Wednesday, September 07, 2005

National Shrine Digest

Now, here is something interesting for my local yokels....

At Mass over the weekend, Father Anthony Manuppella, pastor of St. Peter's in Merchantville, New Jersey (right across the river) told his parishioners that he had been offered the Vice-Rectorship of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington -- an offer he turned down. This isn't something a priest usually divulges publicly, but it's pure Manuppella.... When they learned that he was staying, the congregation whooped and cheered for an extended period. They've learned well his trademark line, "Look at all the beautiful things Father has brought to the Church."

Clad in cassock, sash and biretta even in the dead of August, Manuppella is one of the most charming and unique characters I've ever met in this business -- and after all this time, that's saying something. He has an almost unparalleled ability to draw people, emphasizing the best (and I mean best) traditions of art, architecture and devotions. The past couple years have brought very long Easter Vigils at St. Peter's as the pastor received RCIA classes of 25 or more.

And -- surprise, surprise -- I've never seen a more brilliant administrative wizard in my life. The man rains money like it's a monsoon, and he's got the KHS to prove it. In just five years, he's redone the parish buildings from top to bottom, including a Gothic brick-pointing of the church and importing a Neapolitan-trained frescoist to portray saints, coats of arms and other elements.... It's become known in some quarters as "The Antonine Chapel," an accolade he wears with pride.

Here's something I found on the parish website.... More Classic Manuppella, here speaking about redoing the Perpetual Adoration chapel:

Thanks to the donations of several parishioners, we have been able to re-plaster the Chapel, replace the Chapel roof and paint the interior of our King's Palace!

As you enter the chapel looking up to the ceiling, you immediately see the beautiful Gold Star of Bethlehem in the center - that star which guided the Wise Men to seek and to find Jesus. Like the Wise Men of old, we the wise people of today come to adore Our King. Venite adoremus - O Come let us adore!

We spend our hour of adoration and we are refreshed. We are emboldened. We are consoled by Our King. And then we go out like the 72 stars above us. Remember, Our Lord appointed a further 72 disciples to help the Apostles spread the Gospel. So, each star represents one of us going forth from the Chapel to go out and live the Gospel, spreading the good news of our faith, living out our faith, giving good example all because we have been with Our Eucharistic King - we had an audience with Our King!

Yep, Shrine's loss is St. Pete's gain.



Blogger Jeff said...

Thank you, thank you, Rocco. Another beautiful post. You're making this vicious, troglodytic, pre-Vatican-Two-mentality Catholic a very happy camper. I guess by all the rules of fairness, you should be able to fire away at us unreconstructed types a time or two now!

You know what I'd like to hear about sometime, when you're in the mood. Someone--"conservative" or "liberal" who lives the social gospel in your area and has inspired you. But--if you can stand it--without highlighting the here's-mud-in-your-eye-you-backward unreformed-types element. We DO need to be reminded about succoring the unfortunate and reminded that they are still with us.

Anyway, thanks again for the beautiful post.

7/9/05 20:44  
Blogger John Mastai said...

I also agree with your praises of Fr. Anthony Manupella. I am in the diocese of Camden and I can tell you that St. Peter's parish is probably one of the best in the diocese. It is a magnet not just for more devotional Catholics but the life-long parishoners are also enthused at St. Peters spirit these days. Furthermore, I have noticed that St. Peters is one of those few parishes (Mater Ecclesiae: the Tridentine Mass Parish one ot the few others) that brings in the rarely attending Gen X and Gen Y Catholics. Basically, of those in their 20s and 30s who actually care about the faith and are not indifferent or slack about it, nor merely going through the motions, St. Peters is one of the few parishes they can be found at, many now with their spouses and young children. I would also like to point out that St. Peter's was one of the very very very few parishes to actually do something for the year of the Eucharist. Bishop Galante, with little direction or organization, called for each parish to have daily Adoration. This either was not done or quickly lost momentum in most parishes. However in St. Peters, which has perpetual adoration, the Year of the Eucharist was the occassion for a very inspiring "Eucharistic Congress" that saw a weekend of wonderful ceremonies, renowned speakers (eg. Avery Cardinal Dulles) and a very moving procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the end.

