Monday, June 12, 2006

From a parish bulletin ...

My son, Nathan, who serves in the U.S. Navy, has spent time in some fairly exotic places, like Rota, Spain, just West of Cadiz. More recently, after a tour of duty at sea, which took him to Iraq, he was stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia. Now he has been re-assigned to Gulfport, Mississippi, where he and his wife have finally settled and bought a house, where he is now mastering the art of tiling his own floors.

One of the big decisions after such a move is where to go to church. After visiting two or three churches in the area, they finally found a parish they liked. It has a school attached to the church, is active, and has a pastor, an African, who strikes them as theologically sound (it's a shame, but a necessary one, that laity should have to take upon itself the business of assessing the theological soundness of clergy these days).

But one thing that bothered Nathan was that the Tabernacle was placed in an obscure corner where it was apparently hardly accessible, let alone prominently visible. He sent the priest a message about it, mentioning the problem. Then, after the next Sunday Mass, Nathan spoke briefly with the priest on the way out of the church, asking him if he received the communication; but, of course the priest was brief with him, as he was in the midst of greeting his parishioners after Mass, and Nathan thought this would go nowhere. So Nathan arranged a meeting with the priest, and they spoke for about twenty minutes about the problem. The next Sunday, the following announcement appeared in the parish bulletin at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Gulfport, Mississippi, where the Rev. Joseph Uko is Pastor (228) 864-2272:
In our last Pastoral Council meeting, it was decided that we relocate the tabernacle for the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist to the main part of the Sanctuary. It is to be located in a place that is distinguished, conspicuous, beautifully decorated and suitable for prayer. The bishop has given his blessings and is very delighted with our decision. The bishop says "in purchasing a new tabernacle, it should be immovable, made of solid and opaque materials and capable of being locked to avoid the danger of profanation." A good tabernacle is expensive and runs into several thousand dollars. I am asking everyone to make a donation for the purchase of this tabernacle. Please make your check to St. John the Evangelist.
Is it not nice, for a change, to hear news of something positive, of a voice that was heard, of an actual response to a legitimate request?! Thank you, Nathan. Thank you, Pastor Joseph Uko. Thank you, Bishop Thomas J. Rodi. Thank you, God.

Contributions toward the purchase of the tabernacle may be sent to the address below (Make checks out to "St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church" and specify "For Tabernacle Renovation Project"):

Rev. Joseph Uko, Pastor
Tabernacle Renovation Project
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church
Gulfport, Mississippi
(228) 864-2272

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