14.
Not only does he hates us. He dissembles (that is a very polite way to say 'lies'). He has people lie for him. Bob Tayek lies to the press for the record. Do they believe that we can not remember what had happened a few months previous? Is their contempt for our intelligence, knowledge and memory that great? John Maimone, his finance man, lied at Cleveland State about not knowing anything about Saint Casimir's current appeal. It is not allowed, under canon law, for a parish's patrimony to be sold while under appeal. Casimir's real estate is priced at $975,000*, St. Casimir's prayer leader, months earlier, wrote to the officer in charge of 'parish reconfiguration', Jim Armstrong, concerning an inventory of objects. Armstrong acknowledged the letter by return post.

The reasons given for parish extinctions do not correspond to the teachings of Jesus, the laws and traditions of His Church or reality. Point after point of the stated reasons do not fit for parish after parish. Parishes are created to be PERPETUAL. They are trans-generational.

Ethnic parishes that have healthy bank accounts are the preferred targets of closure. Why? First of all Lennon despises the nations of eastern europe. He has virtually eliminated them. For some nations there will be only one ethnic parish for them in the eight counties. Only the poles will have several open (after nine are taken from them). Many of these suppressed parishes have possessions and property that are convertible to cash. And it is not frugality, that drives Lennon. He is quite willing to burn through money. He also wants a capital spending plan. He has tried to push it upon his clergy, they tell him, that, the people are not happy. He does not care. Yet the gullible or the dishonest say these parishes can't pay their bills. They even pay the bishop's 16½% assessment, two or three times the country's average. He wishes to rob the ancient, the poor, the traditional for a modern, current creation of his liking. If we consider the pre-dominately urban parishes that have many african american members, well to-day he suppressed St. Cecilia. He will have closed six of these east side parishes at the end of his first five year plan.

He has shown contempt to people in particular. He is mean spirited and vindictive. He is abusive and/or dismissive. He has banned priests from the diocese, while claiming clergy shortage. The Sanguinists (Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood) are being booted from the two parishes they have pastored. Our Lady of Good Counsel, in which they have ministered for over a century, is being re-named. He has refused priestly faculties to foreign priests.

Lennon does not know or like his sheep, nor is he willing to know them or try to like them. He scatters them forcibly. He is reducing his flock by the thousands. He does not believe in mediation or conciliation. He is a tyrant. He knows no law but himself. Lennon is either paranoid, or as some suggest wishing to portray himself as a victim, in the police presence he employs. He has been reported by many to wear a bullet proof vest. The psychological portrait is horrendous. Such behavior in a textbook is pathological, it would be listed as "sociopathic".

*postscriptum: as of 3-4 May 2010, the St. Casimir listing was absent from:
but still at:
**postscriptum: as of 5 May 2010 the webdress reads:

can be found at:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Nations gather at St. Casimir's

Setting up on another Sunday at St. Casimir's, Cleveland
Another Sunday mid-day on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, and another religious service at Saint Casimir, but this was part of a national awareness campaign. A catholic activist from Boston Massachusetts, Peter Borré, had delivered letters from twenty-two parishes in six dioceses to curia officials in the eternal city. Eight of these parishes* were from the Lennongrad diocese of Cleveland. Rome has been made aware of an american campaign to eliminate the nationality parishes created under Canon 518†, it is a form of ethnic cleansing of the church in the United States.

Borré has noted a cardinal saying, "the errors committed in Boston are being repeated in Cleveland." Lennon had filled in for the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, before arriving in the middle west. Lennon had been in Rome last October, he is there again to answer questions. He has answered none in Cleveland.

To-day, the prayers and hymns went beyond the english and polish languages, to include magyar (hungarian), slovak and slovene. The nations of eastern catholic europe are odius to Lennon. The people offered this prayer in diverse languages:
We pray for Divine Mercy for Bishop Lennon and we pray for his enlightenment that he might understand the history, beauty, contribution and continuing importance of the ethnic Roman Catholics in Cleveland.― english version

Molimo za Božjega Usmiljenje za škofa Lennon in molimo za njegovo razsvetljenje, da bi on lahko pravilno razumel zgodovino, lepoto, prispevek in veliki važnost dne narodni katoliki v Clevelandu.― slovene version
Joseph Feckanin: "We were born catholic, we live catholic, we will die catholic!"
At times the listeners were rapt in keen silence at the words of speakers. A combination of prayer, song, defiance, jeremiad and a call to christian solidarity, union and constancy filled an hundred for an hour. The final speaker alluded to how Lennon falls short in regards to: theology, canon law and history. He, also, coaxed the crowd with socratic questions; the last being ― "I ask you, what parish would Jesus close?" They answered, "No one."

