Sep 23, 2014 1:57 AM
Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol, Massachusetts: A circus-like atmosphere inspired by lukewarm clerics
Father Peter M.J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.L., in "The Catholic Answer, Book 2" says that,"Socializing is inappropriate in the body of the Church; that is for the vestibule and parish hall." (p. 195). Monsignor Peter J. Elliott, in his book entitled Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, has this to say: "The Church should be open well before the liturgy for those who wish to pray privately. Silence is the best preparation for the celebration of the liturgy. Apart from suitable music, no intrusion on the people's right to tranquility before the Eucharist should be tolerated, for example, musical or choral rehearsals, announcements which could be given later, or distractions in the sanctuary or elsewhere. People may meet and talk before Mass, but in an area set well apart from the place where the liturgy is about to be celebrated." (Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, No. 233, p. 87).
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal has this to say: "Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times....Its purpose, however, depends on the time it occurs in each part of the celebration. Thus within the Act of Penitence and again after the invitation to pray, all recollect themselves; but at the conclusion of a reading or the homily, all meditate briefly on what they have heard; then after Communion, they praise and pray to God in their hearts. Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner." (GIRM, No. 45).
Silence should also be observed after Mass until one is outside the Church building, both for respect toward the Blessed Sacrament, and toward those members of the faithful who wish to prolong their thanksgiving after Mass.
At Our Lady Immaculate parish in Athol, Massachusetts, there is no silence before Holy Mass, no reverence. This because there is no real leadership or holy example there. It is routine practice for Catholics to disrespect Jesus' Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament while keeping other Catholics from their prayer. See the above video taken this past Saturday at the parish's 4 PM Vigil Mass.
In the Church, everyone has a duty to be salt and light and to work for the renewal of society. Deacons are no exception. The Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium] of the Second Vatican Council had this to say: "At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed 'not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.' For strengthened in sacramental grace, in communion with the bishop and his group of priests they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, of the Word, and of charity to the People of God...Dedicated to duties of charity and administration, let deacons be mindful of the admonition of Blessed Polycarp: 'Be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all.'" (Lumen Gentium, No. 29). Later in the same document we read, "Ministers of lesser rank are also sharers in the mission and grace of the supreme priest" and that Deacons are "dispensers of Christ's mysteries and servants of the Church" who should in holiness "stand before men as personifications of goodness and friends of God." (Lumen Gentium, No. 41).
But the Deacons who "serve" at Our Lady Immaculate are not "personifications of goodness" or "charity to the People of God." Neither Deacon Scott Colley [who has displayed hatred toward me for defending reverence at Mass, see here] nor Deacon James Linderman serve as models for prayer. In fact, Deacon Linderman spent his time before Mass (as usual) engaging in loud conversation with several people in the congregation, and especially with two women who sing in the choir. It was Deacon Linderman who interrupted my Rosary before a Christmas Eve Mass several years ago - his attitude seems to be "If I'm not going to pray, neither are you."
Father Vincent Miceli, S.J., reminded us some years back, "Rampant immorality is [an] obstacle opposing the work of evangelization. Since conduct follows from convictions, once Catholics cancel their creed from their lives, their conduct inevitably becomes depraved....The decay on all sides of Christian morals makes it not only difficult to bring in those outside the Church, but even to stay in themselves and hold their fellow Catholics within the Church." (Essay entitled The Evangelization of the United States).
It is no surprise that OLI has succumbed to a circus-like atmosphere. The Deacons do not pray. And the people are following their bad example.