Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 15, 1999
WCR Letters to the Editor
Young altar servers welcomed
Re: "Encourage teens to be altar servers" (WCR Feb. 22). There are several misleading statements made in this letter.
This letter states that the only lay ministers reading the Word or helping with the Holy Communion are in the 39-to-62-year age bracket, which would also lead us to believe that there are no lectors under the age of 39.
This is simply not true, as Sundre's lectors range in age from 12 to over 65, with at least four lectors under 18. Everyone who is capable is welcomed and encouraged to participate in the ministry.
We believe that the acolytes or adult servers who serve Holy Communion should be 18 or older, and again everyone who is capable is encouraged and invited to participate in this ministry.
To suggest that the altar servers are lucky if they can light or blow out candles is also false. The altar servers do light and blow out the candles every week. They participate in the entire Mass as altar servers, which is a service we are very grateful for.
All teenagers in the parish community of Sundre are encouraged to be active participants in the Church by coming to youth group, reading at Mass, participating in stations of the cross, and taking part in youth Masses. Many do so eagerly.
Families with teens bring up gifts, teens hand out bulletins, teens can even take up collections, and now up to two teens are also allowed to sit on parish council.
I would agree with the writer that we have a duty to attract teenagers to the altar and priesthood but hopefully first and foremost to God through Jesus Christ by the faithful example of their parents or guardians.
Parish Pastoral Council
Our parish has young ministers too
I am writing in response to the letter by Mary Feddema "Encourage teens to be altar servers" in the Feb. 22 WCR.
In her letter Feddema stated that "The only lay ministers we see reading the Word or helping with Holy Communion are in the 39-to-62 plus bracket.
I myself am 20 and I regularly help by handing out Holy Communion in my parish. I also know of a great number of young people in other parishes who serve their community through handing out Holy Communion, and reading God's Word.
Even among those who are not exceptionally young (as in up to 25), there are a great number who are far from 40.
I am not saying that we shouldn't encourage our young people to serve in their parishes - this would be a very rewarding experience for them - but I am saying that Feddema was incorrect in her statement.
Anti-Catholic rhetoric in Parliament
I was surprised and disappointed at the anti-Catholic remarks made by MP Steve Mahoney (Mississauga West) in the House of Commons last week during the stay-at-home parents debate.
Mahoney attacked MP Jason Kenney (Calgary West), a Catholic and former member of the board of the Catholic Civil Rights League who is single and who sponsored a family motion to end the income tax discrimination against single-income families with children.
Surprisingly Mahoney said: "For that member (Kenney) to stand here and talk about the issue of stay-at-home parents is like a Catholic priest acting like a marriage counsellor, so I don't think we have to take what he says too seriously."
Michael Schwartz, a former director of the Public Affairs for the Catholic League and Civil Rights (U.S.), recently asked why is it that "Tolerant, enlightened people, people of good will and decency, become angry at the suggestion that anti-Catholicism may still be a problem.
"They will rise up in righteous indignation at the slightest hint of racism, anti-Semitism, sexism or any other discernable prejudice - except for prejudice against Catholics."
Similarly, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan expressed puzzlement that anti-Catholicism is "the one form of bigotry which liberalism still curiously seems to tolerate."
Mahoney's representation of the people in Mississauga West leaves a lot to be desired not to mention his hurtful performance in the House of Commons.
Catholic Civil Rights League
Way of Cross ignores right to life
Last year during the annual Outdoor Way of the Cross, I was encouraged to hear the right to life mentioned in the opening remarks. With the ever-increasing influence of a culture of death in our society we know that prayer is essential if we are to effectively address the injustices that result from violations against life.
Thus, it seemed appropriate that the sanctity of life would be included as one of the areas of concern at this social justice prayer event.
Regrettably, my optimism was diminished after learning of this ecumenical organizing committee's decision to exclude right-to-life issues from this year's Way of the Cross. It is difficult to understand why a dedicated Christian group would make such a decision in light of the persistent assault against the sanctity of life.
As we enter the final months of our three-year preparation for the Jubilee 2000, it is sad to note that such an important seed of social justice concern, which was planted during the year of the Holy Spirit, does not seem to have taken root.
A barrel over the falls
I was intrigued by the Chat Page article by Marie-Therese Spindler entitled "We need to respect the priesthood" (WCR, March 1).
It takes seven years to become a priest. That's quite a commitment both personally and financially. The man who enters the priesthood must have blind trust in the Lord. The graces will be there for those who follow him in religious life.
All the Lord is asking him to do is jump into a barrel and go over the falls.
The Lord promises him that he will be with him in the barrel. He also promises him one hell of a thrill and one hell of a ride.
Vatican should explain stand on Pinochet
It was with great sadness I read the WCR of March 1. I had hoped that the WCR would enlighten me as to the reasons the pope had written the British government in what had been reported as support for Pinochet to be sent to Chile.
As I understand the situation, if Pinochet is extradited to Spain he will stand trial for directly ordering or approving the execution and torture of the thousands of people while he was dictator of Chile.
If he is extradited to Chile he will not need to stand trial and will receive support from many influential and wealthy sources which benefitted from his regime.
In condemning what he has called the "culture of death," the pope has my support. I could understand the pope urging Britain to not seek vengeance, but the perception is that the Vatican wishes to protect Pinochet by not allowing him to stand trial at all.
It is important that the crimes for which Pinochet has been accused be condemned. No sovereign nation has the right to torture and kill its citizens just as no one has the right to kill an unborn child or put an aging parent to death.
Why do my Church leaders say that the letter is confidential and we will know the contents at an "opportune time"? I have a need to know that my Church condemns these unspeakable crimes.
By not allowing us an insight into the content of this letter or the rationale behind it, the pope's stance on abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty look like hollow hypocritical posturing. We need better moral leadership in our society than that.