Hardcore Catholicism vs. Catholic Lite?

 

 

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

I know that just by the title of this article, some will read out of mere curiosity, while others will be overjoyed that the Pastor has written another bulletin article after what has been a bit of a hiatus, but trust me; it is not because I have not wanted to, it is simply because I have had a bit of a dry period with regards to ideas.

This past Ash Wednesday and an all-day meeting the following day with Bishop Barres and my brother priests from the Oyster Bay Deanery (which by the way encompasses 10 parishes, 9 of which are north of Jericho Turnpike) has changed that! By the time, you finish reading this article; you may very well have learned something new or simply had your memory refreshed from days gone by.  We have begun the solemn season of Lent with bare sanctuaries, the absence of the word All***ia, fasting, praying, and the use of the somber and austere color purple.  All these signs and practices help to remind us that this is a special season, a time of grace, a time of reconciliation, a time set apart.

This past Ash Wednesday, St. Boniface, like so many other Catholic Parishes around the world had large numbers of people present, many of whom were simply present to covet those valuable and precious ashes! When I arrived at St. Boniface, there were 2 Ash Wednesday Masses (8 AM and 12:15 PM) and 2 services (4 PM and 7:30 PM), and as a Pastor, I felt that perhaps we should offer mass at 4 PM, rather than just a service.  A large number of Religious Education students and their families attend and so as to stress the importance of the Mass and the graces received in the Mass, I changed the 4 PM service to a Mass.  One naysayer (as you know there’s always one in every crowd) told me, “They will never stay; they will all leave as soon as the ashes are distributed.” I must admit; I thought this person would be correct, but much to my surprise and delight, practically all stayed for the entire Mass! After communion, I announced how happy I was and that they were TRUE HARD CORE CATHOLICS! They get it that receiving the Eucharistic Lord is so much more important than ashes!

A suggestion for a Lenten devotion, if you have not already chosen one might be to attend daily mass one or two days a week.  We have a brand new million dollar plus Church and the other priests and I would love to see more parishioners at daily Mass.  While numbers are slightly up some days and the Church is indeed, more conducive to prayer and silence, we would still like to see more people.  I know of several people who said they would attend daily Mass more frequently, if only we used the Church.  The heat has to be on for the pipe organ anyway, so here is YOUR chance!

The Mass is a powerful and effective.  Did you know there is something called The Fruits of the Mass? In fact, there are many fruits to the Mass; these are Divine Heavenly treasures and graces God bestows on the Faithful who attend Mass.  Here is one example which if you are still reading might cause you some discomfort, but maybe that is God speaking to you.  “Each time you attend Mass, you can do more to pay for the penalty of your sins, than by the severest work of penance.” Something to really think about!

While I realize some people work and their schedules do not allow them to attend Mass here at 8 AM, why not consider finding a parish near work or school? Some parishes add extra Masses during Lent, and that is something I am considering here next Lent as well.  As Pastor, I should probably tell you that I have been told people will not come, but then again that is what people (a few albeit) said about adding the noon Mass on Sunday and although the numbers vary on any given Sunday, numbers have increased at that Mass as well, particularly in the Winter months.

Finally, if one simply cannot attend Mass then why not consider having Mass(es) offered for your loved ones, both living and deceased, including YOUR OWN FAMILY.  The offering is $20.  One of the things I have noticed here is that MANY MASSES go unannounced.  People seem to only want Sundays; perhaps it is because they want to be there; however, whether you are there or not does not really matter.  What truly matters is that the Fruits of the Mass are applied for the salvation of the soul for whom Mass is being said.

—Fr.  Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears periodically here and in our Parish Bulletin.

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