Category Archives: Coronavirus

NC Gov Cooper caves: churches open. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Late last night, Saturday, May 16 2020, after we already had the Vigil Mass, parishioners started texting me that a Federal judge has just blocked NC governor Cooper’s restrictions on religious services and that Cooper won’t appeal. In other words, churches are open with no restrictions, as per the Constitution of these United States.

Governor Cooper was singling out religious services for his draconian policies.

Governor Cooper was acting in a discriminatory manner against religious organizations, restricting even mega-churches to ten people even while state-profiting ABC liquor stores operate as normal with impunity, with other stores like Lowes and Walmart having jammed parking lots like I’ve never seen before.

Bullying from the top of the political spectrum is the most cynical misuse of the law possible. I would categorize it at a hate crime, you know, a “white collar” hate crime. I think Cooper can still be sued in Federal Court. The Department of Justice has requested that just this kind of litigation take place. Director Bill Barr will make sure it goes well for the Constitution.

The Judge’s order may become permanent upon a hearing scheduled for May 29. We’ll all be watching closely. Until then, law enforcement cannot raid groups who are, say, reciting the Lord’s prayer, dragging the worshipers out on the streets. And they can’t do that anyway, not under the Constitution of these United States. We’ll all be watching that closely as well.

Mind you, Governor Cooper had directed that it is up to law enforcement to decide what is or is not possible for various religious rites of various religious organizations, which is not only against the free exercise of religion, but also makes for the establishment of what religion is to be in the law as regulated by the state. That’s also against the Constitution. And this mix of the judiciary system with the executive, so that law enforcement become on-the-street judge, jury and executioner, is… what?… Martial Law? Just. Wow.

And there are many other points regarding the policies of Governor Cooper. But, as a bully, he’s a coward, and has run away. Great! We’re good to go. We always were.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

See the previous post for context:

https://ariseletusbegoing.com/2020/05/16/mass-schedule-vs-nc-governor-cooper-communion-style-leo-accompaniment/

13 Comments

Filed under Bullying, Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion

Coronavirus entrenching: “I’m right!”

Bored Quarantine GIF by America's Funniest Home Videos

We’ve all heard it, I think mostly from people who haven’t had symptoms or who don’t know anyone – much less a loved one – who has suffered and/or died from Coronavirus, saying that Covid-19 doesn’t really count as something special, that it doesn’t affect the brain or blood or kidneys or lungs in any way different from the “normal” type A or type B influenza, that we’ve never had anything to be careful about regarding our elderly health-compromised or anyone else, that all have been total fools for being prudent on behalf of our neighbors, that we must now worship the one person in the world who was loudly “right” about all this since the beginning, but only if we also admit that we were all fools, all except for that one person who is thrilled to smash others down: “Woohoo!” and all that… I see it all the time, as people also try to direct how I should be handling a public institution like a church with so very many immuno- or otherwise health-compromised elderly parishioners:

  • Heck with you, Father Byers, for having your parish closed!
  • Heck with you, Father Byers, for having your parish open!
  • Heck with you, Father Byers, for providing the sacraments throughout the State of North Carolina!
  • Heck with you, Father Byers, for not providing the sacraments throughout the State of North Carolina!

The thing is, they don’t know what is going on with me and my parish because they don’t ask or just assume they know. That’s the same arrogance and hyper-narcissism we’ve all heard from those who are always “right” about this and everything else.

Isn’t that tiresome? Do we have to claim divine knowledge – the gnostic heresy – in order to be “acceptable” to others, getting all emotional, because the most extreme of emotions wins the “argument”?

We don’t have to claim we know everything. That’s for the entitlement generation, who are entitled to be right no matter what.

Why not just be charitable with others and do what we can in the circumstances we find ourselves in? Much better that, compared to any entitlement dances of being “right.”

And anyway, this isn’t over, is it? No. Things change every day.

“SHUT UP, FATHER BYERS! I’M RIGHT BECAUSE I’M ME!”

I’m guessing I have not much of any more of a reaction to such reactions. There’s no way I’m going to engage any such person. It doesn’t work. So, I say: “What-eh-vur…”

7 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coronavirus quarantine? No such drama

Lisa simpson episode 11 season 15 GIF - Find on GIFER

With some merely state-wise but not U.S. Constitution-wise civil disobedience proceeding in our little parish, what with the full Mass and Adoration and Confession schedules, everything was then cancelled on the schedule, but not because of any law enforcement intervention, not because of any cases of Coronavirus of anyone in the parish. In fact, my own Covid-19 test result (negative) was just reported to me minutes ago by the head doctor of the Cherokee County Health Department.

A very kind parishioner in the backsides of the beyonds in far western Graham county offered not only to fix up Jenny the Jeep as a “woods-truck” (what with her burnt out electrical system and smashed up steering gear box, etc) …

wp-15888557157137662592121691956566.jpg

… but he’s also kindly offered to supply the rectory with a wood-stove.

Meanwhile, another kind parishioner was taking down some trees next to the church and offered me a cherry and a hickory for the would-be wood-stove to come. I asked whether the ivy covering the hickory was poison, and he said that he thought it was kudzu, but not anything poisonous as far as he knew.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It turned out that 99.9% was English Ivy, you know, the innocuous kind that covers old ivy league institutions like Cambridge and Harvard and Yale. But 0.01% was poison oak. It was hiding. The tree guys dropped off the logs at the rectory and spent days cutting up the logs to stove-length while removing the ivy, putting the ivy in piles, and burning the ivy, all the while oblivious to the poison oak. Here’s the difference with the two, the poison oak having wilted immediately, while the English Ivy is staying quite fresh:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The bare forearms were scrapping against the rough bark of the logs, and that’s what I thought the rash was on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, but then by Saturday it was all too much. By that time the arms were leaking and I had to admit something was amiss. I got some advice and bought some things at the pharmacy, including a bag of Epsom salts and some Calamine lotion. But the eye’s also went crazy:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The leaking on the arms was so exaggerated that it washed the Epsom Salts right off. We didn’t have poison oak up in Minnesota when I was a kid, and the poison ivy is only really in bush form where I was from. My situational awareness for the unexpected is obviously suffering a bit. It must be all the double negatives so common here…

Mayor quimby season 15 eating GIF on GIFER - by Nikogar

My primary care doctor is unavailable until mid-June, so I made an appointment with the Cherokee County Health Department. “The worse case I have ever seen,” said the nice doctor. I was given an 80 mg shot of Methylprednisolone and given the simultaneous usual six day tapering off course of tablets also of Methylprednisolone. I asked about a prescription cream for the itching, but considering the oozing and how deeply rooted it was, she said that creams would do “nothing.” So, I got a prescription for Hydroxyzine tablets. It’s all working pretty well. It’s still a bit like a hair shirt…

Meanwhile, a very kind neighbor who is not susceptible to poison anything offered to remove the ivy for me. How good is that?! Great!

