THE EXTERNALS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

Bishop Eugene reflected in his journal:

Funeral obsequies of Count Pagano, consul general of Sardinia, Knight of St. Maurice. His position as consul of Sardinia and Knight of St. Maurice, as well as the good turns he did me in his day, decided me to go and assist at his funeral liturgy and perform the absolution. I warned the family in advance by way of a very polite letter.
What was my astonishment, on arriving at St. Charles, the deceased’s parish, to learn that there would be no High Mass at the funeral although the poor deceased had made quite contrary arrangements. I reproached the person who came to make excuses to me in the family’s name, as it had undertaken with the cortege not to delay it overlong in the church, and to mark my disapproval of a complacency so strongly contrary to the spirit of the Church all the more expressly, I indicated that I would not be prepared to give the absolution as I had proposed.
This lesson must have gone home and the parish priest also will have learned that it is not opportune to lend oneself so easily to the scarcely religious caprices of families. It was the third example in succession of this kind of impiety, in the parish of St. Charles.

Eugene de Mazenod’s Diary, 4 February 1837, EO XVIII

Times seem not to have changed! How often we are asked to sacrifice the the true sacramental celebration in favor of the wedding reception venue or the convenience of the funeral directors.

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One Response to THE EXTERNALS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    And now listening to Eugene and Frank share of what often happens with the sacrament and the liturgy taking a back seat to that which is not really the priority or purpose.

    I am reminded of how every week there are some parishioners who depend of ParaTranspo to bring them to church and then following our liturgies to drive them home. I witness for a long time how often these people would need to leave the liturgy before it’s ending so that they could get their ride home – they needed to be at the back of the Church at a particular time to be ready for the drivers who were coming to pick them up whenever the driver arrived. And so often they would have to take their leave of the community before Communion time.

    We began a new way within our parish of being aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters, and just as the Presider or the Eucharistic Minister would take the Eucharist to those who could not get up from the pews to go and receive communion, there were a designated few who would take the Eucharist to those who had to leave before the end of Mass so that they too could join and be in communion with the rest of us in the community.

    I think of Eugene and how he always took note of what was missing with any who were poor and then found ways to ensure that they received and were able to take part in what the rest of us were presented with.

    There have to be ways for us to celebrate with and for each other, where the sacraments are made available to all – be they in grand churches, in mud huts, in small wooden shacks or in teepees. The business sides of it are to help us, not to decide what is the focal point or necessary in our rituals.

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