Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

What We Can Learn From St. Bridget’s Parish

February 15th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

I have been thinking a lot about this closing, today. I know the pain of losing a parish, but I have never seen photos encapsulate the pain as have those at the D&C;’s website. There is something more noble than words which can be seen in the eyes of those parishioners who have lost their home.

There is an amazing amount that we can learn from this parish, and its unfortunate death. Primarily, it was a parish of diversity, but whose focus was on the African American community of Rochester. Usually we lament liturgical dancers and multi-cultural displays in our parishes, but this is different. It was a parish genuinely rooted in African-American traditions, which, in their natural form, compliment their form of worship. Their cultural celebrations were not forced, as are those at Sacred Heart – these are genuine and wholly natural.

The people of this parish truly celebrated diversity. There is nothing quite so racist and closed-minded as falsely embracing a culture. If I were an African-American and saw non-African-Americans putting on a Mass with clear African-American cultural references and actions, I would be wholly offended. By embracing other cultures whose celebrations are not our own, we lose our grounding and take the chance of offending those whose culture we borrow.

I hold St. Bridget’s up as a representation of what true cultural diversity is. Yes, they have liturgical dance, hand-holding, and boisterous singing, but that is what their cultural experience of Mass has been. It is thoroughly traditional, in the sense that those at the parish hold onto their values and particular liturgical celebrations. I wouldn’t expect them to start singing English renaissance polyphony – it’s not their culture. I also wouldn’t expect Bishop Clark to have an Afro-Mass, but we’ve been proven wrong on that end.

To the people of St. Bridget’s – you have our most sincere sympathies, and our most fervent, loving prayers. Our thoughts rest with you in this time of sorrow.

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One Response to “What We Can Learn From St. Bridget’s Parish”

  1. Dr. K says:

    Very good points.

    ~Dr. K

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