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Offline RomanCatholic1953

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What if St. Jean-Marie Vianney Were Assigned to a Parish Today?
« on: February 22, 2021, 09:50:01 AM »
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  • What if St. Jean-Marie Vianney Were Assigned to a Parish Today?

    OLDIE BUT GOODE

    Bear with me in a little folly. I present a fictional account on a hypothetical “what if?” question. That is, what if the great patron saint of parish priests, the Curé of Ars (St. Jean-Marie Vianney), were alive in our times and placed in a typical parish? Based on the Abbé Francis Trochu’s biography of this saint, I muse the possibilities. 

    Behold, a man writing a series of letters to his bishop:

    June 14, 20**
    Dear Bishop ******,
    I do not know why, but following this lengthy period in which our humble St. Sixtus church has been without a priest, your announcement still comes as a shock to us. We are getting a priest! It will take some getting used to, I imagine. Truthfully, our faith community has been getting along quite fine without one. As you know, there is a unity which thrives when individuals are allowed to follow their own conscience, and are not impeded by scare tactics from certain clergy (I speak of the old-fashioned kind). Pope Francis has said that priests must not replace our consciences. I certainly will hold this new priest to these inspired words!

    Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson
    P.S. I hear he can’t converse in Latin very well, which is hopeful to say the least.
    *          *          *

    July 16, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    Our priest has come. The moment he walked into our worship space, I had an ominous feeling. He was dressed in some virtue-signaling long black robe with a little white collar. Why, in 20**, must we still endure these displays of vain clericalism? In any event, this priest, Father Jean-Marie Vianney, seemed pleasant enough. In fact, he seemed genuinely happy to be here. Then he said his first Mass…
    How can I forget? To begin, Fr. Vianney did not give us an opening address. We sat there in stunned silence while he just got on with the Mass, like we weren’t even there. Does the Holy Spirit inspire priests to ignore their sisters and brothers? Hardly. I felt hurt. When he did come to the homily, he spoke only on the Gospel. No eloquent words. No use of our expensive projector system. No mention was even made of the work that went into the new “Welcome All” banner made by Sister Dorothy. Please teach your priests to have gratitude! Further, and I don’t say this lightly, I think Fr. Vianney was trying to ignore the music ministers throughout the entire Mass. Thankfully, Mike turned up the amp on his guitar to let Fr. Vianney know he was still there. Yes, that first Mass of his was divisive. It felt like an instant wall was put up between ourselves and the sanctuary. Like we didn’t somehow belong up there. It turns out this first Mass was only the beginning.
    We’ve had a few Masses now, and dare I say that Fr. Vianney recites Mass as though he were not talking to us. And further, forgive my ramblings but I am noticeably upset, he doesn’t permit us ministers to give out the Hosts! There is no cup ministry either. What’s the point? It’s no wonder that Bob and Sylvie have decided to golf on Sunday mornings instead. Who can blame them? To think, though, they have always been so generous to your Bishop’s Annual Appeal…
    I could say more. But I will take the high road and be charitable (making up for the charity lacking in our priest).
    Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

    *          *          *

    August 8, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    I have a quick series of questions for you today: Is it normal to expect children to get up daily at 6am to learn their catechism?[ii] Or to threaten them with not receiving First Communion if they don’t memorize a few questions from an old book? Is this the New Evangelization the Spirit has been leading the People of God towards?
    For my part, I have no intention of going back to the Dark Ages.
    Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

    *          *          *

    September 8, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    Oh, I will get right down to it. I thought seminaries ran psychological tests? The man is neurotic! Need an example? Here’s a doozy: His sister came to visit him unexpectedly. You know what he had to offer her for food? Potatoes! Correct that, boiled week-old potatoes. Needless to say, she had to buy her own food.[iii] Hospitality is everything in Christianity, which says all you need to know about the state of Fr. Vianney’s soul. We asked for a priest, and you sent us a potato eater.[iv] Neurotic.
    And the parish furniture is missing! Gambling debts perhaps? He mumbled something about living simply, and in feeding the poor. I told him that’s what Catholic Relief Services is for. I then accused him of thinking he is more Catholic than the bishops – as though the bishops don’t adequately take care of the poor. My how his face shriveled in fear! Take care of the poor! Hah! Where were the poor when he proposed the other day to fix our dilapidated bell tower?[v] Maybe he still thinks that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings? Neurotic.
    I know it is early, but I told him, as Chairperson of the Parish Council, that he needed to conform, or that I would take steps to have him removed. And what did he say? He said he would welcome the solitary retirement to weep over his poor life.[vi] He is playing mind games. Neurotic.
    One final point, which you must take seriously: Fr. Vianney is slowly gaining a little group of followers. They think this man is somehow a saint. Surely this must be a neurotic flock for a neurotic priest. I hope they like potatoes.
    Sanely Yours, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