This leads me to offer just a few thoughts on a previous blog that you posted a few days ago. I was surprised to read of your praise of Bishop "call me Joe" Galante set up in a kind of contrast to Philadelphia. Yes, Philadelphia can be a tad parochial, a tendency of most "arch"dioceses, however I fail to see the reasons for your praise of Galante.

The period of slightly more than a year since his instalation as bishop of Camden has been a period of nothing but disorganization and decline within the diocese.

When any bishop first arrives he goes out of his way to show how "pastoral" and "down-to-earth" he is. However, Galante, nicknamed "call me Joe" for the multiple times he said this at the begining of his tenure in the diocese, is trying to run the whole mechanism of the diocese on the vapid notion of just how "pastoral" and a great "listener" he is. He is carted around for "listening" or "speak up sessions" as they are called in which he goes to different parishes while he does not administer the Sacrament of Confirmation: this is left to Chancery Monsignori. The "speak up sessions" amount to little more than hot air and a bit of a vent session in which the people's remarks are restrained with caveats on both ends: they cannot speak about their parishes nor can they speak about the Church Universal; only about the diocese, which is a very very vague concept for the average Catholic to whom the Catholic Church is their home parish.

Galante also uses the occasion to give a very shallow presentation of Lumen Gentium, in which he repeats ad nasuseum that "we are Church" and that the big bad pre-Vatican II Church was an oppressive pay/pray/and obey hierarchical "triangle" but now it is a happy and liberated inclusive "circle".

Galante is hardly the worker that Bishop DiMarzio was. He would rather hold Eagles' Pep Rallies in the Chancery than respond to letters written to him and give his attention to areas where he is needed. He has "empowered" scores of liberal and habitless nuns who now work in the Chancery (nicknamed the "Convent"). He has a very small select group of priests who run the show; the most radical leftists in the diocese. And under Galante the number of seminarians which steadily went up under the previous bishop has fallen off, down from thirty-something to about seventeeen who are no longer sent to one seminary, St. Charles, but now to multiple seminaries for that "diversity" of experience which will only serve to make the few future priests unfamiliar with each other.

Who can claim to know the mind of "call me Joe" the great pastoral listener? What is clear is that the diocese of Camden, which although very schitzophrenic in its makeup, had a certain stability under the previous ordinaries but is now the refuge for every liberal ideology, feminist nun, and tried-and-failed program in the Church. There is more Texas than Philadelphia in Galante than you'd like to think, Rocco. Even his move to "promote" Fr. Anthony Manupella was more of a move to "remove" Manupella than it was to recognize his pastoral skill and honor him (Manupella was not on the list of new monsignori).

Keep an eye on the Camden Diocese. There is much good, much struggle, and much evil within this little South Jersey Diocese on the East of the River.

Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus!

7/9/05 23:10  
Blogger Marco, Trumphalistic Papist said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what is the "KHS to prove it" mean?

8/9/05 04:10  
Blogger John Mastai said...

KHS stands for "Knight of the Holy Sepulchre", it is an honor that can be given to lay people (more frequent) and also priests, (less frequent but there are more being given the honor). It is an honor but one has to wonder if it is a sort of consolation prize to give a priest some kind of "safe" recognition without making him a monsignor which tends to mean a whole lot more in diocesan politics.

My apologies for mispelling Fr. Anthony's last name in my comments yesterday. I believe it is spelled "Manuppella". Of course the allusion to the "maniple" brings a smile to everyone who knows who Fr. Anthony is and what a maniple is.

8/9/05 08:17  
Blogger Flambeaux said...

Rocco's comment about the KHS is amusing, and pointed, since laymen typically chip in about $10,000 to join, and then generously support the charitable works of the KHS -- a hospital in the Holy Land and relief efforts in the Third World, among other things.

I know several. Great folks, but not for those with modest means. I don't know how Passage Fees and Annual Dues are handled for prelates without fat bank accounts. Probably contributed from the members of a given chapter.

8/9/05 12:23  
Blogger patrick said...

I knew someone who was inducted into the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, but I don't know how he he could have possibly afforded a $10,000 initiation fee. He was HIV positive and on disability at the time (this was before the new anti-AIDS meds hit the market), so it's possible that the entrance fee was reduced or waived. This person did a lot of thankless volunteer work for the Church over the years.

8/9/05 13:02  
Blogger Julie said...

Uh... guys, I think KHS is short for kahunas ;)

8/9/05 15:12  

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