I will admit that my pastor frustrates me. I wish I could say that liturgical abuses didn't happen at my parish, but they do. Most of these are minor when you look at the abominations which occur in other parishes, but they still shouldn't happen. I don't think it was always this way, or maybe he was, but I didn't realize it at the time because I was...ummm...liturgically "progressive". I will even admit to being at least partially at fault for some of the liturgical abuses which take place at my parish. Many years ago I was convinced that these things would be a great advancement and would make great progress in growing the faith of the congregation. Although, I now realize the harm I caused and I can't make it the way it was, Father does not. Still, Masses at my church don't have giant puppets, unordained homilists, liturgical dancers, or butterfly kites and I am grateful for that.
All of this has made me rather bitter and on more than a few occasions I wondered why I was still at that parish. Then, Father got very sick and we were subjected to the neverending cycle of "rent-a-priests". Some of these were very good and others were worse than I could ever imagine. This made me think about how lucky we are to even have a priest and not only only a priest, but a choice of parishes. I have the option to go to Mass at another parish with very little effort. Actually, to get to my parish requires that I drive through several territorial and ethnic parishes. There are parishes where there are no priests and Sunday celebrations are lead by deacons and laity. We are blessed indeed.
I am not saying that the liturgical abuses at my parish are ok, they are not, but I have chosen to stay put, pray for my pastor, and give as much gentle guidance as possible. The reality is that he has been a dear friend for many years and the thought of losing him both to death and illness has changed my perspective on these matters.
I go to Mass for Christ, I am Catholic because of Christ, and I pray for my priest to Christ. I pray that he will understand that Christ is the Point and because of that these abuses will stop. Please pray for him, for me, and for my parish. Because Christ is the point, I will stand with him and do my best to guide him both for the souls of the congregation, for his soul, and for my soul as well.