Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Gather Them In – the St. Thomas Situation

August 30th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

We have received the new schedule for Masses in the Irondequoit cluster. The last Sunday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle is scheduled for November 14th, 2010.

Here are some of the pieces mentioned by Fr. Tanck in the announcement.

  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Salome will be celebrated on Sunday, September 26, at 2:00 PM followed by a reception at the church.  A group at St. Salome has been working on preparing that liturgy and reception.
  • The last Sunday Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle and social reception will be on Sunday, November 14.  A committee at St. Thomas will be established to work on preparing for that day.  Until November 14 there will be a 9:30 AM Sunday Mass at St. Thomas.
  • A 5:00 PM Sunday Mass, at Christ the King will be added to the regular schedule of weekend Sunday Masses on the First Sunday of Advent, November 28.  It is hoped that this Mass would become a special community Mass followed by such things as youth group meetings, young adult gatherings and pot luck dinners.

I think they’re hoping that if they shove cookies at the undernourished souls of St. Thomas and St. Salome everyone will be peachy-keen about the changes. Well, that’s just stupid. Do the folks on the PTT (Parish Transition Team) really think that people are going to go to the new Mass(es) at different worship sites, just because they’re being given community-friendly Mass? I thought the new parish was supposed to “incorporate” the worship styles of each community – where’s the Mass with the communion rail? Will there be one neume of Gregorian Chant? We know the answers to these questions. And so does Fr. Tanck. A pastor is a shepherd of his flock, one who is entrusted with their spiritual well-being. Where’s the comfort for the parishioners of St. Thomas and St. Salome? Is it in the heart of Fr. Tanck, or in the hearts of those who spend their nights on their knees before the Blessed Sacrament in St. Thomas’ adoration chapel?

I can’t say that I’m surprised by the bluntness and lack-lustre “charity” of the announcement. You know, one of the most frustrating things about the whole situation is that the people say “no” and their own priests, with one obvious exception, say “no” too. The priest council debated the point, and there were several priests voicing their praises of St. Thomas. But, alas, they’re closing. Does the Bishop not care that reality is in favor of keeping St. Thomas open? St. Margaret Mary’s received the kiss of death from Nancy DeRycke. St. Cecilia’s is dying off very quickly. Christ the King is stable, but has a reputation for heterodox teaching and liturgy. St. Thomas was perfectly stable before the IPPG got their grubby paws on it, pushing her into a marriage she didn’t want.

The best metaphor I could really conceive on the spur of the moment was the following scene from the Patriot. The people of St. Thomas are sticking together, like the colonists. Like the colonists, the parishioners wanted to trust their leadership, but received nothing but condescension and spiteful words and actions. When they tried to deal with the British military/IPPG and the British commanders/Bishop Clark, Fr. Tanck, all they received was hostility. Now, when they’re confronted with their moment of truth, their choice to yield or resist, the people of St. Thomas must stay together, at all costs, to fight off the wolves who are tightening their circle around them. While the patriots in the film were burned to death by British brutality, I pray that the people of St. Thomas endure through the smoke which is rising around about them. After all, we’re the ones with “Fire” on our side. All they have are pushy nuns, folk hymnals, bongo drums, and felt banners. Not an impressive arsenal, that.

It has been said that the Church is nourished by the blood of the martyrs. I’d like to remind all of us that this blood isn’t just the literal scarlet flood, but the spiritual anguish of our own hearts. The people of so many parishes and schools in the DoR have been oppressed, wounded, and suffered grievous transgressions. Look around you, and you see the monuments to Rochester’s suffering. Our orthodox parishes are targeted for no other reason but for humble obedience. Just as St. Anne was immolated upon the altar of feminism, so too may St. Thomas be grilled over the coals of progressivism’s scheming. Anyone who has the gall to love Tradition in Rochester walks around with a target on his or her heart, just begging to be pierced by the Bishop’s rancorous lance. Let’s not disappoint, shall we? Wear your target with pride, and when your soul is pierced, find joy in knowing that just as you suffer, so too did Our Lord suffer. Couple your sorrows and your anguish to his. In doing this, there can be no defeat, no lasting bitterness. It is a joyful thing to be able to suffer for the Church, and at the hands of the Church’s own shepherds. It is a purifying pain which, when held and examined yields the fruits of Christian charity. Bear all things patiently, with longsuffering, and do not cease to pray. Your ordeal isn’t just your own, but Our Lord’s as well. And let me tell you, friends, He will not permit Himself to be offended forever.

We are praying for you,  just as you have prayed for us.

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