A boy along the fence bearing national flags and tombstone charts of the extinguished churches and parishes.
Two St. Casimir alumni looking and reading the names of the 96 polish dead from the recent aeroplane crash near Katyn/Smolensk, Russia.
*St. Barbara and St. Casimir, Cleveland (Polish); Sacred Heart, Akron, St. Emeric, Cleveland, St. Margaret of Hungary, Orange Village (Hungarian); St. John the Baptist, Akron, St. Wendelin, Cleveland (Slovak); St. Lawrence, Cleveland (Slovene).
†Can. 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is, one which includes all the Christian faithful of a certain territory. When it is expedient, however, personal parishes are to be established determined by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory, or even for some other reason.
nota bene: for further interest,

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Blonde Gardener

Hæc cum dixísset, convérsa est retrórsum, et vidit Jesum stantem : et non sciébat quia Jesus est. Dicit ei Jesus : Múlier, quid ploras ? quem quæris ? Illa exístimans quia hortulánus esset, dicit ei : Dómine, si tu sustulísti eum, dícito mihi ubi posuísti eum, et ego eum tollam. Dicit ei Jesus : María. Convérsa illa, dicit ei : Rabbóni (quod dícitur Magíster).

When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). ―John xx. 14-16.St. Michael the Archangel, Cleveland, Ohio, has some fine windows from the old country. The old country being catholic south Germany. Mary Magdalen the Myrrh Bearer went to the sepulchre to anoint Jesus, for he died on the Parasceve and was quickly put into the tomb. Before the window illustration, a great deal of drama in the garden had happened again.

Mary first, finds the tomb open and empty. She brings Peter and John, they confirm and are stunned and leave. She looks into the sepulchre and sees two beings, whom introduce themselves as angels, and they speak to her. Then she is interrupted by the gardener, whom is the Risen Jesus.

In this window, the wounded and glorified Jesus holds a shovel. This is something, that is not generally seen. Its iconic inclusion shows him as the Gardener. The Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of Paradise, a beginning and ending drama in the Garden. It is a satisfying completion.

Magdalena is blonde. Jesus is blonde.

Spires of Saint Michael's

View from the Cleveland's east side, Pershing Avenue
Driving along several of the main roads, freeways and bridges in Cleveland one notices the uneven twin steeples of Saint Michael Archangel. As a landmark, outside the concrete, steel and glass knot of skyscrapers of downtown, the only competitor in recognisability is St. Theodosius's, but in number of vantage points, no — it is Saint Michael's.

Right now, the disparity in height has been reduced. The cross is not there. It is temporarily inside the church, and it is something to see and look at in a manner which is not normally available to non-avian creatures. The verde-gris is not a metal patina. The cross is wooden and slotted into the spire.

The church was completed in 1892 in romantic, grand eloquent, high gothic, triumphal revival. The then buff, now black, sandstone exterior came from Berea, which borders Cleveland. The presbyterian church, of the founders of the city, on Public Square was just as black with years of soot accumulation, until sandblasting. The soot patina, actually, is more impressive than the original hue.

The founding pastor, or rector, (1883-1911) was a czech immigrant from the Austrian empire, Joseph Maria Koudelka. He had been the first pastor at the czech parish, Saint Procop (now suppressed by Bp. Lennon), previously from 1875. In 1903 he was also the founding pastor of the slovak parish, Saint Wendelin (scheduled for suppression this May, by Lennon). In 1908 he was ordained the first auxiliary bishop of Cleveland, the titular bishop of Germanicopolis in partibus infidelium, by Bishop Ignatius Horstmann. Koudelka was the first auxiliary in the United States to be given a specific pastoral duty, which was care of the slavonic peoples in the diocese. This was a cause of discontent among the irish priests in the diocese, and it took four years to finally occur. The irish considered the germans 'foreigners', and themselves 'americans'. Horstmann was born in distant Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Koudelka was a slav. Most of the irish (all from Cleveland and Toledo) stayed away from his ordination, and none signed the book of witness. Bishop Horstmann would die three months later from complications of heart attack after the burials of the Collinwood school fire.

