16 September 2006

My home is gone

It was announced in yesterday's edition of the Catholic Times (no article online) that the Presbyteral Council met on September 5th and gave its consent to a plan to merge three parishes in my home city of Quincy, Illinois - including my home parish - into one parish.

All Saints (formerly St. John the Baptist [my home] and St. Rose of Lima parishes), Immaculate Conception and St. Boniface parishes are now, after a decree from Bishop George J. Lucas, united into the parish of Blessed Sacrament, using the church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Word is that my home church will be sold in the not too distant future.

It breaks my heart that this plan went through. It all happened so quickly and the people are very hurt and confused, myself included. I accept the Bishop's decision, though I do not understand it.

When I first learned of the possible merger I composed the poem, "In this Church..." which I posted previously. I repost the poem below:

In this church I learned that God is love.
In this church I learned that God loves me.
In this church my father appeared to me - after his death - three times as if to say,
“I love you. I am watching you. I am caring for you. I will embrace you again.”
From this church my mother was buried.
In this church I made my first Confession.
In this church I received the Holy Eucharist for the first time.
In this church I learned to pray.
From this church my grandfather was buried.
From this church my cousin was buried.
From this church I hoped to be buried.
In this church I learned to serve the Holy Mass.
In this church I found joy.
In this church I found comfort.
In this church I found peace.
In this church I found my fulfillment.
In this church I heard God’s call.
In this church I responded to his call.
In this church I understood the unity and bond of the Mystical Body of Christ.
In this church I received the Anointing of the Sick.
From this church I was sent forth to study and be formed for the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
In this church I celebrated my first Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving.
In this church I wept and laughed and loved and prayed and listened and preached and was loved.
In this church I am at home.
In this church is all I have and all I have known and all I have loved.
In this church is my home.
But no more…

Now I can visit neither the place of my Baptism, the place of my Confirmation, the place of my first Confession, the place of my first Communion, the place of my first Anointing, the place of my first Mass, nor the place where I was formed. I feel terribly lost and homeless. All I have known feels torn away from my grasp and forever from my reach…

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:02 AM

    Dear Father,
    Gentle Father, what is it that God asks of you now? To witness to this loss, to champion the faith in the decisions of the Bishop, to sop up the blood and sweat and tears of all who are affected, and yes you, and turn it in to a greater good. To be open to a far greater good coming from this change.
    This place, a physical structure, has not been bombed, nor attacked by terrorists, it has not taken...it has given until it can give no more, used up, spent in the service of Love.
    Let us grieve for the loss as we must, let us hold each others hand, allow for a strong shoulder for the weaker to lean upon, give a hand up to the changes that will now be.
    This is a great chance for renewal of the core values of Christ...take nothing with you...on this journey, neither structure nor land, we have not been displaced by war, or floods or other weather challenges...but the glorious memories, the faith filled joys, and lasts, and then let us begin again together to build up this great Church of ours, build up friends and the brothers and sisters of man.
    Let us go forth in faith, in acceptance, in peace.
    Enjoy these lasts, have a party, and celebrate all the great things that have made you you! The ones who have gone before you did not do so in vain! It may not be what "I" want, but it is what "He" wants at this time.
    God give you peace!

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  2. Anonymous8:51 PM

    Dear Father,
    Your poem made me cry for my parish loss! You speak rightly about the memories, lived experiences.
    Is not home where our heart is? I was asked when I fought in vain to save my parish.
    Is it not right to fight for what we believe in? Does not Church fight for the issues in countries where there are needs? We had a need, too. Man took our need and made mud of it literally. Ours was sold off and torn down...nothing left...
    Strange after all this time that I didn't realize I carried this wound.
    You have helped me Father and I thnk you!
    I hope in time you will also find comfort!
    I shall cherish your poem!

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  3. Thank you for your prayers!

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