25 February 2008

Fr. Daren's advice for the day

This morning I sat down and typed a response to an Associated Press article entitled "Catholic leaders tangle with Irish-American groups as St. Patrick's Day, Holy Week overlap," (no doubt one of the longest AP headlines to date) published in Friday's issue of the Effingham Daily News.

Though I didn't explicitly state such in my response, I find it most curious that the fact that Irish-Americans might be tangling with Church leaders apparently never entered the reporter's realm of plausibility.

At any rate, after dropping off my Letter to the Editor, I returned to the parish to celebrate Mass. Turning into my driveway I was quite surprised and almost had an accident, which brings me to Fr. Daren's advice for the day:
When turning into your driveway, do not look across the intersection at the crossing guard shoveling snow because you never know when a very large garbage truck will be leaving your driveway as you enter it.
You can't say you haven't been warned. It's not a pretty picture.

And now, the Letter to the Editor:

Clarifications on St. Patrick’s Day 2008
The recent article by the Associated Press published in the Effingham Daily News on February 22, 2008, “Catholic leaders tangle with Irish-American groups as St. Patrick’s Day, Holy Week overlap,” stated: “liturgical rules dictate that no Mass in honor of the Saint (Patrick) can be celebrated on Monday, March 17,” which falls during Holy Week. The article seems to imply that St. Patrick’s Day is being singled out, which simply is not true and that this holiday is primarily a secular celebration, which is also not true.

The celebrations of Holy Week always take precedence over other liturgical celebrations and for this reason the Memorial of St. Patrick has this year been transferred to March 14, the nearest available date to his usual commemoration.

The new date has led many Bishops to request civic celebrations of St. Patrick be celebrated in unison with the liturgical feast or, at the very least, not during Holy Week to keep the due solemnity of these sacred days. These Bishops are to be commended for requesting the life and mission of the Apostle to Ireland be celebrated properly, without detracting from the celebrations of Holy Week and the central mysteries of the Christian faith.
Civic leaders would do well to remember that the celebration of St. Patrick is not primarily a celebration of Irish heritage; Patrick himself was not an Irishman but a Britain. Bagpipes have their origin in the Middle East of the second century and poor, Irish immigrants picked up corned beef and cabbage in the U.S.A., a food not known in Ireland at the time. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates instead the life of the fifth century Bishop who brought the Gospel to Ireland and converted the people to the faith of Jesus Christ. The parades and other festivities – enjoyable as they are – should always take second place to the actual commemoration of the life of St. Patrick by the Church because his feast is her celebration.

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