March 2013 entries
Now the news is that Pope Francis has "outraged traditionalists" because he included women in the foot washing ceremony... Washing women's feet on Holy Thursday is not really that "new" or "controversial." Chill out, Media Hype.
Foot washing symbolizes humility and service as important for ALL the faithful, not just men representing the disciples...besides, even if we follow that logic, women should be allowed anyway because it's a common statement in the Catholic Church that Mary is the first disciple, because she is the first to say, "Yes" to Jesus.
Interested in reading more?
The Conclave begins today. In a world of reality shows and tweets about the most personal details of one's life ("Gonna take a shower!"), the Conclave ( Latin: "with a key") is cloaked in the privacy and reverence due so significant an undertaking. The high drama of it all -- the actors in their scarlet robes, following a Tradition older than themselves, all the while aware of the gravity of their role to act in the name of the Holy Spirit-- is beautiful.
As the cardinals gather, I find myself wondering what it is I wish for in a pope. To be sure, the Church is in a critical position. Deceitful men masquerading as priests have abused power and abused children. Our reputation is forever tarnished by those evil predators who will answer to God for their crimes, even if they have been wrongfully shielded from the Courts. Some who call themselves Catholics report not attending mass and not believing in the fundamental beliefs of the faith. Parishes are struggling to operate despite generous offertories because of an obligation to support parochial schools, which can be glorified private schools for an elite social class who believe their children are above public education.
Yes, we are in a critical position. (I've not even mentioned global situations in which Catholics are persecuted for their faith.)
It is enough to make one wonder why anyone is still Catholic these days.
Enter a new pope. A pope who could bring the Church together, a pope who could shepherd the people to greater spirituality, a pope who could create initiatives which alleviate stress from the local parishes and repair our reputation.
Do I have the answers to these problems? No, I am an English teacher who happens to coordinate music at her parish. I have no qualifications whatsoever to suggest remedies to the crises that face a new pope.
But, I do have eyes and ears and sensitivity. I see the sometimes lonely life of the priest and am reminded of Genesis: "It is not good for man to be alone. I shall make for him a suitable partner." Perhaps our American priesthood shortage could be solved by allowing the many godly married men of the Church to enter the seminary. Nepotism no longer poses a serious threat to Church property. Celibacy has not always been a requirement for priests. That change was needed at the time it was made. Perhaps it's time for another change. Perhaps more married couples would seek the counsel of their married priest, who possesses actual (not just theoretical) experience with marriage.
I see the nonexistent youth ministry of the Catholic Church and long for a youth pastor like I had in the Protestant church I grew up in. Ours is a mature, intellectual faith. Many students stop religious education after being confirmed in the eighth grade. A minister devoted solely to youth outreach and education could make all the difference. Instead of sending thousands of dollars a month to a school most of our parish children do not attend, perhaps we could reallocate some of that money to hire an inspirational leader who can assist the parish priest in the crucial ministry of the future of our Church.
For now, I hold close to the Sacraments (aka why I'm still Catholic) and pray for a revitalization in the Holy Catholic Church.
I have a metaphor I use with my students, especially when they are feeling left out or jealous of others. It's the success pie. Here's the basic breakdown:
A common misconception exists that there is a finite amount of success available in the world. We think there is only one success pie. If my friend gets a slice of the success pie, then there must be less left for me.
But, the reality is that we all have our own success pie. If my friend gets a slice of success, I can rejoice with him because he is closer to realizing his full potential. His pie does not borrow from mine. My full potential remains intact.
Like I said: simple.
Yet, for some, this concept seems quite difficult to grasp. Just tonight, someone complimented my husband on his work at a nearby school. Someone in the room just had to pipe up with a correction that such-and-such a school has a better program: "No offense!"
[side note: why do people declare "no offense!" just after being offensive? Saying "no offense!" does not negate your offensive intent.]
To return: The "non-offensive" person in question holds the misconception that there is one success pie. My husband's successful work was viewed as a threat to her child's school. But the reality is that more than one school can have a successful curriculum. In fact, I think our nation would benefit greatly from such a scenario, don't you?
And, thus I implore you, Dear Reader, to remember that many pies adorn the dessert table we call life. Don't allow your insecurity to convince you otherwise.
I spent Friday night with 35 awesome high school students who comprise the cast and production crew of the Montoursville Area High School musical, The Wedding Singer. We ate, painted, costumed, danced, sang, and decorated. And of course, the traditional game of hide and seek was played (the only time I've seen this cast begin to argue! It only lasted a moment though -- phew !).
By 9 am, I was beat and so were the kids. I suppose there is a psychological component to sleeping on the floor of the theatre where they will soon perform. I really can't believe we are in the home stretch!
Save the date: April 11-13, 7 PM.