Thursday, June 09, 2011

Please, Father Unni. An open letter to Father John Unni, Pastor, Saint Cecilia, Boston


Saint Ephrem

Father John J. Unni, Pastor
Saint Cecilia Parish
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Father Unni,

In reading your parish bulletin of June 5, 2011, I was struck by the prayerful vibrancy of your parish. Please be assured that your parishioners, particularly the ill and deceased for whom you have asked prayers, as well as yourself, are remembered in my daily conversations with Our Lord.

Too, one cannot help but be inspired by, and grateful for, the active, Christ-like activities of so many of your parishioners. And, of course, the progress your parish has made in your renovations is nothing short of amazing, particularly given these difficult economic times.

It is, I know, not usually up to the sheep to counsel the shepherd. Yet I fear I cannot remain silent at a disturbing notice I read in your latest bulletin:

Liturgy to Commemorate Boston Pride 2011

The Rainbow Ministry of Saint Cecilia Parish invites all friends and supporters of the LGBT community to a Mass in celebration of Boston’s Pride Month. The liturgy will take place on Sunday evening, June 19, at six o’clock, with a reception following. The theme of the liturgy, “All Are Welcome,” honors Christ’s message of hope and salvation to all people. We will also celebrate the diverse community that finds its home at Saint Cecilia and acknowledge, in a special way, the generous and warm welcome extended to the members of the Jesuit Urban Center in 2007. The Mass will be celebrated by Father John Unni and concelebrated by several of the priests who faithfully ministered at the Jesuit Urban Center for so many years. Please plan to attend this special liturgy and support the diversity that makes Saint Cecilia such a special place.

To put it in the only way I know how: What the BLEEP are you DOING???

Forgive my emotional response, but in this case I believe it is called for. Because you see, dear Father Unni, I truly believe that you are sincere in your desire to be what is called "inclusive"—and I admire that tremendously.

Only you're going about it the wrong way.

Perhaps you do not quite see it this way, but this is the way it is: in trying to be "inclusive" to your parishioners—to say nothing of others who might be attracted to the message you are sending out—you are, in fact, abetting the exclusion of your flock from the Catholic Church.

Surely you are well versed in Church teachings. We, as one Body in Christ, embrace all, of course. We do not, under any circumstances, condemn those who, for whatever reason, are sexually attracted to those of the same gender. Indeed, we pray for them, and offer whatever support we can. The apostolate Courage comes immediately to mind, but there are many other resources...including loving pastors.

I beg you, Father Unni, please do not use—I might say abuse—the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to "celebrate" what is clearly contrary to the teachings of the Church as handing down to us by the Divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I understand that there is a movement afoot, calling upon people to protest this Mass to Cardinal O'Malley. I pray that this not happen, which is why this is an open letter. I pray that it not be necessary. I pray, above all, that you reconsider your plans and turn your enthusiasm, instead, toward saving the people entrusted to you...and to recognize what the word "inclusion" really means.

May The Risen Lord continue to bless you, and may we all benefit from the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ,

Kelly Thatcher