A friend wrote me recently expressing his fear that the Holy Father may have inaugurated the new Holy Year at a most inopportune moment of the reigning world tension over international threats of terrorism. With pilgrims in great numbers descending upon Rome it would be nigh impossible to protect the holy places from suicide bombers and random-shooting gunmen. My friend worried that these sacred edifies of irreplaceable value–Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel among them–could be reduced to utter ruin.
Hearing today about the environmental light-show that was permitted to be projected upon the façade of Saint Peter’s for the opening of the Holy Year last week I fear that the destruction of the holy places has already taken place–not ‘bodily’ (in the sense of the physical structures) but in their ‘soul.’ Some have aptly judged it to be a “sacrilege” to use the most sacred edifice of the Catholic Church as a backdrop for the images of lions, tigers, snakes and the like. I’m compelled to agree. Is nothing sacred anymore? It makes one wonder about the prophecy of the abomination that is said to be erected in the holy place...
On another unhappy note, I’ve been asked to address a word to you about people who may be asking you for money. I have not had to write about this for a long while but the time may have come round again. Contrary to how things may seem, it is not generally good to be giving money to those who are panhandling. While I would not want to discourage good works proceeding from your generous hearts, the truth is that charities of this kind may do more harm than good, even to the one asking. Our parish has a competent way of assessing real needs of this kind and of offering help where the need is deemed genuine. When our people begin to give handouts on their own, a balance is upset which addresses the way these matters are effectively and best handled. Moreover, there is the good possibility that the receiver is enabled to continue on in fraudulent claims of need which would only be to his spiritual disadvantage. Please refer all requests to the rectory where these matters are best controlled. One can always donate to our parish’s Saint Vincent de Paul Helpers to assist those with real needs. I thank you for your cooperation.
Two notes of a more cheery kind.
Saturday is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe whose image is so familiar to us. I remarked in my sermon on Immaculate Conception Day that our Lady is depicted there, in miraculous fashion, as being enveloped by the sun, a symbol of the radiance of divine grace. In that image She is ‘great with child,’ making Her an apt object for our meditation during Advent. She is still awaited as the one who will crush the serpent’s head–an expectation that is direly sought in these upsetting times.
The other thing pleasant to dwell on is Gaudete Sunday. Today’s liturgical lift is meant to direct our thoughts to the coming of the Lord’s nativity with joyful anticipation. This is the day whence the commencement of Christmas decorations makes good sense. We already begin to feel the closeness of the feast of the nativity of the Son of God. It’s also a kind of ‘last call’ for doing something spiritually rewarding for Advent, for a more meaningful Christmas. The Advent Novena will begin this Wednesday when we will hear once again those wonderfully poetic prophecies about the coming of the Lord who would unite fallen humanity to Himself.
Today in the gym after the noon Mass our Grotto parishioners will be asked for their input on the Archdiocesan Synod to be held next year. This is the chance for our people to make their voices heard regarding the way they believe the local Church should be moving for the future. One should not crab about things in the Church without at least having made the effort to change things as they are. This may well be that chance. I was told that a complementary lunch will be served to participants. Kindly speak your mind and make good use of this opportunity to help the Archbishop of Detroit.
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Fr. Perrone: Pope's Jubilee and terrorism, St. Peter's light show, alms and panhandling, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Gaudete Sunday, and an upcoming archdiocesan synod
Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, December 13, 2015):