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Website Reveals Parish Priorities

Yesterday I spent some time catching up on my favorite blogs. Somewhere I ran across a comment that referenced St. Bernadette Parish in Severn, Maryland. I know the context of the comment focused on the openly homosexual activities of the parish members. I am afraid I have not been able to find the comment again to properly reference it.

In any case, I did check out the St. Bernadette web site. You can learn a lot about a parish from studying the web site. The links to other Catholic information include the National Catholic Reporter, not the National Catholic Register. The St. Bernadette site has lots of references to the spirit of Vatican II. From the History of St. Bernadette Parish page:

Into this milieu, in July of 1976, Fr. Joseph Connolly arrived as our pastor. Acting in the spirit of lay participation that emanated from Vatican II, he led us into a planned program of discernment. Through this process, the community assumed the decision making that determined our future. Everyone was given a chance to voice an opinion. We then, collectively, made all the major decisions as to where, when and what would be done. It may come as a surprise to people today to know that during this process "no church building" was a viable option. The final consensus was to build a modest building and avoid a huge paralyzing debt. In this way, all of the program needs of our parish could be fulfilled and we would be free to reach out to the greater community.

Here is their description of their “Worship Space”.

Brother Mel Myers, a Marianist, from a liturgical design group, was commissioned to create a complete, unified worship area. The success of his efforts can be seen today in the frescoes, steel statues, furniture and stained glass windows.

Our worship space was designed to serve the needs of our post Vatican II liturgies. Brother Mel's philosophy of creative art is "making the simple common things do great things for us in our prayer life." His philosophy is visibly demonstrated in his design and decor for the worship space. The sanctuary walls were troweled in raw sand and cement, and while still wet Brother Mel spontaneously drew in the some- what abstract background using a simple construction nail. The fresco includes representations of the Virgin, nature, the road of life, baptism, joy, heaven and the resurrected Christ, light, the Eucharist and the Trinity. Stained glass and stations of the cross are combined in the windows.

Taking a look at the parish ministries one sees this parish is concerned with domestic violence, environmental issues, and foreign missions. There is not a single pro-life organization within the parish. There is no Eucharistic adoration. There are no Marian devotions. There is however, a very active gay and lesbian ministry. Go to the Gay and Lesbian Ministry page and it is prominently decorated with the rainbow motif of the Gay Pride movement. There is a parish group to support gay and lesbian teenagers. There are numerous links to support Catholics living the homosexual lifestyle. There is no mention of organizations like Courage that help Catholics with same-sex attractions live chaste and holy lives.

This parish is not unique. I noticed the same thing when I looked at the web site of the Paulist Center in Boston where Senator John Kerry worships. I do have to ask myself, why do these parishes feel so comfortable in openly supporting sinful behavior. On what authority do they defiantly reject the direction of the Magesterium? Don’t they believe in the reality of sin and the reality of Hell? Aren’t they leading souls astray by condoning and promoting homosexual behavior? Would they set up a parish ministry to help adulterers continue their infidelity and still be “Catholic”? Should I expect to see these parishes offer ministries for co-habitating unmarried heterosexual couples?

Fortunately, there seems to be a growing number of faithful orthodox parishes and fewer centers of dissent. I do wonder what Cardinal Keeler and Cardinal O’Malley are doing to shepherd these lost flocks. Keep them in your prayers.


Anchorite said…
The softenening of catholic brains have produced these "faithful" who are oblivious to the existence of cocrete Catholic Truths. Unfortunately, it is hard to correct such debilitation as it permeates the hierarchy just as much as the laity. If cardinals and Popes spoke in a clear and concrete sentences and acted upon abuses and confusions, there would have been less of such parishes. But presently, the orthodox parishes are in minority and orthodox hierarchs too.
Thos said…
Major, Soccer Mom, Catholic sister,

Thank you for this old post of yours that I just came across. I have been considering conversion for some time, and am deeply bothered by St. Bernadette parish, as it would (coincidentally) be my LOCAL parish. I just blew off some of my steam writing about it today, and sadly, even though a year has passed since you wrote, I believe nothing has changed. They have since posted on their website a letter from the Bishop commending their gay "ministry". This seems to make light of the claimed magesterial authority. I am particularly saddened by their "ministry" to 14 year old "homosexuals." I would not raise my children up in that parish!

Peace in Christ,

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