“I’m surprised that there’s anyone joining up to be ordained a priest in these crazy times,” exclaimed a parishioner a day before the ordinations. Hah! He doesn’t know our great seminarians!
Zipping down for the 400+ mile trip to Saint Mark’s in Huntersville (much bigger than the Cathedral in Charlotte), it was wonderful to witness our Lord Jesus at work in the ordination of two more priests for this diocese of western North Carolina.
My own parish is in Charlotte Diocese, though it would be difficult to be more distant than we are from the Cathedral, Chancery and the larger parishes. This parish is far closer to the Cathedrals of Knoxville, TN and Atlanta GA, with the Cathedrals of Nashville TN and Birmingham AL being just some minutes farther than Charlotte.
This year the ordinations were on Friday, not Saturday, much easier for me, with so far to travel. I otherwise have to cancel Saturday afternoon confessions and even confessions before the Vigil Mass, getting back, literally, just seconds before Mass is to begin.
Being so far from the big cities of the diocese, it is always a culture shock for me to emerge from the very heart of Appalachia and try to take in the ways and means of how other parishes are handling Covid-19 precautions.
Of course, I shouldn’t be so entitled. I offered up the weirdness (and it was weird) for the priests in China who are suffering the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party not only with Covid-19, but also in reeducation camps, labor camps, torture and death camps. We are inconvenienced by the CCP-Covid-19, but priests in China know much more of the violent persecution of the CCP. They know more than anyone what it means to be faithful to our Lord without compromise. They would laugh at our entitlement to be free of weirdness from the State or others.
Even with the idiocy of the policies of some governors bringing mayhem and violence to the streets of America, I don’t think many of us have a clue as to what persecution in this life can be like. We make a big deal out of some inconveniences, and perhaps we are right to mention these things, but at the same time we must open our eyes.
Just my opinion, but it seems to me that our seminarians and young priests have their eyes open to the way things really are in this fallen world. They have been called by Christ our God to His Priesthood. They have received most excellent training and formation. They want to be prompt and ready in their obedience to the truth in all charity, to Christ Jesus Himself. They are awake, clear.
Being “woke” in America is fake news, as there is no one who is more in a coma than are those who think they are “woke,” all the new communists in our midst. But we’ve been training our guys rightly in this diocese, pointing them all to Jesus, who does open eyes, who does have us awake and at the ready.
For myself, it is perhaps more appropriate to come up with another analogy of being “woke” at this stage in my life, but again by Christ Jesus: “Arise! Let us be going! Behold, my betrayer is at hand.” I was asleep earlier in my life right along with those three apostles in the garden of Gethsemane. But I think I might have learned something of being trained in by my guardian angel for situational awareness regarding entitled heretics, regarding those who are truly evil. I’m my own worst enemy.
But who’s the betrayer who is always at hand? All those who are “woke” into darkness and violence and evil, who are far from the Lord Jesus.
I thank the Lord daily for having me here in this diocese.
I thank the Lord daily for having me here in this parish.
I have to wonder when we also will be hit by the mayhem that we see elsewhere. It’s always elsewhere until it happens to you. So…
Prayers of solidarity with our new priests, whom I’m guessing are more at the ready than I will ever be, who are assigned to much bigger parishes than I will ever see. Blessings be upon them. Better them than me! … Hail Mary …