This little parish in San Francisco is on trial. Everybody and anybody, it seems, is judging Star of the Sea—both her people and her priests. Some are describing this parish as heroic, and others as villainous. Some are pitting priests against parishioners, and others are pitting school against parish. News articles, blog posts, and You Tubes on both sides paint a caricature of our little parish. It might make for entertaining drama for aloof observers, but I am certain that there is something of the demonic behind this disintegration of the Body of Christ. Have you ever noticed how parishes and dioceses suffer from constant assaults on their unity? It is not merely human agency that brings this about.
How can I defend the parish, for whom I am a father, from these dark movements? While no one is perfect, our parish and her school are home to many faithful, devout Catholics. I love them all, and as their pastor, must defend them from accusation. On Monday the parish spontaneously asked me to expose the Blessed Sacrament every Tuesday night. Our parishioners instinctively knew that a holy hour was a first priority and a first response to the forces of chaos besieging our parish. We had our first holy hour last night. The church was full of faithful voices praising God and begging his mercy before the Eucharistic Presence. A woman told me, “Father, my husband and I have been praying together more deeply than at any time in our lives.” Let the world rage and accuse. Our parish will come together in prayer and cast ourselves upon God’s mercy. If this trial brings about deeper prayer, and a more complete abandonment to God’s mercy in our parish, I am glad to suffer through it. Jesus showed us that the way to perfection is through trial and crucifixion, and no Catholic parish should be surprised when God permits them a share in His Passion. May His holy will be done!