Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 13, 2004
WCR Letters to the Editor
Preacher backs feedback
Re: "Bad Homily? Let the Priest Know," by Renato Gandia(WCR, Sept. 6).
As a Protestant who has read and contributed articles to the Western Catholic Reporter for quite a few years, I am always pleased when certain "cross-over" pieces appear here. By cross-over, I mean articles that apply equally to Catholics and Protestants.
I call the Gandia "bad homily" column that kind of effort. While one might expect Protestant churchgoers would naturally approach their pastor on the nature and value of a sermon (since sermons, rightly or wrongly, are often considered the major event of Protestant services) that has not always been something Catholic worshippers have felt free to do.
Yet, many surveys report that Catholics consider homilies important too - with emphasis on both word and sacrament. It is also frequently reported that the sermons of Catholic priests are not always considered the highlight of the Mass.
Gandia reminds us all that when the sermon could do with some improvement, the congregant should confront the preacher. This can be handled - not in a spirit of resentment - but with an attitude of encouragement and constructive critique.
While I have preached many sermons in my time and always enjoyed the positive comment: "Nice sermon, pastor" I know in my heart when I have really done well and when I have not.
Listeners are not helpful as passive hearers of the word. We all benefit when a good message is heard and appreciation is expressed. A bad homily needs to be handled with grace by preacher and hearer alike, along with mutual efforts at improvement.
Msgr. Bill Irwin's rich legacy, mission lives on
In the last several days, we at Catholic Charities and Catholic Social Services, have received many expressions of sympathy and prayer on the loss of our beloved founder,Msgr. Bill Irwin.
On behalf of the people we serve, staff and boards of directors, I thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers. Father Bill touched the lives of thousands, and we all share in this loss.
As we mourn his passing, we find solace in knowing that we were given the opportunity to share and celebrate Father Bill's life which was so rich and so generous to all in the community.
Father Bill, a man of average physique, stood tall among us. He had the charisma, intelligence, determination and diplomacy of a transformational and inspirational leader. He was a tower of strength. He had the vision, the wisdom and tenacity to found and build our agency into the largest multi-function social services provider in Canada.
With his tireless energy and superb efficiency, Father Bill always served and advocated for the poor, the underprivileged and the disenfranchised. He was always there, leading and giving his support, regardless of the different roles he played as a priest, a social worker or an administrator.
Despite his demand for professional perfection, we always felt Father Bill's great warmth and hospitality. We found in him a trusting friend and a loyal father who was always willing to go the extra mile to help people. We have learned from Father Bill to expand our vision, to challenge when necessary, and always to recognize the human face of God in each other regardless of faith and ethnic origin.
We are committed to continuing Father Bill's legacy and mission, and remain dedicated to providing services of the highest quality to people in need.
Chief Executive Officer
CSS, Catholic Charities
Moral integrity queried
In the Aug. 30 WCR reporting on the Knights of Columbus supreme convention Supreme Knight Carl Anderson welcomed President Bush by thanking him for restoring moral integrity to the office of the presidency.
- The president conducted an immoral and illegal attack on Iraq. Anyone who wages war in the name of Christ is committing the ultimate Christian sin.
- He does not treat the prisoners at Guantanamo and Iraq like he would want to be treated by denying them their basic human rights. He has stripped Americans of their basic human rights, such as access to an attorney and the right to be presented with formal charges for any alleged violation. He is the hypocritical champion of human rights.
- The Bible says not to lie. Bush said that he would unite us, yet the world has never been more divided. He lied about uranium, weapons of mass destruction, the connection between Iraq and 911, the economy.
This is not the type of conduct that our pope and God would approve of.
U.S. Knights' stance faulted
The headline "Knights delirious over Bush" in your Aug. 30 issue certainly was an eye catcher.
I checked Webster for the meaning of delirium.
It is "a temporary state of extreme mental excitement, marked by confused speech and hallucinations. It occurs in some forms of insanity."
That pretty much sums up the problem.
I hope and pray that the delirium of the American Knights is indeed "temporary."
If Supreme Knight Carl Anderson really means that "protection of the innocent from intentional killing is a matter of justice" and that he will not rest until the culture of death has been replaced by a culture of life", he should dissociate his Knights from a reckless immoral killer of innocents, George W. Bush and his henchmen.
Is there any chance that Canadian Knights might deliver their American brothers from their delirium?
A prayer for healing in Beslan
I am submitting this prayer for compassion and wisdom, written by one of our principals on behalf of the educators at Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools.
God, our creator and protector,
We began our own school year this week
Full of busy excitement and hope,
embarking upon another year
of learning, friendship and service.
Our colleagues, their students and parents in Beslan
prepared for a similar new beginning,
and have found themselves in peril and tragedy.
Save all those who strive for justice
from the temptation to use violence,
to exploit the innocent and vulnerable,
to achieve their aims.
Preserve and keep safe the children,
parents, and educators in Beslan,
Comfort them and their families,
in their time of anguish,
Allow compassion and wisdom to
overcome anger and hatred.
We ask these things in your name,
Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools
'Priest only' rule irks acolyte
I wonder,(Paul Kokoski, WCR, Aug. 30). What is an acceptable prolongation of the Mass - 15, 50, 75 minutes?
I am not aware of any parish in Edmonton whereby only the priest gives Communion. Indeed prolongation would certainly become the norm.
It seems to me Paul has taken over God's job when he is judging how reverent we are when receiving Communion: . . . only God can know how we truly feel.
I am an acolyte/Eucharistic Minister and recently experienced a refusal to receive Communion from me as I was not a priest. This does pose a question - is it better to receive from a lay person or not at all? For me, the best "activity" I could ever do is to give Communion.
I even have a smile on my face because I feel it is such an honour to be able to do this.
Personally, I doubt that having fewer lay people helping the priests would result in more ordinations; it is quite likely our priest would be so exhausted they would be ready to retire at 55 or earlier.
Marguerite d' Youville the first founder
In the recentAug. 30 WCR, the article on page 16 on Mere Marie Fitzbach by Ted Fitzgerald mentioned that she was the first Canadian to found a religious order in 1856.
In fact, in 1737, Marguerite d'Youville, born in Varennes Que. founded the Sisters of Charity in Montreal, Grey Nuns. Both women are known for their tremendous service to those most in need and both have left a legacy of God's loving care.
Sr. Marcia Wiley
Sisters of Charity