Busy Day

Well today should be kinda busy for me here at the parish. Tonight we have our annual turkey party. This is a real hoot, and if you are in the area you should not miss this event. We have a bunch of turkeys, or should that be a flock I don’t know. Anyway, we have all these turkeys and people buy tickets with numbers on them for $.50. We spin a big wheel and the number it lands on wins. Simple, and lots of clean family fun. And a good fundraiser for the church. So the folks will be here most of the day getting ready for that, and on top of that my parents are coming out for the night so I have to clean the spare room.
tomorrow is the memorial service for the fire fighter that dies a few weeks back at home. This will be my first memorial service for a fire fighter so please pray for me and the family.
Sunday the usual church service and coffee hour and then some rest. The bishop comes next week so we will be cleaning and sprucing things up around here. More on this latter…

Election Season

I am not one to preach politics from the pulpit. I do not think it is the place of the clergy to preach about political topics. People in this country, for better or worse, do not want anyone telling them how to vote. People who vote want to be able to make up their own mind. Now, I am not saying that the clergy should not speak about issues and inform the people where the church stands on such things as abortion, capitol punishment, war, etc. but we need to be careful how we put the message across.
With the election only a few weeks away how are we to vote? Are there candidates that as orthodox we could support? Are there candidates that hold to the positions that we hold? Can an orthodox person vote for someone they know supports abortion or capitol punishment? How are we to work all of this out? These are just some of the issues that the clergy face each day.
There are no easy answers to these questions but we need to try and work them out for ourselves.

Scottish Saints

Since I am in my Celtic mood I thought I would post today’s saint from Scotland. Not much is known about today’s saint. I took this information from Catholic Online.

St. Marnock

Feastday: October 25 & March 1

Irish bishop, a disciple of St. Columba. He resided on Jona, Scotland, and is also called Marnan, Marnanus, or Marnoc. He died at Annandale and is revered on the Scottish border. His name was given to Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Bookshelf

Fr. Greg had a post today about the books he is working his way through so I thought I would post a list here of what I am trying to get through. Now a word of caution, I am not actively reading all these books, but I am reading them. Here is the list;

God is Love – Pope Benedict XVI
Clans & Chiefs – Ian Grimble
Scotland, The Story of a Nation – Magnus Magnusson (Love that name)
A Church in Search of itself – Robert Blair Kaiser
Bannock Burn – Charles Randolph Bruce
Celtic Christianity – Timothy Joyce

As you can see I am going through my Celtic phase right now.

Going My Way

Yesterday I watched the movie Going My Way staring Bing Crosby. During the movie the host gives out several facts about the movie and the production. The actor that plays the gruff priest Fr. Fitzgibbons, Barry Fitzgerald, was nominated for the best supporting actor and the best actor for the same movie. This was the first and last time this happened. Barry won the best supporting actor award for his role, and the next year the rule was changed so an actor can only be nominated in one category per movie.

Liturgy of St James

Today is the feast of St. James the brother of our Lord. Fr. Greg and I served the Divine Liturgy of St. James. We had been preparing for this for months and it turned out okay. A very different liturgy then the one that Orthodox are used too. Much of it is spoken and the prayers of the priest of wonderful. The Liturgy begins at the entrance to the church and moves to the middle where the priest remains until the time of the great entrance. Communion is another different part of the Liturgy. Served in the hand and then the communicant drinks from the cup. Many people from around the council of churches attended the liturgy. It was nice to see so many people out for this feast day.

Wednesday

I guess you could consider today to be a very busy day for me. I have no less then three meetings to attend to today. And I guess you could say that they are some what ministry related. First up is a local planning meeting. As chaplain for the Fire Department I have been asked to participate in this meeting with the leaders in the town. As we prepare for emergencies that I hope never come I will be the person who links the town with clergy in the area in case we need them for housing or counseling.
After that, off to Framingham for a meeting of Massachusetts Volunteers Active in Disaster. Tis group is a collection of NGO’s that will be called upon in the event of a disaster in Massachusetts. Organizations like the Red Cross and Salvation Army belong to this organization. I will be representing the International Orthodox Christian Charities here in Massachusetts. The hope is that we could play some role here in the satate if something did happen. After our response last year to the Gulf Coast we are trying to be more proactive in our response.
In beteewn these two meetings, I have to meet with some folks to plan a memorial service for a a fire fighter that we lost over the weekend.
There is another meeting this evening, but I am not sure about that one. We shall see.
Sometime in there I need to pray and do some office work. Busy day today, I love it!

Latin Mass

Word has reached us here in the village that Pope Benedict is going to sign what is called in the Roman Church as a Universal Indult. Since the suppression on the Latin Mass after Vatican II, bishops have had the discretion to allow the Latin Mass to be said at certain times in certain places. Many of the diocese have at least one Latin Mass a week. Now, the discretion will be held by the individual priest. I find this very interesting. As a child, the Latin Mass had already gone out of style and the Novus Ordo, the New Order, had taken hold. I have never been to a Latin Mass but as one who constantly advocates for the use of the vernacular in all this liturgical I find this move very troubling.
Since most people did not understand Latin, private devotions become the thing at Mass. You could see people saying the Rosary or reading from their prayer books. Is that what we are trying to get back too? As Orthodox, look around our churches and see how many young people there are in our churches when the liturgical language is not the vernacular. Of course if the parish is strictly an immigrant parish it would be different. I look at my own parish. We are in the third generation here and if the language were to switch back to Romanian I believe that the third generation, as well as the converts, would slip away.
As an outsider I think the church needs to look at liturgical reform and how we can make the church relevant in the world today. What can we do in this regard? One of the reasons the Orthodox Church spread as far and as fast as it did in the east was that the early missionaries learned the language of the people and did not force them to learn a new language. Then we come to America, and bring our church with us, and force people to learn a new language. This needs much more thought and discussion than I am giving it here so please be patient.
So that’s the ramble for now. Blessed Sunday to all.

St. Snuffie

Yesterday I posted about church names and I mentioned if it was up to me, I would choose the name St. Snuffies. Some of you asked for the story behind that particular comment. Okay here it is.
When I was teaching middle school some years back, I would often use the name Snuffie in examples in class. “Snuffie and his sister went to the store to buy some bread” things like that. In religion class I would often use the same name but call him St. Snuffie. The kids loved it and always wanted to hear more stories about Snuffie and his/her (gender would depend on the situation) family and friends.
So there it is the Story of St. Snuffie, a modern day saint for all people and I think will become the patron saint of this blog.

St. Parascheva

Today on the Romanian Church Calendar is the feast of St. Parascheva. I believe her feast is latter in the year on the Greek calendar. I had the opportunity last night to travel to our church in Wakefield, Massachusetts under the patronage of St. Parascheva for a Vespers service. Presided over by our new Vicar Bishop Ioan Casian the service was very moving. It was especially moving for me as this is the Orthodox Church that I cut my teeth in. This was the first Church that I attended on a regular basis at the time I was a Byzantine Catholic Seminarian studying at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Massachusetts. This was my first trip back and it was a pleasure to stand at the altar and serve vespers as priest. Everyone used Romanian, and when the time came for me to participate, I used English. The one sad part was that there were only about 6 people in the congregation for this service. They are having a liturgy today for their feast and another on Sunday. The crowd will be larger then. Happy Feast day to our friends in Wakefield.
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