    *          *          *

    October 7, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    Thank you for finally replying to my letters. I was beginning to think your secretary was hiding them from you. Obviously, I agree that the situation is gravely concerning. You say, though, that we must not be too hasty to judge. Yet, as I immediately noticed, Fr. Vianney himself is quick to judge. Need an example? I personally went to a wedding on the weekend. Let’s just say I had a good time. Good food, dance, drinks… Apparently, according to “the saint,” I’m running towards hell…
    Who is he to judge?
     Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

    *          *          *

    November 1, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    Enough!
    Do you know what it’s like to sit through a homily nearly one hour long? ONE WHOLE HOUR!!! Oh, but that’s just the beginning. What did this Fr. Vianney say? Surprisingly, I could actually make out some of his words today (usually he stumbles and cries his way through things). He said, to those of us who were out at the lake last Sunday, and I quote: “You poor people, how wretched you are! Pursue your wonted way! go on! but all you may expect is hell.”[vii] Then he unleashed on our parishioners who simply raise their children like everyone else in town, calling them “purblind and criminal parents.”[viii] As if that weren’t enough, he then said our town festival – a noble tradition! – degraded us “below the lowest of the beasts.”[ix] Need I go on?
    These insipid words are not just hurtful, they are surely hate-crimes! If my grandchildren went to Mass, I would be scared to take them again! Innocent ears should not hear about hell, sin, or God’s wrath. So much for mercy and love! So much for accompaniment and new pathways! I’m as mad as hell! See! I can’t get “hell” off of my mind! I’m beginning to think I’m the neurotic one…
    Do something. Now!
    Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

    *          *          *

    November 30, 20**
     Dear Bishop ******,
    There is a young lady, unmarried, of ill-repute, who lives close to the rectory. Did you know she’s expecting? It is not out of gossip, but from a sense of duty, that I inform you of what people are saying. This “holy priest” is a father in more ways than one?
    • [/url]
      Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson[/i]
      *          *          *

      December 13, 20**
       Dear Bishop ******,
      It was an honor meeting with your undercover representative after Mass last Sunday. I am confident his report will be taken seriously.
      Good luck getting word to Fr. Vianney. He’s taken to hearing confessions night and day. The only thing resurrected at St. Sixtus church is Catholic guilt – though I hear he does not give absolution to everyone. Act quickly. We’re falling apart here. I can only hold things together so long.
      Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson
      P.S. Some girl came into the church wearing one of those lace-veil things. Pray Sister Dorothy recovers from the trauma.

      *          *          *

      January 6, 20**
       Dear Bishop ******,
      Yes, we survived Christmas. Barely. It was awkward seeing him preach, while secretly knowing that he had mere days left as our priest. I rather enjoyed that! Thank you for your accompaniment throughout this hurtful experience.
      Having said all this, it was a strange experience delivering the letter to Fr. Vianney as he was vesting to say Mass this morning. He didn’t get angry (I thought he’d start throwing things at me!). He didn’t even say one word in his defense. Rather, he knelt down for a minute, then unvested, took his breviary, and walked out. His composure was… unsettling. I don’t know how to describe it. He seemed almost peaceful. More mind games, I suppose.
      Many in the parish, on the other hand, were not so composed when I informed them that Mass was cancelled, and that Sister Dorothy was going to lead a Communion service instead. It seems that Fr. Vianney’s little flock was growing more than we initially thought. It will be difficult to handle these people, moving forward. But we’re in good hands with Sister Dorothy as our faith leader.
      Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

