Monday, March 21, 2011

Trials Before Easter

I found myself, yesterday, in a most unhappy position. My parish, of course is gearing up for baptisms and confirmations at the Easter Vigil. Having awaited my own entry to the Church for four and one-half long years since I entered RCIA, I am also eager. However, it is tremendously important to me that my aunt and uncle be a part of the rites, as my uncle is the one to whom credit is due for getting me in the door.

A week ago, I explained my wishes to our pastor, who was most understanding, and allowed that the family circumstance should rightly take precedence. He then proposed a schedule of events which would accommodate my family's needs. Since my aunt and uncle live out of state, they will come to stay with us during the events, but as the stay would be several days if during Easter week, and they will leave only a couple of days later to be in Chicago for the First Communion of one of their grandchildren, they asked if we could delay.

My personal priority is for my uncle, the sole surviving sibling of my late mother, to be my godfather. Once again, my pastor supported that desire without reservation.

Yesterday, after dismissal, our Director of Religious Education and two of our catechists met with us in the dismissal room, at the request of the DRE. It amounted to an intervention on their part. The DRE wanted to know specifically what infirmities made it impossible for my uncle to attend at Easter. My wife and I were told that the pastor's schedule, as presented to the DRE, was "all confused." It was hinted that this schedule might be invalid. I suggested that as a priest and canon lawyer, I was inclined to trust in what he laid out. The DRE laughed, and said I "can never assume that." I was appalled.

The parish is quite liberal, a real bastion of spirit of Vatican II thinking. I have managed to remain apart from that, holding to my much more traditional values. However, this episode yesterday has been profoundly hurtful. Even my wife doesn't understand how damaging it was for the DRE to intimate that my pastor doesn't know what he is doing. The best image I have been able to give her is that the last time I felt this bad, it was at the death of a family member.

I must pray for grace, and for my pastor, the Church, and for the DRE.

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