Meanwhile, because of all the steroids, I was told to self-quarantine, not because of any Coronavirus, but because I now have entirely zero immune system. To have even a temporary immunodeficiency during this time of Coronavirus is not good.

QUESTION FOR ANY READERS WHO ARE IN THE KNOW MEDICALLY:

I’ve not been able to find anything on the half-life of the steroids, that is, when it seriously starts to weaken. So I looked up the calendar effectiveness of Methylprednisolone. By some accounts it looks to be five days for poison ivy. For other conditions it’s two weeks, or for some things three weeks. I want to get out out of my self-quarantine ASAP. But when will that be safe for me? I also don’t want to be in an exaggeratedly vulnerable position, get Coronavirus but with no symptoms, and then spread it about to my vulnerable parishioners. So, does anyone have a good estimate of the timings for my re-entry into societal contact?

Meanwhile, the nice doctor at the Health Clinic said that we will be getting serology testing in another week or two and I can come down for that test. Not that it necessarily means anything – as there are so very many variables – but at least it is something even if only an occasion for overconfidence.

14 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus parish schedule and reader appeal for naming the rectory chapel

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Governor Cooper of North Carolina will be opening up some church possibilities on Friday, May 8, 2020. Much more on that later. But this past weekend and into the start of the week, as a for-instance, we already had the full parish schedule going, with Masses and Confessions and Adoration, the works. I’m happy to see the flowers that people brought for Mary and her dear Son, Jesus. I mean, the whole time I’ve been trying to provide the sacraments, particularly the Last Rites and Confessions and Holy Communion, as best I could. People are very happy also to receive the Papal Indulgences, etc., for end-of-life circumstances.

But after Mass on Monday earlier this week, everything changed for the worse, and everything was cancelled. No public Masses or Adoration for some time to come. More on that later. There always has to be a drama, right? I’ve removed the Most Blessed Sacrament from the church and brought Jesus back to what I at least consider to be a glorious little chapel in the rectory.

I think I need to name the little chapel here, you know, like putting a name plate over the door kind of thing. That will take some consideration. Any ideas?

12 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Coronavirus misinfo & the stones, ed.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here are some of the “volunteers”, as one farmer-friend names such unexpected friends, coming up through the very stones next to the parish church during this weedy time that we live in. This blog has experienced some radio silence, not for some 2 1/2 weeks – lots of reasons for that – but I feel I must put up some flowers for the Immaculate Conception. Perhaps that will kick-start me into jotting down outlines of discernment on so very many aspects of these rocky Coronavirus times. There are dozens of drafts in the admin section of the blog, beginning of posts that were abandoned as contingencies of urgent pastoral care took priority.

There has been much fake news both from the left and, alas, also from the right, with people not knowing where to land as the scientific indications are just as fake, or not. Who knows? or is it WHO knows? or not? But many feel they nonetheless they must choose “sides” with great emotion regardless of the politically correct spectrum being somewhat un-clarified. It’s almost as if horseshoe bats from China have been biting people, pretending they were each impersonating Count Dracula from some the other side of some forest in Transylvania.

horseshoe bats in china wsj

The truth of the matter is that we don’t know much about the truth of the matter. There simply is no taking things at face value. We just can’t land on any solid conclusions in a time also – mind you – of a U.S. presidential election. There is more and also much less sincere reporting going on in the news media. So, what to do?

It is always a good idea to remain steadfast in one’s relationship with Jesus, perhaps opening up one’s eyes a bit more to the times in which Jesus lived with all of its similar misinformation. Even when there seems to be a bright moment, with people crying out to greet our Lord riding into Jerusalem on a donkey on that first “Palm Sunday,” it will be the same ones who would soon be asking for His death.

Mary saw it all. She’s been there, done that, seen it all before. Have we lost a loved one because of Covid-19? She lost her dear Son due to misinformation in her time.

Jesus said that the very stones would cry out. The stones around our parish church are crying out. They are on the “Guadalupe” side of the church. The crying out might have been fickle in the time of our Lord, but it was still a crying out. Our own cries might be fickle, unbeknownst to us, but our Lord, with the maternal intercession of His good mom, can rectify our wavering prayer, and have cries issue from a steadfast friendship regardless of any rivers of misinformation. So, some flowers from the stones for you, Mary.

4 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Flores

Coronavirus: Pope’s Missionary of Mercy Beach Day on Divine Mercy Sunday

wp-15874629904435800045380949915353.jpg

Yours truly took this picture early Monday morning after sleeping over at the Kure Beach beach house of some good friends to which I arrived at about 12:30 AM Sunday night. I was told to go right in to the second floor of that house (which is up on stilts, of course), and then head up to the third floor, go the end of the hallway, and use the bedroom suit that I will find with pictures of Pope Benedict and Saints John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

wp-15874630677597139494031035213191.jpg

That means that I had to have left the rectory in Andrews, NC, at least some eight hours previously, Sunday afternoon. Indeed, after Divine Mercy Sunday Mass, and while doing up a ride-along with the PD as chaplain, a call came in requesting my presence at the beach. Great! Off I went in Sassy the Subaru.

The picture below is taken from the exact same spot as the picture on the top of this post, just turned to the South. That’s the pier just north of Myrtle Beach, which brings back many memories with mom and dad. We all walked down the pier together some thirty years ago. It would only be a few years later that they would both have passed on. I’m so nostalgic…

wp-15874631610966114911191394464219.jpg

Those good friends? She’s a prosecuting attorney, and he, after a spectacular career in law enforcement, enjoys providing consultation presentations all around the world to assist in strategies for the most difficult logistics in law enforcement and incarceration and parole. He was home because of… of course… the Coronvirus lock down. Here’s what I found on the other side of “my room” for the night:

wp-15874632360355065838948439924814.jpg

Scandalous! Absconding from duty! A priest going to the beach while there is a declared State of Emergency (read the government notice in the top picture)! What about taking care of the Lord’s little flock? What about providing the Last Rites to those in need? And worse, using pious pictures to cover over such cowardice, leaving the flock untended!

