Thursday, April 05, 2007

Merry Chrismas

At this threshold of the Paschal Triduum, hope you're all feeling its blessings already, and that everything's ready to go for the intense days to come.

This morning plays host to the final batch of Chrism Masses, most of which were held in advance of today's rubrical preference to allow for a more robust participation of priests and faithful. The Holy Thursday rite for the diocese of Rome begins at 9.30am CET (0830 GMT) in St Peter's with Benedict XVI as celebrant; stay tuned for the homily as soon as an English translation can be hammered out.

Elsewhere in the Wide World of Church, some Anglophone iterations of the one-per-diocese pre-Easter lovefests have entered cyberspace. You can hear TC's first Chrism Mass homily as archbishop of Toronto and the same from the Burb as bishop of Raleigh, behold Philadelphia's Ontologically Superior powwow on a livestream from 9.40EDT (1340GMT) today, and catch the entirety of Boston's Tuesday morning liturgy on-demand courtesy of Boston Catholic Television.

The latter is especially profound as, in one of the year's best homilies to date from any senior prelate anywhere, Cardinal Sean O'Malley OFM Cap. reminded his presbyterate that "the chalice isn't a trophy" and that priesthood doesn't render its holders "dignitaries," but "servants."

(Forgive us northeasterners -- that latter bit's still news in some of these parts.)

There are many money quotes from the Bloggin' Eminence's meditation on the Suffering Servant. While it's well worth hearing in full, let this -- a story with more than a little personal context -- suffice in print, on the challenges of ordained ministry amidst "the most challenging time in the history of the church in our country."
Looking back on my days in the West Indies when a hurricane flattened most of our churches, schools and rectories, I recall we survived on coconut milk and peanut butter.

We were without water, phones or electricity for six months. A year without television -- that was a blessing.

"What could be worse than all of this?" I thought at the time....
As he paused and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross burst into the unique laughter of those who've shared the trenches, O'Malley -- named to Boston in 2003 to heal a local church ravaged by the most damaging revelations of the sexual abuse scandal -- answered, "Now I just say, 'Give me a good hurricane anyday.'"

The only thing to top that would be if, from the pulpit of St Patrick's Cathedral, on the day after his 75th birthday, the archbishop of New York offered the comparison of his own voice to that of... Darth Vader.

Wait, that actually happened.

* * *

To the ordained among us, a special wish for a Blessed Holy Thursday.

If you're doing it right, what you do day in and day out isn't easy, but never forget that your many works are ever more worthwhile, needed and life-giving out there.

They say times are tough and, more often than not, they can be. But that doesn't keep the great many of you from pushing forward with even greater effort, love, and the desire to serve, and it's such a gift to see this manifested in so many ways, from places near and far.

So, especially on this day, thanks for everything you lot do (often in ways you'll never realize). Keep on keepin' on, take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and know that you've got a lot of prayers along the way.

Diocese of Raleigh