Sunday, November 20, 2005

"Our Lady's Friends" visit my parish

I'm not very good at crowd estimates, but I'd guess that at least 250-300 red-attired, button-boasting guests from Newton, Massachusetts' Our Lady, Help of Christians (and their friends from "Voice of the Faithful"[TM]) dropped in for Mass (and protest) at Cathedral of the Holy Cross today. Permit me to address them.

First, thank you for coming. We're a small parish, despite the size of the church building, and it's always good to see the pews more amply filled. You are cordially welcome to join us in worship anytime your buses are available to bring you into the city. Remember always that this is your Cathedral, and the Cathedral of every Catholic in the Archdiocese of Boston.

With this is mind, let me offer a few words of counsel.

Please change your name. I do hope that you are "friends of Our Lady," but I don't think that using a Mass — any Mass, but particularly one to honor her Son as King — to protest would please our Blessed Mother. You might consider a more appropriate name, like "Walter Cuenin's Friends."

Please do not bring food and beverages into the church. While we're happy to welcome you, we're not all that happy about picking up empty Dunkin' Donuts coffee containers after Mass.

Please remain standing until the deacon or master of ceremonies places the Book of Gospels on to the high altar.

Please pony up a bit as the collection basket passes your way. For those of you who contributed, thank you. But next time, you might consider more than a dollar. For those of you who thew a penny into the baskets, please know that in our parish, this is known as "rude."

Please kneel after the Agnus Dei. (That would be the prayer that translates into "Lamb of God.")

Please consider a change of costume. I love red myself, but it's the color reserved for martyrs. (There are no martyrs in your situation, regardless of how you might feel about your former pastor.)

Please consider losing the buttons. This is a house of worship, not a political convention arena. The focus is on Christ...not on you.

Please leave your signs at home. See above. If you have a disagreement with the Archbishop, the place to voice that agreement is the Chancery...a building with which you are very familiar. (And besides — duh! — the Archbishop is rarely, if ever, at the Cathedral on Sundays!)

Please do not ignore the one or two victims of abuse that remain faithful to their witness even after you folks abandoned them. This makes you look very, very bad. I noticed only one red-shirted lady — bless her — who took a moment to shake their hands. (Correct me if I'm wrong...aren't you the folks who's Numero Uno raison d'etre is to "support victims of abuse?)

Thank you for attention. Again, on behalf of my fellow parishioners, thank you for joining us...and don't be strangers!