Michael's was one of the two, magnificent, german, west side churches. It was, when built, the largest, costliest and most significant church in the diocese. In 1948 it ceased to be a german parish, and had been converted to a territorial parish. It is now mostly, spanish american in attendance. There are now a few new world icons in addition to the earlier religious art. It is a catholic church. This german church had, and has, statues of the polish Stanislaus Kostka and Louis the King of France. Now it is graced with new world Madonnas. All this forms a handsome package of devotions, history, culture, theology and art in wood, glass, paint, and stone. With the morning sun, Michael's is brilliant, solemn, joyful, calm and inspiring, when one is alone with the Divine Presence in the tabernacle it is a portion of serenity.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barbara for the miners

@Stanislaus(Cleve.), @Sacred Heart
@Our Lady of Lourdes

@Barbara, @Holy Name

Saint Barbara was one of the virgin martyrs in the last wave of persecution in the roman empire. She was from Asia Minor. Barbara was the feminine greek form of foreigner (barbarian), but since she was from a family of some privilege, the name had to have become accepted and naturalised amongst the greeks.

Her legend is colorful. Her father, an ambitious pagan, had her as a commodity. She was sheltered in a tower [her iconography includes a three windowed tower for the Trinity]. She read, and somewhere, encountered christian works and converted. Her father wanted to successfully marry. She would not. He turned her in for being a christian. She was punished, but would not relent.

Her father took a sword and decapitated her. He was soon hit and killed by lightning. The attributes of the martyrdom often befit the iconic depictions. A palm frond is universally associated with martyrs. The instrument, here a sword, often is shown.

Saint Barbara, since she died without Viaticum (last Communion), became a patron for those dying without access to the Sacrament. She is sometimes shown with a chalice Host. Stanislaus Kostka received Communion from her during an illness whilst he was among lutherans.

The noisy blast of lightning brought her to the attention of the artillery. Especially, the early guns, exploded themselves, often killing or maiming their crew. She became their patron. There are military associations and medals named for her. The powder magazines of ships of the french, spanish, and italians were variants on santabarbara, sainte-barbe.

Powder and explosions also went off with miners. She was their patron too. Often in central europe, including Silesia (SW Poland, into Czechia and Germany), there were altars in mines, or chapels nearby dedicated to Barbara.

In the Cleveland diocese, several churches have images of Barbara (see supra). One of the churches to be suppressed is Saint Barbara. It is a polish parish overlooking the old steel mills, some of which is gone. Mills and mines are similar--they are dark, dirty and dangerous. Barbara was an apt patron for the area and the people. It is on top of Jennings Freeway, a couple mile connection between two other freeways. It took decades for the project to complete. The church survived demolition from it, survived the removal of parishioner homes, survived the industrial and demographic decay of the rustbelt. It is slated for extinction. It is battling and wounded.

Now this little essay is entitled 'Barbara for the miners'. Across the world in China, on Easter Sunday, 115 miners of 153 were rescued from a flooded mine. Huge mine disasters are not uncommon in China. There the communists and the capitalists are indistinguishable, and worker rights are not much in evidence. It is a betrayal for socialism, it is the approved standard for capitalism. This command socialism, which is communism, and capitalism are both forms of materialism. It is not surprising, that, both lack human concern.

About 3 o'clock Easter Monday an explosion killed more than two dozen miners in West Virginia, a tragic and horrible event, especially for the families. It was a scab mine owned by a scab company, Massey Energy Company. Last year, that mine, had 458 violations. They paid 18¾% of the amassed fines and constantly litigate against them and regulations. Don Blankenship runs Massey, he ran the union, United Mine Workers, nearly completely out of the three state region in which he has operations. He contributes heavily to Republican politics. He believes in production over all concerns within the operations.

The physical killer was a gas explosion. Underground mines need to be ventilated. The goal is to keep methane, natural gas, below 1 or 1½%. Explosions occur between 5 and 15%, with the most catastrophic at 9%. Ventilation costs time, money and equipment. That is not production. Production is profit. Profit is what matters. It is the purpose of capitalism. Blankenship was very good at procuring profit in a poor economy.

Mining was far deadlier in America a century ago. Even when one did not die in the mine, it did damage to the body. Some poignant songs came out of the tradition. A few years ago, a canadian group, the Cowboy Junkies, put out on their first album an old song:
Mining For Gold

We are miners, hard rock miners
To the shaft house we must go
Pour your bottles on our shoulders
We are marching to the stope

On the line boys, on the line boys
Drill your holes and stand in line
’til the shift boss comes to tell you
You must drill her out on top

Can’t you feel the rock dust in your lungs?
It’ll cut down a miner when he is still young
Two years and the silicosis takes hold
And I feel like I’m dying from mining for gold
Labor that kills you, needs a protector(ess) too. The US does not broadly celebrate and dedicate for such patrons, but when death can come without warning, and without care, perhaps a patroness will help. Barbara for miners.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Egregious Mistake

several minutes before Mass, statue of Peter, window in distance of Jesus with children, standing room only already.
" of the most egregious mistakes in the history of the diocese to close this church and suppress this parish." --from Fr. Robert Marrone's valedictory sermon
Jesus window with german inscription over main doors.
At the final scheduled Mass at Saint Peter, Cleveland, Father Marrone spoke truthfully and powerfully. He said many quotable things. It was a wonderful and emotional oration. Really, it was an historic speech. It should be published nationwide. It addresses the climate of FEAR—fear in the local church, the national church, the global church, and though not directly implied—the whole of this country.

He said many things, some about "the pre-horrible days." He began from the beginning, the 1850s when Bishop Louis Amadeus Rappe and Father John Luhr started the parish. Other significant points of the history of the parish, and his twenty-eight year pastorate he recalled with pride, and a sense of loss and pain in its conclusion. He mentioned several current members and those whom live on in recent memory.

All the stated, supposed reasons for the "closing of the church and the suppression of the parish" did not apply. This parish was in the Spirit of Vatican II. To-day there is a climate of fear and "retrenchment", "where liberal is synonymous with criminal" and "blind obedience" is confused with "faithfulness". Some of these lines were met with sustained and rousing applause.

Also, before Mass began, it was announced there would be no Mass, there, next Sunday.Three of the four local television stations flubbed this, and announced per the diocesan source, that the bishop will say the final Mass next week. This is notable, for there was a flurry of press notice this week, over the bishop's wants and concerns. Lennon was upset with everything about this parish. It was incorrectly printed in the local daily, in reliance to the official diocesan source, that, "In accordance with church law, he presides at the last Mass of a closing church." It was not the only false statement so reported. Do not expect retractions and corrections.
small portion of 1000 souls outside after mass, it took twenty minutes to exit
It was Resurrection Sunday. As Fr. Marrone mentioned, when the women came to the empty tomb, the Angel said, "Do not be afraid. You will not find Jesus here." The tomb is empty, and after to-day this church building will be like a tomb. Jesus lives and is found elsewhere. The good Father was right, we are surrounded by fear. The Angel was right, we should not fear. Courage is what we need.
moment of final closure of welcoming central doors
Fr. Marrone closed the front doors after everyone went outside, and it was overquietly. The parishioners felt a lot better than if he, whose name was not mentioned during the Mass, would have been there to suppress [and yes that is the correct word, which the press and public avoids] the parish in person. The parish celebrated Paschal Mass, which doubled as the swan song, instead of experiencing a Mass of Eviction under a suppressing ordinary. The pastor did not feel the armed entourage, the superfluous "security" forces and measures that Lennon employs would be appropriate in the Tabernacle of God [and his congregation concurred]. Truly, Jesus disarmed Peter, we must recognise and remember.

Easter Vigil

Easter Vigil Mass started earlier at Saint Lawrence than elsewhere. Forty mile wind gusts opened and held a side door open, while the narthex doors breathed in and out like a slow accordion. The angelus bells, and chimes played, and train whistles blew during the homily. The pews were filled. One of the Benedictine Fathers from the abbey really did celebrate the mass. He played with the electric lights, handled candles, blessed the fire, the water and the people. Gary Hoover OSB addressed several people throughout, including the music director and co-parish secretary Lois Sever, who said later, "Have a charismatic priest and people will come."

The pews were well occupied in this jewel box of a parish. Father Gary invited people to share their memories of Easters past. The first fellow to speak, stood up and clearly with enthusiasm spoke, "I sang Eucharistic hymns at the Eucharistic Congress* [September 1935 Lakefront Stadium]. They were beautiful, I still sing them. I was at Thomas Aquinas, they're closed like we will be here. I'm Irish but I sang Slovenian. My mother-in-law was the organist [here]. Fr. Gary responded, "Go up to the choir, they can still use you." He bowed out, "I'm too old, my (singing) voice is gone."

One woman remembered baking potica. Another remembered tying Easter bonnets too tightly on her siblings. Another man remembered his "first employment". He and other boys would take charred wood from a Holy Saturday morning bowl of fire, and place it in coffee cans. They would swing the coffee cans, to keep the embers alive, and bring them to tetas (aunts) for exchange.

He was cradled in the parish. The current church building came into the world, the same year as he did. He is a stalwart at the parish and wishes to hold the bishop to his word. .....

Recently, Lennon spoke to his presbyterate (priests), that there was an ethnic parish where people drive an half hour to; they won't go another fifteen minutes to a parish of the same ethnicity. They will just go to their neighborhood parish, he maintained (or so he desires). Was he talking of Saint Lawrence or some other? Perhaps he underestimates the tenacity, the stubbornness of some Slavonic peoples.

Fr. Gary said for Christmas and Easter he sings the dismissal, but he warned--off key. True to his word, but not to the note. He did--Allelluia.
Fr. Gary Hoover blesses holy water with the Easter candle, assisted by John Adamczak
A half million catholics attended the Seventh Eucharistic Congress 23-27 September 1935. Nearly one hundred, twenty five thousand went to midnight Mass at the ballpark. This was organised by Bishop Schrembs and Monsignor Begin (uncle to Fathers Robert and Daniel Begin).

Friday, April 2, 2010

St. Rocco processes

Saint Rocco, Cleveland, has a Good Friday procession each year. People gather in the church, before the carts are ready. Statues are taken from inside and then returned. Hymns, prayers and a sermon on the Sorrowful Mother take place, mostly in italian, and that's fine. The passion exerted is more freely and naturally expended than in english. There is a smoothness of exuberance, in italian, without forced histrionics.
I was taking photographs inside the church beforehand. A small, somewhat frail, lady stopped me. She wanted to know a little about me, and she had something to say. She asked me who was pictured in the window, she knew. I hesitated a second, "It's St. Francis there, you can see the stigmata.". The window had too many hints. Francis is very often with animals, he is sometimes with a crucifix, but generally not holding. The window was dedicated towards the remembrance of a particular 'Frank'. The monk is wearing a modern franciscan robe, across from this window, there is a window of the franciscan Anthony of Padua and Lisbon.

"This parish is not going to close. I have been here fifty-nine years. I'll tell you something," she crosses herself, "the bishop is an evil man." She tells of her kinswoman, whom belongs to St. Peter's and of the fine (italian) priest there, and the impending extinction. She asks me if I was italian. It was a rapid conversation. We exchanged several statements of fact, history and culture. I didn't come to interview, but to experience. She was curious about me and desired to talk.
This is a purely religious event. Good Friday is the most sorrowful and solemn day on our calendar. But, we know it was the portal to our salvation. People want to commemorate and relive the day. They enjoy participation. The different parish societies march. A small band plays. The carts, floats in parade speak, are those of passionate and deep sorrow. One is the Sorrowful Mother, the Mother of Jesus, who saw the awful and gruesome treatment of her Son, Our Saviour, brutalised and executed.
People walk the streets of the neighborhood and look forward to do so. To-day it was record warmth in the low 80s. It was an enjoyable walk for a most serious, traumatic and dramatic event--the crucifixion of Jesus. It was also witness to the people of the neighborhood.
One cart carried the Sorrowful Mother in a dark cape, another the Crucifixion with John and Mary, another the bier and Corpus, one with a Pieta (deposition), and one the stages of Jesus' Passion. The Passion that his Mother had to suffer as witness. This cart had Jesus at Gethsemani, Jesus scourged at the pillar, Ecce Homo (behold the Man), the carrying of the cross, the imaged veil held by Veronica, and the Crucifixion. Now the public could witness a presentation, and share the christian experience, the sorrow and the salvation.