There’s always two sides to any story, right? Well, here’s the truth of it:

After these good friends provided me with coffee and scrumptious scrambled eggs early the next morning, after just a few minutes of catching up, the pastoral plan they had hatched with me hours earlier on Divine Mercy Sunday afternoon went into action. My Google Maps feature on the phone was locked in, and away I went to another residence which sports this massive well-done statue out on the road (reminding me of The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark +1965, a book my mom made sure I read so long ago):

wp-15874629198928697001133974732788.jpg

You have to know that the Director of Liturgy in that far away diocese has draconian policies on the provision of sacraments in this time of Coronavirus. This is public knowledge. Horrific. A nightmare for the faithful who want to the sacraments. Some of the reaction of some of the priests of that diocese are less than beneficial. It seems one would not provide the proper sacramental formulae, just saying something invalid for any sacrament, such as Have a nice day. Another just left a message saying he’s unavailable at this time. Another does up sacraments, invalidly, over the phone.

So these great friends of mine called me, who am not quite a 900 mile round trip away. We have a mutual friend, a close friend, who could not find a priest to do what any priest should do, even with him now leaving this life to be on his way to the next. I dropped everything and got there as fast as I could.

Don’t think I’m virtuous in doing that. Not at all. I absolutely love racing about as a Missionary of Mercy, as Jesus’ priest, and doing what any priest should do. I have great neighbors who watch over the house and feed the dogs. I had an absolutely wonderful time racing back and forth at night on pretty much entirely empty highways and entirely empty back roads. Fortunately, it was a day after a fierce rainfall, and the fallen trees had already been pushed out of the way by bigger vehicles than mine:

wp-15874628419757667382220414798324.jpg

That’s on the way back, early Monday afternoon, at the start of the one-lane gravel road up Holy Souls Mountain, though still a few miles from the Holy Souls Hermitage. At the house of the neighbor to the hermitage I picked up fully seven October Beans which had been set aside for me to plant. That’s a lot. I am most grateful. More on that later.

The neighbors there weren’t home and I didn’t need to stick around for more Last Rites. They were at the doctors, which should tell you something in these times of basically zero face-to-face meetings with any medical personnel if at all possible. As it is, all reports of a zillion invasive tests came back with the best outcome possible. No Last Rites – again – were needed. I’m very happy with that. Thank you, Jesus.

Meanwhile, I do have a standing invitation to “go to the beach” any time I want. ;-)

Sometimes, honestly, I think I have way, way, way tooooo much fun as a priest. I’m totally happy watching Jesus be the priest, with me just going along for the ride. :-)

When I got back, I did up some grocery shopping for the elderly health-compromised in the parish, delivered those groceries, also delivering bacon to some good friends that I had picked up on the way back (10 pounds!), and then got back to the rectory once again. It’s now Tuesday morning. How did that happen so quickly? In just a few minutes after I publish this, Father Gordon MacRae is going to call for an hour or so, as I missed the usual Monday morning call. So I better end this here. Glad to be back.

7 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

Coronavirus High Holy Days Humor in a real Prison while we’re on lockdown

pilate jesus barabbas passion of the christ

Pilate in the center, Jesus in light, Barabbas in the dark.

When Pilate asks whom the people want him to release, as was the custom during the High Holy Days, the people shout repeatedly: “We want Barabbas! We want Barabbas!”

Jesus is the Divine Son of the Father, laying down His life for us, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment each one of us deserves so as to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Hours before, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to His Father: “Abba! Father!”

Jesus, the Divine Son of the Father is passed over in favor of Barabbas, whose name, in full irony, means “Son of the Father.” And so are we all created and now redeemed as children of our gracious Heavenly Father.

Has any of us ever said about anyone anywhere, “Better him than me”?

Meanwhile, the people, all of us, received what we wanted: Barabbas.

And then this is what happened to Jesus before being crucified:

Jesus Pilate Ecce Homo

Notice the clever film editing: Jesus, who was at the right hand of the political powers that be, is now on the left hand of the political powers that be.


Humor: So, in prison, two good friends, Father Gordon MacRae and Pornchai Maximilian Moontri, celebrated Palm Sunday Mass with the reading of the Passion. Max took all the parts except Jesus and the Narrator, meaning he also had, for instance, the crowd.

Max, you have to know, is from Thailand, and grew up speaking Thai until 11 years old, when he was effectively stolen away to Maine, being a horrific saga that has turned out well in the end. The point is that he doesn’t have perfect English Pronunciation of Hebrew, which means that… drum roll… wait for it…

At the point where the crowd yells: “We want Barabbas! We want Barabbas!” Max instead reads, entirely innocently: “We want Baber-Ass! We want Baber-Ass!”

Father Gordon said that he somehow contained his laughter. I would have laughed so loudly the guards would have had to show up in force.

This is one of those epic, epic moments in the life of Jesus’ little flock. A story that will surely be told in heaven, hopefully with also a redeemed and saved Barabbas listening.

Meanwhile, on this Friday of Easter week – every day like Easter Day…

1 Comment

Filed under Coronavirus, Humor, Spiritual life

Coronavirus Keto hobbies: gardening

wp-15868664389211218477627428614159.jpg

I would never have started gardening if not for the Coronavirus and lockdowns. I do exhaust myself with religious activities that are possible in these difficult times – putting a zillion miles on Sassy the Subaru – but there is also a moment here or there as the days turn into weeks and months.

I would never have started gardening if not for Keto. It’s not that I will be growing anything that is necessarily Keto friendly, it’s that I was so overweight previous to Keto that I just could not do up something like gardening. Never.

  1. Weeding and then weed-eating around Brakeman and the Papal Flag. The flag is a bit disintegrated at the moment. An analogy there. Meanwhile, Brake-Man, appropriately, continues to represent now rusty mankind in all of the effects of Adam’s original sin, putting on the brakes on everything. He’s made out of brakes by my artistic and mechanically minded neighbor to the hermitage of yore. He stands next to the day lilies roaring back to their springtime glories.
  2. Planting Spaghetti Squash seeds next to the rose bush. Who knows…
  3. Constructing seed-boxes – with bottoms – for the top of the steps to either side of the door, in front of Mary and Anthony of Padua. The wood is left over from the hermitage. These are for leaf-lettuce. I’ll be off the Keto diet by the time this gets ready to pick.
  4. Cutting down dead branches from the Ceder trees out back and constructing Tepee style bean poles. My neighbor to the hermitage is graciously going to supply me with enough October Beans to take over the front of the rectory. October beans are loved by humming birds as a fierce battle ground. The beans are so big that you only need a handful for soup.

