Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 17, 2002
WCR Letters to the Editor
Keep the faith at the grad
Thank-you, Glen Argan for your editorial on high school graduations, dated June 3. I attended two graduations this year and certainly agree that the liturgy should be the centrepiece of a Catholic graduation celebration.
Sadly, the liturgy seems like something that must be "endured" by many participants. The highlight is to take as many pictures as possible, even of the graduates receiving Jesus at Communion time.
When a church is filled to capacity and one hears a slight murmuring of responses familiar to the parts of the Mass, I question what 12 years in the Catholic school system really taught the students about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Should all be at Mass if there is no understanding of what is happening? If all Catholic students understood the great miracle occurring on the altar they would be filled with awe and reverence.
I had five children graduate from Edmonton Catholic Schools from the late '80s to the present and the decline in respect for the liturgy has risen in proportion to the cost and extravagance of the actual evening gown affair.
You are right in calling parents to task in allowing the event to get out of hand. The values have been misplaced and I am glad that you have questioned the Catholic education system as well as parents to evaluate their priorities.
A thousand dollars would go a long way to help starving children in the third world who will never ride in a limo.
What do we want to teach our young adults? Is consumerism and materialism or an authentic love for the Gospel and its mandate the lasting impression young people should remember about school days?
It is time too for a serious look at the Catholic graduation ceremony. How important is the liturgical celebration to most participants?
I attended a Catholic graduation celebration at the Agricom alongside a public school function in the next hall. Ironically, the greatest difference was that the Catholic system allowed the purchase of alcohol and the public system did not.
I challenge Catholic Schools to make a difference and have authentic "Catholic" graduations instead of going through the pretense. Here is a chance to "celebrate your difference".
Use pedal power, not horsepower
The decision to sell St. Theresa's Church in Millwoods primarily because of a shortage of parking space underscores the difficulty that North Americans have with the Kyoto Accord.
Most people believe it is important to protect the environment. Many acknowledge global weather patterns are changing. Much evidence exists that links the combustion of fossil fuels and global warming.
Yet very few people are willing to change their behaviour. Again this spring we drive to church and pray for rain.
It may be that the congregation of St. Theresa's Parish has outgrown its building, but what if -- at least until a new church is built -- the parish tries something different?
Parishioners could gather at their local elementary schools and take charter buses to Mass. This would reduce the number of cars driven to the church and allow people to chat, or pray the rosary, or sing hymns en route.
We need to stop assuming that cars are the only available means of transportation. Some people could even walk or ride bikes to church.
Unfortunately the bigger the church gets, the farther people have to travel to get there.
I am reminded of Joni Mitchell's song, Big Yellow Taxi, in which she sings:
Don't it always seem as though
You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
Blessed are our bishops
Perhaps reviving the lost tradition of kissing the bishop's ring when we meet or encounter him would be a source of encouragement for him. The act by itself is our recognition of the apostolic succession and the importance of his office.
Maybe if we would show our bishops on a regular basis that we are aware of the tremendous responsibility that they have it would encourage them and allow them to make very difficult decisions for the good of the Church and just maybe we would not be submersed in some of this scandal that currently seems to flow so freely over some dioceses in North America.
I can only imagine but I would think that it would be an extremely humbling (not humiliating) experience for the bishop to have his attention drawn each time he meets one of the sheep for whose care he is responsible, to the love, trust and respect we have in his office and our awareness of the connection to the Apostles and the Chair of Peter.
This act of recognition is acceptable whether the bishop is a good or bad bishop as it is the ring that we kiss, the ring that is given to them to signify the very high office they hold in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church as instilled by the bishop of Rome. The Church is blessed with many bishops that understand their link to Christ and his work on earth. Let's encourage them.
Remember they are only men and can fall as easily as we do. The next time you see our, or any bishop of the Catholic Church, say a prayer of thanksgiving and go as quickly as possible to kiss the ring. What better way to venerate the Church that Christ established on earth.
To Archbishop Collins and all the bishops of the world . . . we love you and pray for you. Mary Queen of the clergy pray for them.
Pray for our world
Sept. 11, 2001 concretized for me the brutal reality of hatred and violence.
Feeling so powerless, it was time to "light one candle" and pray for peace. Each night we turn on our window candle and ask God's peace to flow into our broken world.
Daily, from 2 to 2:30 p.m., the sisters pray for peace.
May God's love, not human power, transform our world.
Light a candle for peace.
Grey Nuns of Edmonton