The 10am Mass on Sunday at St Vincent’s was stacked with many more Neocats than usual, including a significant proportion of first-timers. They were almost strategically distributed about the church, surrounding the community, to hear Prindiville read this letter to the congregation before Mass on Sunday. It was also published in the weekend’s parish bulletin.
From the Parish Priest
Dear brothers and sisters, and people of good will,
Our parish of St. Vincent has recently been in the news. For this reason Fr Clesio and I wish to appeal to you for cooperation.
More than three eventful years ago I was appointed as Parish Priest by the Cardinal. I accepted this mission with joy and am still happy to be here to serve. The parish has particular characteristics, with its indigenous population and the significant heritage of Fr Ted Kennedy's work. We did not come with any preconceived idea or plan. We have great love and respect for our indigenous brothers and sisters, and for all to whom the Lord invites us to announce the Good News of Jesus Christ.
This parish has a history of involvement in social and justice issues for which there is a time and a place. We acknowledge the importance of this aspect of Church life: we have both lived and worked among the poor and oppressed - Clesio in Brazil and I among displaced Haitians in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
We can have different ideas or opinions on many aspects of the life of the Church and of society, but the Liturgy is where we can experience communion, accepting also that there are different roles in the Body of Christ. The celebration of the Mass is not the place for making political statements or points, but rather the place where the Lord passes among us. This requires that all accept the norms and traditions of the Church in relation to the Liturgy.
We therefore insist that during the Mass the introductions be brief and related to the Scripture proclaimed. This is not the place for criticism of the Church, the Bishops or clergy.
Likewise the Prayers of the Faithful should be brief and genuine prayers. It is not appropriate to give long explanations, or make critical statements. We are simply asking the Lord, who knows our problems and needs, for his help.
All are welcome to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, but the norms and traditions of the Church must be respected by all. It is our duty when we preside at the celebrations to ensure that this happens. There is no place for interventions or interruptions without the knowledge and consent of the presiding priest at any time until after the final Blessing.
We ask that all respect our wishes, in order that together we may journey towards the heavenly banquet which will be the fulfilment of all our desires.
Fr. Gerry Prindiville, Parish Priest
The Church Mouse wonders whose pusillanimous performance piece this actually is. It has little in common with the Prindivillean utterings to which we have become accustomed.
In the true spirit of journeying together towards the heavenly banquet, the community’s commentary on the readings and Prayers of the Faithful were apparently recorded by the Neocats, no doubt to be carefully scrutinized for heresies that might provide fuel for a little burning at the stake.