Still planks left over… I know!

wp-15868662864256334022758147284606.jpg

The storm we had the past couple of days flooded the creek to overflowing, which brought water and debris throughout the rectory lot, lapping up against the foundation of the house, but these seed-boxes might just be high enough to keep their future contents from being washed away.

All the seed boxes are half-filled with the manure of Cooper-the-Therapy-Pony, who lives in the neighbor’s adjoining back yard. Cooper is only about twice the size of Shadow-dog. The rest of the seed boxes are filled with potting soil and then mixed up. These are spread out along the fence for a reason. There are two mounds in each box, six altogether. Three will be for straight neck yellow squash; three will be for cucumbers. The vines are long, but there is plenty of room for them. They will also mature when I’m off the Keto diet.

I’ll have to “ride fence” daily as the vines start to grow to length, making sure that they are tied up to the fence, making the lawn available for easy mowing.

More things to do:

  • Mulch for the front around the October Beans and Day Lilies
  • Perhaps some flowers for the front steps on either side, effectively hiding the fronts of the boxes and honoring Mary and St Anthony.
  • I’m thinking of tomatoes… Perhaps Early Girls… They would actually go in the carport… a peculiar setup there… We’ll see…

All because of Keto and Coronavirus…

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Diet, Gardening

Coronavirus, Keto, no more BP meds: hydroxychloroquine availability

Before and After photos of yours truly as the Keto diet continues for just a little longer. Some 63 pounds lost. Body-Mass-Index is now 25 point whatever. But there can be weird consequences with this, such as with blood pressure.

It was when I was way too overweight that I went on BP meds since both the systolic and diastolic were astronomically high. Those meds brought the BP down to 140s and 150s (I think 163 was about the highest) over even high 90s, which was still a bit much. After going on Keto, as the weight dropped, so did the BP. A lot.

On Holy Saturday and Easter I checked the BP and it was down to the 120s over 80s. That’s a huge improvement, but that’s still with me being on BP meds.

On Easter the dosage was cut in half, and by early Monday morning the BP dropped down quite a bit for both Systolic and Diastolic.

wp-15868644240894265443184427294734.jpg

Interesting. Unexpected. On Monday the BP meds were cut out altogether. This morning, Tuesday, a rather surprising result:

wp-15868609156913062344748593372888.jpg

It almost seems that the BP meds – although doing their job overall at the beginning – were also aggravating something just a bit, so that the lowering of the BP wasn’t as much as it could have been. A mystery. But ditching the meds and getting this result is fine by me. Also, not taking the BP meds lays aside the bad side effects. Finally!

Also, in these Coronavirus times, it is to be noted that one of the BP meds has as its very first counterindication the taking of hydroxychloroquine. Hah! Well then. Now I’m available to take hydroxychloroquine with a Z-Pac and maybe some Zinc should Covid-19 come my way. I’d rather not get Coronavirus at all.

Mind you, I was hardly able to exercise previously, and now I can. That’s also a game changer for health and for Blood Pressure.

Mind you, it’s only been a day. We’ll see what happens. I might have to eat all my words. I did mention this to my doctor. But I’m enthused. All the better for this donkey-priest so as to protect the flock:

DONKEY FOX

5 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

A Coronavirus Easter Triduum Octave

wp-158670564020353551734378262499.jpg

The Empty Tomb! The Light is shining brightly. Here’s the Easter Fire we had…

wp-15866952250752092101691840535070.jpg

The Light of Christ always was and is and will be shining. Christ’s love, His grace, His presence within us, a love stronger than death, bringing us from the darkness of this world to eternal life, comes from – just to say it – Jesus, who is always alive even in His momentary physical death. We see that glory of the only Begotten of the Father in the darkness of Calvary – glory unto glory of the Light from Light, a love that is proven, with wounds, with taking on our punishment of our sin, standing in our place, the Innocent for guilty, to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. We all look upon Him whom we have all pierced.

Because He endured to the end, dying for us, He conquered, and is is victorious. He has the right to give us the wherewithal, that grace, that friendship, that we might walk with Him in this world right unto the next, even with our justly still suffering the effects of original sin, our own personal sin, and the sin of others while we are yet in this world. We are weak and continue to be weak. But He is strong and draws us up into His strength.

Even the weakness helps us, reminding us of why we need salvation out of the total hell of this world so that we might be brought to heaven in eternity. We are so very weak that we need to be reminded. All things work together for the benefit of those who believe. We find our security in His love that is, again, stronger than any weakness, stronger than any disease, stronger than death. This brings us joy, and a peace adequate to go on because this is not just some intellectual “ideology”, but a living faith, a bond of charity with God Himself. It’s personal.

Yes, there is an empty Saint Peter’s Square and empty Saint Peter’s Basilica:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what?! Everyone is scampering to meet Jesus in the upper room and then up in Galilee. Great. I’m running 24/7 all this time. Aren’t you? Peter and the “other Apostle” ran to see the Empty Tomb. Great. But then what…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Let’s go fishing…”

We are so very weak.

More on that later.

Meanwhile, this is the Octave of Easter. It’s like Easter Sunday every day until next Sunday.

I, for one, am exhausted from my scampering about. I can’t speak much about all that as there are different interpretations of the law regarding quarantines. I just do what I need to do to provide the Sacraments. Clever as snakes but innocent as doves and all that. But, thanks be to God, I am joyful, and at peace. Thanks be to God.

I hope ye are all doing well. Happy Easter to ye all. Be at peace. With joy.

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Jesus, Spiritual life

Coronavirus Good Friday

Today news came that a certain test of someone came back negative for Coronavirus. Great. That’s a burden lifted for me and many others.

Today I was called by the nursing home to give Last Rites to someone, which I did. In the midst of all the special rules for nursing homes in the time of Coronavirus, this was wonderful. A consolation to all.

Today, because of Coronavirus, I celebrated the “Mass if the Presanctified”, to wit, the Good Friday Service, alone with Jesus. As a priest, alone with Jesus for Good Friday… Tremendous are the Sacred Mysteries of our salvation.

