YESTERDAY AFTERNOON THE FOLLOWING SAD COMMENT CAME INTO THE BLOG CONCERNING THE CANCELLATION OF A SUNDAY MASS IN MAGHERAFELT PARISH IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH:
"Bishop Pat could you please assist us in anyway you can. Our PP in Magherafelt Parish has stopped our 8am Mass on a Sunday as from this weekend. There are two Priests in the Parish now and 5 Masses are now reduced to 4 Masses each Sunday. This was announced some weeks ago without any consultation with people and no credible explanation given. A Priest having to celebrate 2 Masses each on a Sunday is hardly exhaustive or taxing. Many are upset about the early 8am Mass being stopped but are too afraid to speak up or voice their concerns. What's more the PP said the Parish pastoral council took the decision but we think that is a lame excuse because when were they appointed as PP? The curate had to be woken up last Sunday morning as he slept in for the 8am Mass, the situation is far from satisfactory and the usual predictable flunkies on the pastoral council are used as a badge of convenience.
We know it is pointless writing to Armagh, people have been left hurt and upset by this pointless decision taken without any consultation with the vast majority of the laity. Many elderly and retired folk prefer the 8am Mass, those of whom have given generously for years to build up the Parish. Many of the 8am congregation squeezed in to last nights 6.15pm Mass, some of the elderly walked in the dark and some of the Saturday evening regulars were accusing us of taking their regular seats. It all became fraught and some have vowed to give up going to Mass all together which I think is a crying shame. We were told this was going to happen not asked or consulted, the PP was concerned that the 12 noon Mass be retained for the benefit of the youth who attend. What he needs to realise that the elderly and older generation who built the Parish up over the years need to be catered for to. They were keen this weekend to promote the Parish envelopes, for once in my life I've considered contributing nothing. The PP told us this weekend in his homily about reading Facebook, by the time it took him to read all the gossip on that he could have celebrated the 8am Mass. He is more interested in dressing up and appearing in the forthcoming Parish play than worrying about his people.
Old Timer Magherafelt"
Dear Old Timer Magherafelt,
Thank you for your comment / note. I am sorry to hear that after a lifetime of your personal and financial support of your parish your favourite early morning Sunday Mass has now being abolished by your relatively new parish priest.
Looking at you parish website I see that you have THREE priests resident in your parish although one of them in recently retired - but from what I gather remains in good health.
As most priests (active or retired) say at least one Mass per day I cannot understand how in your case THREE priests cannot say a Mass each on the most important day of the Christian week - SUNDAY?
Up until now you have had three Masses - 8 am; 10.30 am and 12 Noon.
I do not understand why each priest cannot say one Sunday Mass each.
And even if your retired priest cannot / does not want to say a Sunday public Mass I cannot understand why one of your priests cannot say the 8 am and 12 noon Masses (with loads of time in between for breakfast and the other say the 10.30 am.
I am bewildered.
Would you like me to come and celebrate a House / Family Mass for you sometime in Magherafelt? If so get in touch.
|Very Rev John Gates, PP, VF,|
And of course Old Times would be wasting their time writing to Armagh Amy. She will onlky support her clerical team;
- THE BIGGER QUESTION:
- The Magherafelt issue brings up a much BIGGER QUESTION - the question of who has the POWER in the parishes.
- We were traditionally told that the PEOPLE OF GOD were the Church and that the
- PRIESTS were merely the SERVANTS of the people.
- Since when then do the SERVANTS give the orders to THEIR MASTERS?
- Surely EVERYTHING in a parish - including the times of Masses should be determined by the PEOPLE?
- If I went to a parish as a priest one of the first things I would do was to give out a questionaire to the parishioners and ask them:
- What time the Masses would suit / benefit them etc.
- I would also want to have the PARISH FUNERALS, WEDDINGS, BAPTISMS ETC at the time that best suited the people.
- That will vary from parish to parish.
- In a farming parish the people might want the Saturday Vigil Mass at 8 pm after the work in the fields was done.
- In a city parish it might suit the people better to have a Sunday Mass at 1 pm or even in the afternoon to allow them to enjoy their Sundays and weekend best.
- But what has happened gradually is that the CLERICS have become the MASTERS and the parishioners have become the SERFS!
- How does that tie in with Jesus - the Greatest Priest - who said:
- "I COME, NOT TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE".
- The Church needs much renewal in many aspects but one of the most important need is the DESTRUCTION OF THE "CLERICAL CASTE".
- I know that many people reading this today will be recalling many stories of the people of parishes being BULLIED by autocratic priests.
- In Ireland we have in large part gotten rid of our POLITICAL COLONISTS AND SLAVE MASTERS.
- I look forward to the day when we completely overthrow those other colonists and slave masters
- - I mean the ROMAN and CLERICAL ones.
- When they are looking our money to build their churches, schools, presbyteries and other buildings they talk about it: "BEING YOUR CHURCH".
- As soon as they are built and paid for it becomes THEIR CHURCH,
- This will only change when more and more people stand up to them and say NO.
- When people stop frequenting their money changing temples.
- When people withdraw all funding.
- When people take charge of their own schools and institutions.
- The REVOLUTION required has started. It is slow in coming. People are still in fear and chains.
- BUT IT IS COMING !