      *          *          *

      January 13, 20**
       Dear Bishop ******,
      So, the rat is missing, hey!?! He skipped out on [url=https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/unhappy-leadership-history-st-lukes-institute/]St. Luke’s Institute[/url]. Too bad. It would’ve been sweet justice for him to have a friendly little “mind games” interaction with the professionals there. Bah! Our church is a mess now! People are going elsewhere. Sister Dorothy is a nut. It’s all Vianney’s fault!
      Where is he?
      I will scout around. Some of the families here who were melting under his spell have land. I’ll pay them a visit, if they let me, and check their property. How cute, to make a little cabin in the woods. Though maybe they’ve smuggled him right out of the diocese by now?
      We’ll get the last laugh.
      Sincerely, Roland – Parish Council Chairperson

      *          *          *

      June 24, 20**
       Dear Bishop ******,
      This morning I went to the church. I sat there alone with Christ. I didn’t know what to say. I looked at Him, He looked at me.[url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_edn11][xi][/url] And now I feel compelled to write one last time to you.
      I want to inform you that I will no longer be pursuing the whereabouts of Fr. Vianney. In fact, I want to apologize for my conduct. I apologize to you, and especially to Fr. Vianney. Something has come over me recently. Some force of prayer, or great suffering, or I don’t know what, made on my behalf, which has made me realize… things. I am a sinner. I will be making a general confession as soon as possible.
      It is difficult to describe, and I truly don’t understand it, but I feel very close to Fr. Vianney right now. In fact, I am closer to him now – when I don’t know where he is – than when he was actually present here! A bond of charity. I believe there was something remarkable about this priest that I didn’t understand at the time. He was right all along. More to the point, he was a true man of God. I beg his forgiveness! It is I who cheated him out of our parish! I took him to the cleaners. But still, words he once spoke echo in my mind:
      “We are never taken in if we give to God.”[url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_edn12][xii][/url]
      I pledge my all to God. Thank you Fr. Vianney! Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
      Roland – Former Parish Council Chairman



      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref1][/url] References refer to real life events of St. Jean-Marie Vianney, as recounted in his biography:
      Abbé Francis Trochu. The Curé of Ars. trans Dom E. Graf. London: Burns and Oats Ltd, 1927. Reprint Czech Republic: Baronius Press, 2015.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref2][ii][/url] Ibid, 122.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref3][iii][/url] Ibid, 115.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref4][iv][/url] Ibid, 227. – “With a fearful voice the devil shouted: ‘Vianney! Vianney! Potato eater! Ah! Thou art not yet dead! I shall get thee all right!’”
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref5][v][/url] Ibid, 157. – St. Vianney lived with only the bare essentials, but spared no expense when it came to furnishing God’s house: “Sometimes the mere sight of a picture is enough to move and convert us; at times pictures make almost as deep an impression as the objects they represent.”
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref6][vi][/url] Ibid, 166.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref7][vii][/url] Ibid, 128.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref8][viii][/url] Ibid, 129.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref9][ix][/url] Ibid, 132.
      [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref10]
      • [/url] Ibid, 164 – St. Vianney once faced such an utterly baseless accusation.
        [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref11][xi][/url] Ibid, 175 – Hearkening the prayer of the humble farmer, which St. Vianney loved to recall: “I look at the good God, and he looks at me,” (J’avise le bon Dieu et le bon Dieu m’avise).
        [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#_ednref12][xii][/url] Ibid, 439.
        [url=https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/#][/url]

        [url=https://onepeterfive.com/author/dmillette/]Dan Millette[/url]
        Dan Millette is a husband and father of four. He teaches in Saskatchewan, Canada. Millette is a graduate from Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Ontario and has a Master of Arts degree in theology from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut. His personal blog is [url=http://www.bravestthing.com]www.bravestthing.com[/url].

        https://onepeterfive.com/what-if-st-jean-marie-vianney-were-assigned-to-a-parish-today/[/i][/i]

    Offline Viva Cristo Rey

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    Re: What if St. Jean-Marie Vianney Were Assigned to a Parish Today?
    « Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 11:26:14 AM »
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  • Catholics today would persecute Jesus.  
    Then again. They are. 
    To live with the Saints in Heaven is all bliss and glory....To live with the saints on Earth is just another story!  (unknown)


    Offline RomanCatholic1953

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    Re: What if St. Jean-Marie Vianney Were Assigned to a Parish Today?
    « Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 05:10:10 PM »
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  • Catholics today would persecute Jesus.  
    Then again. They are.
    It is because the majority are cafeteria and pick and choose Catholic's.   They have convinced themselves they are on the easy
    road to heaven.


     

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