Today I had the privilege to go shopping for the elderly and health compromised. Such a joy. Imagine that. Joy on Good Friday.

Today a very close friend got me up to date on some projects providing prophylaxis over against Coronavirus. This involves the Pentagon and a group which can only be described as DARPA on ultra-super steroids, for all of which he is a consultor. This will be a game changer. A sea change in practice now and moving forward.

Today was running a zillion miles an hour. Now I collapse in bed as I publish this, happy for this day and yet feeling I should have done much more, prayed much more…

But this I know… I am certain of it… Our dear Lord in laying down His life for us is very good and kind and loves us very much.

Coronavirus, even if it touches every aspect of our lives, is still just a sideshow. What really counts is Jesus, whose love is stronger than death. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

11 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coronavirus cough at supermarket

Independent modeling studies came up with the same thing.

I’ve been subjected to a couple of twenty something guys sneezing in my direction at the supermarket and then laughing, and then two twenty something girls on different occasions also at the supermarket coughing in my direction so that I would exit that aisle forthwith, which I did. They wanted to be alone in the aisle. I mean, it was a thing: glancing up to see a person entering the aisle on the far side of the store, squaring off while staring me down, and the deliberately repeatedly coughing. Sigh. Whateeeever. Such entitlement antics would be humorous if they weren’t so sad. And if the video above is accurate about aerosolised molecules, such antics are also useless. But that might let people know where they are at in regard to respect for their neighbor. I don’t expect respect, but disrespect that is also dangerous is slightly annoying.

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Question *after* fetching Oils of the Chrism Mass on Last Rites, Confessions, “essential” priests

COVID-19

Just before midnight, Monday night, stretching into early Tuesday of Holy Week – the usual day for the Chrism Mass in this Diocese – I was assisting at an urgent situation that included someone presenting with a persistent slight cough (I noticed), and who – hours later on Tuesday trundled off to get tested because of sharply increased symptoms for COVID-19. Of course, since we are in a healthcare desert, any test done here doesn’t take five minutes. The results can take four to five days or even longer. Yours truly was within six feet of said person for perhaps thirty minutes or more all told. Said person later Tuesday evening informed someone who, about 10:30 PM that same Tuesday, just 23 hours after the “proximity incident”, informed yours truly.

Meanwhile, Tuesday afternoon, before that information came my way, on way way back home after retrieving the Sacred Oils after the Chrism Mass in Charlotte, I stopped to see some friends to drop something off – this taking only seconds and with me wearing my N-95 Mask. I then repeated this a few hours later, at 8:00 PM, leaving another package with another friend, with me wearing my N-95 Mask and already being in the car before that friend came outside. So, both of these stops were in less than a day of the “proximity incident.” As I understand it, it takes more than 48 hours to begin to start “shedding” Coronavirus molecules. All are safe and sound.

So, now, as of this writing, now late Wednesday morning, some 58 1/2 hours have passed since assisting in the midst of that “proximity incident.” That’s about the time, right now, that I would start to perhaps begin “shedding” Coronavirus molecules, regardless of whether or not I myself developed any symptoms. I could turn out to be a “carrier.”


Should I quarantine myself, or self-isolate? Let’s review the technical terms and the regulations regarding same that were in force until Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020:

  • “According to the CDC, quarantines are meant to restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These individuals are asymptomatic but have either traveled to an area with an active outbreak of the virus, or have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. Self-quarantining allows health officials to closely monitor the development of symptoms, if any, while preventing further transmission of the virus. Those who are asked to self-quarantine will be told to stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days.”
  • Isolation, meanwhile, refers to separating those who are already sick from the rest of the population. Self-isolation provides individuals the opportunity to recover from the virus without spreading it to others. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate until the following:
    •  

      You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

    • AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
    • AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. The decision to stop home isolation should be left to healthcare providers and local health authorities.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020, at the usual presser, that advice was somewhat changed,  to wit (from PBS):

The federal government has released new guidelines for when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus. The guidance pertains to essential critical workers who have been exposed to COVID-19. For those individuals, the guidelines advise:

  • Take your temperature before work.
  • Wear a face mask at all times.
  • Practice social distancing in the workplace as work duties permit

The guidelines advise individuals not to:

  • Stay at work if you become sick.
  • Share headsets or other items used near one’s face.
  • Congregate in the break room, lunchroom, or other crowded places.

Employers are asked to:

  • Take the employee’s temperature and assess their symptoms before the employee starts back at work.
  • If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately.
  • Increase the air exchange in the building.
  • Increase the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
  • Test the use of face masks to ensure they don’t interfere with workflow.

[…] The CDC defines a potential exposure as “being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.”

The new guidance apply only to workers in critical infrastructure jobs. That category has been defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (part of the Department of Homeland Security), but only as an advisory list, not a federal standard.

By CISA’s reckoning, the category includes certain workers in healthcare and public health, law enforcement and first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation, public works, critical manufacturing, financial services, communications, among other sectors. […]

Redfield said the new guidelines are for workers in critical roles who “have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case,” so that they can go back to work under certain circumstances. […]


So, will this priest continue to offer Confessions and Last Rites, and will he continue to assist as Chaplain to the Law Enforcement family? There are essential roles to play even in the eyes of an atheist, such as suicide prevention and death notification. Wicked, horrifically violent crimes continue to happen even in this small hamlet of Andrews, NC. Hearing Confessions and giving the Last Rites are protected under the First Amendment, even under the Federal, State, County and Town restrictions. And they are essentially important. I can’t imagine the despair and the chaos that might well ensue if this was all to be taken away as well. I will continue.

By the way and just to say, CISA, mentioned above, is a rather serious player in all this. I just met with a close friend who is a member of CISA, who “does stuff” for CISA, who carries a “pass”, if you will, that has all check point law enforcement wave him right on through when he gets to the check point. He has no problem with me doing all that I am doing. :-)

Oh, and also, as of this writing, as of this publishing, I have zero symptoms. Regarding temperature, since I started Keto last November 1019 – losing now fully 63 pounds (and this is common) – I am no longer at 98.6 F, but hover around ~97.6 or ~97.7. For now. I mean, I never get sick, until I do, right?

Having said all that, I would like to stay put for the next days to see what happens. I am semper paratus for the Sacred Triduum to begin later this evening.

