From the Pastor: Quite a Week!
Last week was busy around here, and it was a good busy. First of all, our parish mission was a huge success, as measured by the spiritual benefits bestowed upon all who were present for the multiple Masses and conferences. Many thanks to Canon Talarico and Canon Huberfeld for all of the holy insights imparted upon this community! I knew the mission was going to be a great gift to the community by seeing how the demons attacked our AC systems when the priests first showed up and then continued to do so throughout the week. Our rectory AC on the bottom floor, where my office is, as well as the chapel, kitchen, and laundry room, froze up and quit working the day they arrived. We were able to get it working again, but it sure is strange timing. One other time a mission was being held here the upper floor AC went out, making for miserable sleeping conditions in very hot weather. That time the fix took longer to happen. Then, as you probably noticed if you stayed for coffee and donuts last Sunday, the AC in the social hall quit working. Rebooting the system, resetting the breakers, and kicking the units didn’t seem to do much of anything. Then one night, during a “heated” mission talk, I was sitting next to the thermostat and decided to turn the compressors off and keep the fans running. All I accomplished was having the thermostat blink on and off, on and off, on and off, making clicking sounds as it did so, for the next five minutes or so before the screen finally just stayed blank completely. Turning the compressors from “cool” to “off” and the fan from “auto” to “on” should not have had that effect. But the demons seem to love working through all electronic devices, and revel in doing the most ridiculous things to show that, or at least make it seem like, they are in charge. But the next morning, although the system was supposedly shut off, it was freezing in the hall! The thermostat screen was back on, the compressors were on, the fans were on, and, although showing that the temperature was set for 74 degrees, it was also showing the actual temperature of 68! No amount of settings changes made any difference at all. But which is worse for sitting through a mission talk? 82 degrees or 68? Half the congregation likes it hot while the other half likes it cold. It seems that the demons figured that they would negatively affect those who found the previously high temperatures quite nice so as to not allow anyone to enjoy the whole mission in this regard! But what they failed to do is realize that the talks were good enough that everyone was willing to “suffer” (or, more accurately, put up with a very small inconvenience) for a while in order to grow in holiness. By the time this bulletin is published, we may even have the AC working properly again. If not, mildly hot or cold temperatures won’t hurt anyone all too much.
Not to be overlooked, we have a new addition to the front of the church building. The Baker family had, many years ago, decades, even, donated the very large wooden cross that was attached to the front right side of the church front. Over the years the wood had not only been weathered by the sun and rain but had also been munched on by termites. (Do you remember the huge black tarps covering the church shortly after we arrived as we exterminated those pests?) It was in need of being replaced and the Knights of Columbus volunteered to take on the project for the parish. They replaced the plain wooden cross with a very nice crucifix. After the 10:30 Sunday Mass last week I solemnly blessed the crucifix in the presence of the two mission priests, Fr. Mangiafico, the altar boys who had just served Mass, and whoever made it out the front doors in time for the blessing. The next time you look up at that crucifix, please say a prayer for the repose of the souls of any of the Bakers who have passed since the original donation and for blessings upon any who are still with us, as well as our Knights of Columbus who worked so hard to make this replacement a truly noble and worthy gift to the parish. I’m sure the Bakers would be proud.
One more very notable thing happened last week, and, although it was not at Epiphany, it still is worth noting, as it affects the Church throughout (especially, though not exclusively) the entire US. Bishop Joseph Strickland was unceremoniously and, seemingly at least (to give every benefit of the doubt), without cause, forced out of his role as Bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. Speaking the truth about what is happening in Rome is absolutely necessary for a priest or Bishop’s own salvation as well as that of his flock, and, under normal circumstances, he would be commended for doing so. But at a time when Fr. Rupnik can molest dozens of religious Sisters and still preach a Papal Retreat, still retain his faculties, and even be incardinated into a diocese; at a time when Religious Sisters, priests, and Bishops can openly promote homosexual unions and the blessings thereof; at a time when Bishops and Cardinals bow down in prayer before Pachamama; and when all of the aforementioned evildoers remain in good standing and are even shown approval, the faithful, bold sister, priest, or Bishop who simply does what God expects a faithful servant to do will not be tolerated. Please pray for Bishop Strickland. “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:10)
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka