Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New pastor, new normal

Last weekend Father Joseph Hammond, CHS, spent his last weekend as the pastor at my parish, St. Patrick in Morristown. This weekend, our new pastor, Father Patrick Brownell, said his first Sunday Mass, and it happened that Nicole and I attended the Vigil Mass Saturday. We had the advantage of also attending the Wednesday evening Mass (which we often do) and I had attended the Knights of Columbus Officers' Installation, and Father celebrated the Wednesday evening Mass and he had attended the officers' installation the day before, where he was installed as Chaplain of Council 6730.

If his earliest days are any indication, Father Patrick could be a welcome and refreshing change for our parish, and I don't mean because he is a new face on the altar. He seems to have a gift for good (and humorous) homiletics. He also
appears to be a very motivated pastor, and he wants us to be motivated too. It strikes me that Father Patrick could be a great evangelizer, especially since he made a comment in his homily this past weekend about the parish seemingly having plenty of room for more people.

As the lone diaconate Aspirant in the parish, I am praying that Father Patrick and I can build a good relationship. Right now, his head is still spinning, he is still learning who is who, and the first time we were ever introduced was Tuesday evening. Pray for Father Patrick, and for all of our priests in new assignments as of this past week, I know I will be.


  1. Mr. Oatney, I know time must be passing very slowly for you, waiting to hear about your candidacy! Just keep in mind that you are seeking God's will for your life, whatever he thinks is the best way to use you in building up his kingdom. You are seeking God's will, and many are praying for you.

    I am retired, living on a budget, and I do not have cable TV. I am not able to pick up the Catholic station, so I sometimes watch some of the Protestant clergy on TV. While there are some differences in our beliefs, there are so many things we have in common with Protestants.

    Sometimes, one of these Protestant pastors will say something really rough, attacking the Catholic church, and it used to really hurt my feelings, until I got kinda used to it, after a while. I keep wondering why they don't just talk about the truths in the Bible, regarding Jesus, instead of feeling a need to attack the Catholic church.

    I cannot let go of the memory of your recently saying some bad things, in your writings, about Protestant pastor Joyce Meyer, especially in regard to her husband driving around in a $100 grand car! While you were probably telling the truth, I want to caution you that it is not anything we need to be doing - attacking leaders of other Christian faith communities.

    First of all, Joyce Meyer has written lots of books, and I feel certain she bought the car for her husband out of royalties from her books, not out of $5 and $10 sacrificial offerings she has received from people who attend her meetings! Royalties from her many books could have been used to buy her nice homes, as well. If she wrote the books that brought in that kind of money, doesn't she deserve to spend that money on anything she likes? If you started writing books which brought in millions of dollars in royalties, would you not buy your wife a nicer home and car? I believe the words for this are, "Judge not, that you be not judged."

    Joyce Meyer is as common as the day is long! She came from a home where she was very badly abused, in several different and awful ways, for many years. When she gets up in front of a crowd of people and talks about that, and about how God has brought her out of all of that, and how he has restored her faith, she is so very powerful and effective in reaching out to women and men, who may have had to endure similar circumstances in their lives!!! God is using her painful life experiences, and how he brought her out of all of this to reach millions of people who might never be reached by methods that you and I are accustomed to, in the Catholic Church.

    Even if Mrs. Meyer seems pretty materialistic, is that sin any worse than the sins of priests and bishops involved in the awful child sexual abuse scandal we have learned of in recent years? Is driving around in a $100 grand car or owning several homes a worse sin than abusing a child sexually, or is it worse than the sins of bishops who have not protected children from abuse? Is it worse than the powers that be, in Rome, not giving permission for bishops to dismiss abusive priests?

    It is with much Christian love that I ask you to please not be badmouthing people of other Christian denominations. You may just be living next door to Joyce Meyer and her husband in heaven, someday, and you might have some real explaining to do. Besides, it makes you look really bad to be saying unkind things about others, behind their backs!

  2. Actually, I just looked through a slew of my work and I don't recall saying anything bad about Joyce Meyer, merely that the authority with which she exercises her ministry is an example of "laicism" (which it is). I did find an article about her expensive car and private plane which was linked to a link that I cited (which would make it third-source), but I didn't write about it. I can't help it if others did.

    It has to be remembered that those in ministry (Protestant or Catholic) are public figures. Their words and actions will be scrutinized (mine sure have been!). Sometimes that isn't fair at all, and people put those in ministry in an unreasonable "fishbowl" and put unreasonable expectations of perfection on them.

    On the other hand, it isn't so ridiculous to expect that those in ministry in Christ's name will behave like Christians. For some of us, we believe that this Christian call means living a life of simplicity (not necessarily poverty, but simplicity), and I do think that when someone doesn't do that, it can have a negative and scandalous effect on many people and cause them not to hear the larger Christian message, because I think people know Jesus lived in simplicity. That reality has even caused Pope Francis to chide certain members of the clergy for living in a way that is far more luxurious than the people they serve.

    One thing I have learned in the formation process is that we have to be very careful in what we say and do, because others are watching us. I am certainly not perfect, so I make no justification for my faults, nor do I try to excuse them, I merely beg people, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did, to forgive my defects.