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Chrism Mass Oils, Renewal of Priestly Promises, Praying for Priests

wp-15863010702347192345940171535281.jpg

For any LEOs wanting to get a hold of me for arrest, fine, or both, for apparently having broken the Federal, State and Mecklenburg County, NC, declared State of Emergency regulations regarding “Stay at Home” orders so that I might fetch the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Infirm and the Oil of Catechumens consecrated at that Chrism Mass Tuesday morning, know that any presumed breaking of the law is simply not true.

The Chrism Mass this year, sadly even if necessarily and prudentially, saw in attendance only the good Bishop, a couple of deacons and just a few of the priests more local to the Cathedral. This Mass is essential – critical if you want to use technical vocabulary – for the free exercise of religion, as the consecrated oils confected in this most extraordinary Mass with very elaborate ceremony and awesome consecratory prayers, are used for the Ordination Rite of Priests, for Baptism and Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the latter also known as the Last Rites which are somewhat more common in these Coronavirus times.

Since the assistance – during that Mass – of the rest of the priests including myself was not considered critical, it was arranged through the powers that be that I would arrive at the Cathedral after the last of the good and holy deacons filling the little distribution bottles of the Sacred Oils would have finished their work for all the parishes and missions of entire diocese (that’s really a lot of little bottles!) and would have then forthwith left the campus of the Cathedral in Charlotte (to the back-right of the picture above), so that I, quite alone, could retrieve, quite alone, the package of Oils for all the parishes of the Smoky Mountain Vicariate, the extreme western region of North Carolina.

That’s how it worked out. That package was placed inside the back entrance of the rectory of the Cathedral (to the lower right in the picture above). I was out of my car for perhaps 30 seconds, and had my N-95 mask in place. I jumped back in the car and headed straight back, making for a more than 400 mile round trip, about eight or nine hours for me in the surprisingly somewhat heavy traffic and parking-lot-on-Interstate-26 construction zones with subsequent traffic jams.

While still driving – or parking on the highway as the case may be – a good and holy deacon who had assisted with that package of Oils called me, asking whether I had retrieved the package. The inhabitants of the Cathedral wanted to know if I had already grabbed that package, concerned for its safety (but perhaps also wondering if it was safe to venture forth, since, who knows if I could also be a carrier of Coronavirus). I posit that just for humor, but I would totally respect that concern as well.

As it turns out, that may well be true. But that’s for another post. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, being saddened by not having been able to attend the Chrism Mass itself to assist with the consecration of the Sacred Chrism and the blessing of the other oils, and to renew the promises of the priesthood with my fellow priests, I mentioned my sadness to the good and holy deacon, throwing out the thought that perhaps we priests might be able to get together at another time to recite these promises together, hoping, in doing this, that this good and holy deacon might mention this to the good Bishop. All deacons are good and holy, by the way, as they have to put up with us priests. :-)

The good and holy deacon immediately offered that the priests retreat always in the first full week of October would be an opportune time. I concurred and thanked him for this wonderful suggestion. I’m hoping he will put this to the good Bishop. Here is the rite of those promises. There are parts for the Bishop and the laity as well. I hope everyone will pray that we ever so weak priests can keep these promises. I will recite them later this Holy Thursday morning…


After the Homily, the Bishop speaks with the Priests in these or similar words.

Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood on his Apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people, the promises you once made?

The Priests, all together, respond: I am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ and his Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?

Priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?

Priests: I am.

Then, turned towards the people, the Bishop continues:

As for you, dearest sons and daughters, pray for your Priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

And pray also for me, that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Bishop: May the Lord keep us all in his charity and lead all of us, shepherds and flock, to eternal life.

All: Amen.

4 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Prayer, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Police Chaplain Down

The afternoon of April 4, 2020, we members of the ICPC (International Conference of Police Chaplains) received a prayer request for Law Enforcement Chaplain Don Crider of the Morristown (TN) Police Department. We were requested to keep Don, his family and all first responders in our prayers. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 and was in CCU at Morristown-Hamblen Hospital on life support. He was my next door neighbor, relatively speaking, just 70 miles away in these blue ridges of the Appalacian Mountains. Don had been actively involved with the Police Chaplain Unit for nearly two decades.

Then, just four days later, the afternoon of April 8, 2020, we received this report: “It is with great sadness that we report Chaplain Don Crider of the Morristown (TN) Police Department passed away moments ago. Please pray for his wife Thelma, who is battling unrelated health issues. With current guidelines as they are, any comprehensive memorial would be scheduled at a later date.”

How very sad and distressing for his wife and family, and for the entire law enforcement community. It just rips one’s heart out that there is no memorial service, but that’s the prudent thing to do right now. We don’t want to add to the number of those who are victims of Coronavirus. I wonder if the dispatchers put out a last call for him…

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement

Coronavirus and people at Mass: Instruction from Kateri Tekakwitha

wp-15861369724436265566954817800553.png

From Wikipedia: “Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, and baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada. Tekakwitha took a vow of perpetual virginity. Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later her scars vanished and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by some of her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized. Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.”


Now, to the instruction on assisting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass without being physically present. I may well be mistaken on the source of what will be presented below but its entirely Catholic and orthodox. I’m going to blame Father Robert J Fox, who was pastor of a tiny church in the outback, if you will, of Alexandria, South Dakota. I had been with him on the very first of his Fatima Youth Cadets pilgrimages to Fatima way back in the 1970s. Lots of great stories with that trip. Just great. But that got me reading some things written by this country priest, including Saints and Heroes Speak. That turned into a series of books. One of the chapters was on Kateri Tekakwitha. Again, I’m not sure that I’m reporting exactly what he wrote. And what he wrote may well have been inspired by Kateri, but I don’t know if there are historical sources to back that up. But again, the instruction is entirely Catholic, profoundly entrenched in humble thanksgiving before the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Unable to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for lack of priests some 335 years ago in North Woods of upstate New York and Southern Canada, and for lack of sufficient health to be able to attend in person, Kateri had another way of assisting at Holy Mass. She would unite herself with Jesus wherever He might be being offered in the Holy Mass at the moment throughout the world.

This is a matter of love. Walking the in the presence of the Lord Jesus – as I like to mention all the time in homilies and in conversations – isn’t just some sort of weirdly faked spirituality congratulating oneself for walking with our Lord, making oneself special because of being sooooooooooooo spiritual! No. Not at all. The walking in the presence of our Lord thing is – how to say? – a matter of being in this world, being “in the body”. Here’s the deal:

  • Our dear Lord was “in the body”, as it were, when He was tortured to death in front of His dear Mother. He was “in the body” when He celebrated the Last Supper, when He united His offering of Himself there for us, the Innocent for the guilty – This is my Body given for you in Sacrifice – This is the chalice of my Blood given for you in Sacrifice – having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • Our dear Lord is “in the body”, as it were, when He is offered in that self-same Last Supper at every moment throughout the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We offer Him as He is now, risen from the dead, but, as Saint John writes in the Apocalypse, as the Lamb of Sacrifice, standing and therefore alive and risen from the dead, but still bearing the marks of slaughter upon Him. The Sacrament of the this great Sacrifice is – in transubstantiation – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
  • We are not to forget the wounds of our Lord. We are not to forget His being “in the body” not only on the Cross, on Calvary, but also at the Last Supper, and therefore in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is precisely one and the same, today as yesterday, Jesus, ever ancient, ever new, present to us, in the body, with the wounds today as yesterday. This is a matter of love. Our hearts and souls and minds are with Him in the Holy Sacrifice, in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us. While we are “in the body” in this world, we are with Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who is also still, to this day, to this hour, to this minute, “in the body” in the world in the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Did Kateri catch on to something in all friendship with Jesus, in all humble thanksgiving for His great love for us at every moment, following the Lamb whithersoever He goes among us in this dark world while we, His little flock, is still here before He calls us to be on our way to heaven? Yes. Yes she did.

I have many stories about being assigned over the years to mission churches dedicated to the North American Martyrs and to Kateri herself. We also had a statue dedicated to her way back when I was a kid in Minnesota. But that’s a post for another day.

Here’s the deal, again: Saints and Heroes continue to speak to this day. We are one family. Don’t be merely alone. Be alone together. Be in the communion of saints, also on this earth.


mass clock prayer2

mass clock prayer

I had a big part in keeping this all alive some 35 years ago. But that’s another story. I’d like to revive this.


Back to the Last Supper of Da Vinci with no Apostles up top of this post: It’s just not true. Be in the body wherever you are. Be with Jesus in the body wherever He is. Just don’t go out into the dark, so to speak, as it were. Be with Jesus.

11 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Eucharist, Saints, Spiritual life

Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 2

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Update to Part 1 which was about what is happening up in Graham County regarding checkpoints: It was said that people who are resident outside of Graham County will no longer be allowed on Highway 28, then 143, then 129 (or vice versa) when the Nantahala Gorge closure would be opened. Well, now the landslide has been partially cleared and the Gorge is now open again, albeit still with one way traffic regulated by an automatic traffic light and cameras, thus enabling people to entirely bypass Graham County. If you drive up to a Graham County checkpoint and you are not from the county, if you do not have a deed to your property in Graham County in your car with you (literally), you will be turned away forthwith. Yep. Pay attention. For my part, I do have a “Green Card”, it being that I’m the pastor of the Mission Church up in Robbinsville.


Meanwhile for Part 2 down here in Andrews of Cherokee County:

The pictures in the slideshow above were taken the other day. The circumstances of the roadblocks have been changing daily, even hourly. You gotta work in view of contingencies, right? Yes. So, what you see here may or may not be what you see if you are out and about near Andrews. I don’t have overview or any extra special insight regarding these road blocks as I don’t know all the facts, not having oversight. That’s not my purview. That’s for our elected leaders. I may be the Police Chaplain, but that has nothing to do with the barrels and cones.

But I will say this: I’ve been doing a bit of “accompaniment” of some of those present at the road blocks or checkpoints. It’s mighty interesting to see the different reactions of people:

  • Some, say 5%, are a bit perturbed but behave themselves at that moment, entirely polite. Fine. This is smart. Don’t talk yourself into a citation for public disturbance. That’s never a good idea. Never. But there’s always someone… But so far, no one for this as far as I know. :-)
  • By far the vast majority of people, say 90%, are happy go lucky, happy in their own lives and not wanting to make others unhappy. They know they are essential workers and local residents and that there will be no problem at all. All goes very quickly for them and very smoothly. All good.
  • Some, say 5%, hold up any traffic by going out of their way to thank those manning the check points for their service and, if they have been delivering food or gasoline from elsewhere, going back and forth through these check points, they make sure to also add that they wish that the same precautions would be taken in their own home town. They see more mayhem where they are from. And where they are from there are no check points. There may be a lesson there.

The thinly veiled threats have, as far as I know, disappeared entirely just over these few days. The streets and highways are emptying out where we are. People are staying at home as they see the mortality rates go up in surrounding areas. Sometimes it just takes people longer to “get it.” That’s fine.

The next couple of weeks may see plenty of deaths if the charting relative to our stats and that of other countries has any relevance at all. These will be because of infections that took place already some days or weeks ago as we now reap the spread of the virus by the tender snowflakes who feel ever so entitled to spread the virus to others because it’s just an authoritarian rule not to do so.

Of course, I suppose I’m picking on the entitled generation too much. We’re basically all the same in our fallen human frailty. At the railroad block pictured in the slideshow above, when taking that picture, I witnessed an entirely elderly geezer get out of his truck, move the barrels aside, drive through, and then neatly replace the barrels, continuing on his way, I’m sure quick happy to be so clever. What-eeeeh-verrrrrrr!

Leave a comment

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Politics

Corornavirus: day-in-the-life-&-death

COVID-19

It’s 12:37 PM and I just woke up from a nap, wakened by a phone call for last rites, this time a 200 mile round trip. Then possibly delivery of this person to a hospital in Charlotte as the hospital in Asheville threw this person out, although at death’s door on so very many levels, not that this person has Coronavirus, but was triage out, not because of not being in extreme need, but because triage now refers to keeping the young and otherwise healthy. These are also the victims of COVID-19. Crazy. A prayer for this person, very dear to me. I’m just about to rush off as this person will soon be home once again…

The reason I just woke up from a nap is because I spent a good part of last night doing up the Police Chaplain thing. The Chief told one of the officers to give me a call – 1:00 AM – so as to do up my first Death Notification to family members of the victim. I can’t say the details. Let’s just say it was bad. Real bad. Such violence. Such death. Please say a prayer for them and the repose of the soul of the victim. One family member was someone I also consider to be a good friend. Doesn’t make it easy. The reason I also put this incident under Coronavirus will have to be dealt with in another post, but I think the stress of COVID is somehow giving a self-perceived permission to sociopaths to put their sociopathy into action. I have very many examples. Be situationally aware, people.

It’s now 12:50 PM. I must run to do the priest thing. I love being a priest, COVID times or not. Thank you, Jesus.

13 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Criticize priests without need? People won’t go to Confession…

confessional

I heard some very cynical people the other week presenting their views to the world on the internet, you know, when lock-downs were being announced. They were saying that there are priests – OF COURSE! PRIESTS! – who will think of this time as a vacation and go off and enjoy themselves, carefree, happy to forget about their flocks.

Really? A generalization, that? Calumny of a entire class of people, that? It used to be that people would notice ever so many canonized saints severely warning people not to criticize priests unnecessarily. It seems that they are purposely selectively ignoring canonized saints so as to promote a generalized anti-clerical agenda.

The reason canonized saints insisted on not criticizing priests unnecessarily is not any double standard. It seems like it is a double standard, for we are not to criticize anyone unnecessarily. Why make not criticizing priests unnecessarily a thing? Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote at length of fraternal correction, and said that sometimes we have to criticize priests and bishops publicly if they are egregiously publicly leading people astray, etc. Great! But still, why the emphasis by canonized saints on not criticizing priests unnecessarilyThat would be a sin, as it would be for anyone, but more so. Why?

Sin… That brings us to the reason for insisting in a special manner that we are not to criticize priests unnecessarily. If people do that, what do you think the result is going to be? The result will be that people who desperately need to go to Confession will use this unnecessary criticism as their excuse that they cannot go to Confession to such a terrible, horrible priest.

Let me give you an example. Someone came up to me in church a while back (whom I’ve never seen before) and with very dark face and with grave concern told me that I was losing really a lot of weight, and that this was alarming, and that I needed to somehow stay alive.

I mentioned this to someone else who immediately said that, yes, of course, that other person surely thought that I had AIDS, because, you know, I’m a priest and all that. Actually, that was also my thought about what the first person was thinking. I mean, it could be that I have cancer, right? Or, might it just be that I’m ever so happy on my Keto diet?

To the point, with that kind of nuanced gossip going around, how many people who are desirous of integrity and honesty are going to want to go to Confession to me? Probably zero.

For the record, yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Today it’s just over 60 pounds I’ve lost since November 21, 2019. For the record, I don’t have cancer. I don’t have AIDS. And as far as I know, I don’t at all have any Coronavirus. It’s the Keto Diet. I recommend the Keto diet for those who are not diabetic and who have good kidneys and who can and will drink plenty of fluids every day, and who are willing to face the gossipers and all their unnecessary calumny and grave concern. I don’t know if that’s what the first concerned person meant to do, but… whatever the intention, that kind of thing doesn’t help. Not at all. And certainly the seemingly malicious group prejudice of an entire class of people is not good for the Sacrament of Confession.

Having said all that, know that there are plenty of great priests out there and that you can and must go to Confession. Look, even a terrible, bad and evil and even entirely faithless and atheist priest still gives a valid absolution. It’s Jesus who is at work in the working of the sacraments: ex opere operato and all that. That’s what you want, right?

wp-1585496591269.gif

Those who unnecessarily criticize priests are risking judgment upon themselves for all the people who would have gone to Confession but didn’t based on that unnecessary criticism.

Now, will I be attacked as if I didn’t say “unnecessary,” as if I said never to criticize any priests at all no matter what? Sigh. But, that’s fine. I signed up exactly for this, you know, the beatitudes and all that. I’m good with it, as long as people go to Confession more than ever. And what’s more to say, in this diocese we have great seminarians, and this is exactly what they also signed up for. Bring it on. We’re happy to face the unnecessary criticism for others.

This is not about pleasing others the frantic criticizers.

This is about bringing souls face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Confession, Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Saints, Vocations

Coronavirus: Provision of Sacraments. How to be joyful, at peace, in mayhem. Update!

consecration-

Apparently, the Diocese has forbidden the celebration of pretty much all the Sacraments except in the danger of death. Ha ha ha. I didn’t get that message until after the famous Monday, 30 March 2020, in my parish. Ha ha ha.

Late on Monday, there were four people in church:

  • Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
  • Yours truly
  • A young couple

What did we do, you ask?

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Mass with First Holy Communion
  • Their natural marriage then was transformed to a Sacramental Matrimony

Elsewhere, also on Monday, same day, before sunrise, down in the hospital, I did up these Sacraments:

  • Confession
  • Last Rites: Anointing

And all that was putting Holy Orders of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ into action.

So, enacting my priesthood with the provision of six other Sacraments. Not bad in this time of Coronavirus if I do say so ever so snarkily myself. ;-)

Looky here: An order from the Diocese not to provide the sacraments except in danger of death would not be given unless people were nervous that we are in a time of generalized danger of death, right? I don’t think the intention is to make it difficult to go to Confession. That, I think, is an exception. And anyway, I did all this before that particular directive was given. And anyway, I’m sure no one is wanting at all to suspend me a divinis or to excommunicate me. I’m not in trouble. Far from it. That’s not how things work in this diocese. This is the best diocese ever. We have a great Bishop and a great Vicar General. I have a great Vicar Forane. I’m ever so happy.

Happy Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown GIF by Peanuts - Find ...

I mean, you know:

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Actually, what I’m looking for before the “peak” of Coronavirus hits with mayhem, is to have people come to the parking lot – staying in their spaced-away-from-each-other vehicles – to give them an instruction on General Absolution (the Third Rite permitted by the Church in emergency situations) upon permission of the Bishop. The conditions to receive that absolution with integrity and honesty, avoiding sacrilege, are as follows:

  • Done with the permission of the Bishop
  • The candidates must have contrition for ALL of their sins
  • The candidates must have the intention to amend their lives so as not to sin again
  • The candidates must have the intention to go to individual Sacramental Confession with a priest as soon as this is possible if they survive

At this time, anyone at anytime can come over to the rectory and bang on the door and I will don my PPE provided for my work with the PD and hear the Confession in the driveway. Yes. Easy peasy. All with joy. Be at peace. Perhaps dance for joy.

Humourous UPDATE!

That was sent in by a reader…

5 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Humor, Missionaries of Mercy