Tag Archives: Sacraments

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

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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.

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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…

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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:

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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):

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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:

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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.

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Filed under Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations

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

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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.

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I mean, you know:

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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…

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

Update: Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick / PoS Priests & gatekeeper MDs

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Seen from out front of the nursing home late Sunday evening, November 24, 2019, after a day of Adoration, Masses, socials, Communion calls, and nursing homes in various towns and beyond. It’s so cool to be able to take Jesus around His beautiful creation to the members of His little flock He loves so much. I am unworthy, just another PoS. But Jesus is so good and kind. I love being a priest for Jesus, with Jesus.

Update: A priest friend on the other side of the Diocese texted me the following. I asked his permission to put it up. He said yes. So here’s his response to my original post below:

“Read your piece about anointing. It sickens me that priests will make excuses about just doing their job. When I get the call, I go. If there’s even the slightest reason to think someone needs anointing, I do it. I throw in the Apostolic Pardon as well if there’s any whiff of danger of death. In my mind, I will be in more trouble at the judgement for the people I didn’t anoint that I should’ve than the people I did anoint that I shouldn’t have.

“I was talking to a (Protestant) hospital chaplain about a training I want to do for the chaplains around here to help them better understand what priests do and what the sacraments are so they can secure better pastoral care, i.e. by communicating with us better. She says on their end the biggest problem is getting priests to show up, which breaks my heart. There is nothing more important when that call comes in, unless I’m in the middle of Mass.”

You have to know, most priests feel this way. I’m also personally upset about this because Jesus has provided that I meet up with priests who are really idiots when it comes to this Sacrament. I myself have a certain malady which can bring death very quickly, or leave you just barely hanging on to life until it passes. It’s hereditary. I got it from mom, who died from it, as to about 1/3 of people who have it, regardless of any would-be emergency room intervention. The priests either refused to give anoint me (sooooo disheartening) or would be cutesy cutesy and make up their own sacramental words, you know, after praying, anointing with words to the effect of “God is nice. Have a nice day.” Then they would run away (just as disheartening).


Original post:

There are excellent, holy, dedicated, good priests, shepherds who wouldn’t hesitate at all to lay down their lives for the sheep in the face of the wolves. I know heaps of those good priests, so very many of them in my diocese. I rejoice. But once in a while one encounters a PoS priest who will do anything not to do the priest thing. My ire is stirred, indignant for the needs of Jesus’ little flock.

Late last night I got a call requesting, later today, a pastoral intervention in another parish that will require from some hundreds of miles of travel. I won’t say what diocese it’s in. It’s about a doctor scheduling an urgent operation for someone who is, as the hours go by, ever more in extremis, at the extremes of this life, death. When a request was made of the parish priest for Anointing of the Sick, the priest said that the policy is that no Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be provided to anyone whomsoever who does not trundle off to a doctor to get a note saying that such person is a candidate for the Anointing of the Sick. But that’s what the urgently scheduled operation is all about. So, someone direly sick is to make an arduous mountain journey to the in-town doctor – assuming that such appointments could ever be made – so as to get a note, and then make an appointment with the priest. As if whatever doctor (likely not Catholic and possibly atheist) could make a pastoral decision about a Sacrament of the Catholic Church. And all that could take days, or where I am, weeks, months. Well. Four letter expletives come to mind.

Dear priests, listen up. The doctrine of the Church on this is that if a person has an illness which without intervention could possibly lead a person to death, whenever that might be, such a person is already a candidate for this Sacrament. In other words, don’t hesitate. Provide the Sacrament. Bring Jesus’ little flock encouragement, strengthened in good friendship with Jesus. I mean, y’all do know the spiritual benefits of this Sacrament, don’t you?

If there have been abuses of this Sacrament in the past, so what? Are you holding that against the sheep right in front of you? That doesn’t make sense. So, this isn’t about protecting the Sacrament, is it? No. What is it about? Clericalism of the worst kind? That’s for any priest who has such a malicious and insane policy to answer.

Meanwhile, please God, I’ll be able to take care of member of Jesus’ little flock in some hours. And then I’ll see if that policy in that parish can be changed.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta often said that we don’t need more priests. Not at all. We need good, holy priests who are close to Jesus. That’s what she used to say. I agree. Jesus is calling young men to this end.

But everyone: Go to Confession. Pray for good, holy vocations to the priesthood.


My own personal update: The trip to provide this Sacrament, with Holy Communion, was very successful. The person is now under the knife. Yesterday, when I arrived with Jesus, the person was shedding tears, saying saying that this is proof of just how much Jesus loves us. It is such a joy to be a priest, hanging around Jesus, watching Jesus at work. Truly a great joy and consolation.

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Filed under Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Vocations