From the Pastor: Mission? Football? Soup and Stations!
A few weeks ago I let you know that the renowned holy Jesuit priest, Fr. Vincent Capuano, was coming back to the US for a short visit and that he was going to be giving us a Parish Mission one of the first two weeks of Lent. Unfortunately, he has still not been able to make it out of Argentina so the Mission is iffy at this point. If he manages to get here and is still available to do this for us, I will let you know. It might be a simple matter of having it later in Lent than we had originally planned. Please keep him in your prayers. [UPDATE: Father is set to arrive this weekend!] Late last year, before Fr. Vincent said that he would like to do it, I had asked a small TLM priest community if they would be able to come during Lent should any parish cancel on them. I thought there was a pretty good possibility of that happening due to state and local covid restrictions. I heard back from them. Their bishop asked them to cancel all of their Missions due to covid. So they might not be coming for at least a few more years (remember when it was just “two weeks”?) as we watch this thing play out.
Speaking of play, last week Tampa hosted the Superbowl. Many thanks to all of you who invited me over to watch the Big Game with our own local team participating as well as hosting. I had to decline all the invitations, though, as I haven’t watched a game since all of those bozos in the NFL competed with each other to see who could best “virtue signal” by taking a knee at the National Anthem. It was bad enough in the past when it was just one player making a fool (this is a church bulletin so I am limiting my vocabulary here) of himself, joined by just a few other miscreants looking for attention, and I was able to just ignore a couple of teams. But this time around the whole NFL went crazy, including the owners, and I just couldn’t stand (sorry about that!) supporting them while they knelt. The foolishness proved to be more contagious than a certain coronavirus which is interfering with our Parish Mission! Basketball players quickly upped the ante and made the football players look sane. All too soon I had to scratch Major League Baseball off my list as well. But at least, thought I, I still have hockey! But, alas, even players of such a manly sport turned into a bunch of little girls who were afraid of being called names if they didn’t follow suit. Heck, even Nascar got into the act. I never saw that coming. Of course, it was a lousy year to turn off the sports, as our Rays won the American League Pennant, making it to the World Series, our Bolts won the Stanley Cup, and our Bucs won the Lombardi Trophy. But it seems that I wasn’t alone in saying “You’re on your own” to football, as the Superbowl ratings were the worst since 2007. The chance of me coming back to fandom ranks right up there with the chances of Catholics flocking back to Mass if and when their bishops ever encourage/allow them to do so. It might happen, but something has to change, perhaps with management once again realizing what the whole purpose of their game/religion is.
The purpose of the Catholic religion is, of course, to give us both the natural and supernatural means necessary to know, love, and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next. We are currently on a pilgrimage through this life, journeying toward Heaven, following Our Lord’s command and example to take up our cross and follow Him. We do this in a fairly literal manner, especially on Fridays of Lent, when we walk the Way of the Cross, stopping at each of 14 Stations to recall what happened to Jesus at each of these places as He paid the price of our eternal salvation by offering His Life for ours. Starting on the first Friday of Lent, we will be praying these stations in the church at 5:30 pm. Following this spiritual journey, we will proceed to the social hall where we hope to find 50 or 60 Crockpots, Instantpots, and/or dutch ovens filled with your homemade, delicious, meatless soups! Last year this sharing of soups proved to be a big hit. Everyone got to the stations early (note the EARLY part so that we have time to set your soup pot in place), put their soup pot and ladle (both marked with the family name so that they go home with whoever brought it) in rows on the tables set out for this purpose, and went into the church to pray. After Stations, we all came back out and sampled as many small bowls of soup as possible! Sometimes there were multiples of certain soups and it is amazing how each was flavored so differently. Bring your favorite or try something new! An index card specifying the type of soup is very helpful. It can also include other information like “gluten free” or “allergy warning: contains peanuts and shellfish.”
This year when we wrap up (8:00 pm), if anyone likes, I will stay and give short classes on how to use your missal. Many of you are new to the TLM and the missal is quite daunting. I will try to answer your questions and get you more comfortable following along at Mass.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka