He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: We Are Catholic! And Lent Stuff
First of all, a big “Thank You” goes out to Bishop Gregory Parkes for visiting our parish and bestowing the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Old Rite upon young members of Epiphany, Immaculate Conception Haitian Mission, and St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission. In this simple act he, in effect, told the parishioners of all three parishes that, as tiny as they may be, they are not forgotten or ignored by their Bishop. Yowza! By Confirming in the Old Rite, he also specifically let the TLM parishioners know that he recognizes them (and the Extraordinary Form Rites) to be as Catholic as Ordinary Form Catholics and Rites. My brother priests who sent their children for Confirmation, as well as those who were Confirmed, all said the same through their actions. Double Yowza! While those unfamiliar with the treatment often bestowed upon small parishes by Bishops and upon TLM communities by everybody might wonder why this is a big deal (after all, isn’t a Catholic a Catholic?) trust me, this is truly huge.
Now to get into Lent. We started out Lent in a fine manner at the rectory. On Ash Wednesday the priests were unable to shower or use the water for any purpose due to a sewage backup in the laundry room. The office staff, too, had to trek over to the school to use the facilities once they got to work. Although somebody quipped that we could give up the three big morning S’s for Lent (if you don’t know, don’t ask!) we don’t have to because Dyser Plumbing came through for us again and by evening we had the ability to run the water without flooding the first floor. So now we have to find another penance. Darn.
Last year I suggested that during Lent all of you read up on Hell. This year might I suggest reading something on Purgatory? Again, St. Thomas Aquinas is the master of theology to whom I would suggest you turn, especially in the Summa Theologica. It is available online for free. In it you will find answers to such questions as, Whether the pains of Purgatory surpass all the temporal pains of this life? and Whether this punishment is voluntary?. His treatment of Purgatory is rather short, in fact, it is the shortest of those I am suggesting here. Dante’s classic spiritual poem Purgatorio, the second book in his Divine Comedy trilogy, is another great read, especially if you read Inferno last year. You will journey with him through seven levels of Purgatory, one level each for cleansing (through suffering and spiritual growth) of each of the seven deadly sins. Another good source of information comes from Rev. Fr. F. X. Schouppe (remember that last year I suggested his book, Hell: The Dogma of Hell). This year I suggest following up with Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints. It is a fascinating (and sometimes scary) read. Find it at Tan Books. They have a good selection of other books on Purgatory, too, and everything they publish can be trusted to be fully Catholic. Each of these suggested sources for material dealing with Purgatory will give you different insights into this very real place. Mix and match by taking one author’s writings on Hell and a different author’s writings on Purgatory to get a different perspective, or stick with the same one for both topics if the first one really touched you deeply. Theology, inspired religious poetry and personal stories each appeal to the truth in different manners. Find your favorite!
Finally for today, I leave you with a word of warning to those of you who will be attending our 6:00 pm Potluck this Wednesday evening. I was recently going through some of my cookbooks and came across one that I haven’t actually used, but, because it is Lent, it seems like the proper time finally get around to it. It is the Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, subtitled, 33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect Lenten meal? It is truly a fascinating book, with something entertaining and informative on every page. For instance, in many a cookbook you will find an image of a cow with the various cuts of beef labeled for you, indicating the proper means of cooking each one. In this book under the title Choice Cuts, there is an image of a grasshopper with his parts listed. Here is the beginning of the explanation: “There’s not a lot of what we think of as ‘meat’ on most food arthropods. The large strands of longitudinal muscle (the dark meat, so to speak) that operate an arthropod’s legs, wings and tail are sumptuous fare, whether they happen to belong to a scorpion or a snow crab...” Everybody loves snow crab, so let’s try other arthropods! Some interesting bug recipes: Three Bee Salad, Cockroach a la King, Alpha-Bait Soup, and Party Pupae. And the best thing about cooking bugs? You can eat them on Fridays without breaking the rules of abstinence!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka