Thursday, August 4, 2011

What’s the difference?

Saint Lawrence has held four advertised Masses at the nearby Slovenian Home. St. Peter has held weekly Mass at the Baker Building. I have been asked twice by a reporter, “What’s the difference?”

Both parishes were suppressed by the ordinary, Richard Lennon. Lennon has peddled their property, even though Peter’s is still extant [according to Rome]. Both parish communities like their parish, and the company of their members; that is why they still meet.

Saint Lawrence’s community has known each other longer. Saint Lawrence’s parishioners are older: a higher average age, and a higher proportion of inter-generational membership, id est, they have pensioners whom grandparents were members. Saint Lawrence’s community is more homogenous in ethnicity [slovene]. They have not had a pastor for many years, their priest (that was the administrator) had been, and is, in a nursing home.

In the last year they held the church, at least six Benedictines said the only Sunday Mass. A missionary, who was a son of the parish, said Mass. A retired bishop, who had been a priest there, said Mass. The pastor of Immaculate Heart said Mass there. In short, the parish remained vital, ‘vibrant’ [a word Lennon has admitted he cannot define], financially prosperous, and no drain on the diocese.

Saint Peter’s has a younger community, with few inter-generational memberships, diverse in nationality and a resident pastor. Saint Peter’s is a more ‘progressive’ parish with even more resources.

Now, Saint Peter’s has continued just as before, but at a new address. Saint Lawrence has met as a congregation four times since eviction, but in a more social gathering. The Mass is a meal, but after Mass, Saint Lawrence has had a sit down meal, and sometimes music and dancing. A rump of Saint Lawrence has also met for Mass at the 10 a.m. slovene language Mass at St. Mary in Collinwood. It is quite evident they enjoy each other’s companionship.

What’s the difference? The Laurentians meet ad hoc, while the Petrines meet pro forma.

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