Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I would like to first thank everyone who reached out and so generously offered to be part of the restoration/replacement of the tabernacle. As soon as we’re able to confirm the details we will be sure to share in the bulletin.
If I may continue our reflection on beauty in the Church though, one of the most important reasons to focus on this aspect of our faith is that it greatly appeals to the young. So often parishioners ask, “How do we get young people back in Church?” It’s something that worries us all, as our future depends upon it. But in dealing with many young people who are dedicated to the faith, particularly at Hofstra where I am chaplain, and being somewhat of a young Catholic myself (as everyone enjoys reminding me), I see that this generation is drawn to beauty, tradition and mystery in a very powerful way. They’ve grown up in what can be considered, in so many ways, a dark and ugly time. They live in a society that rejects beauty, that rejects anything old, that denies the existence of truth or meaning or any objective reality. And in the Church they find some- thing so radically different. They find a place that tells them there is right and wrong, that the past is a rich source of wisdom to which they can anchor themselves, that it’s not always about the practical bottom line – there are things in life, like beauty, that can’t be measured in dollars and cents.
So because of all this, many of my generation, to the great confusion of prior generations, has a marked interest in much of our faith which has fallen out of fashion. Gregorian chant, Latin, the Baltimore Catechism, to name a few. There is a curiosity as to why things that are so beautiful and so clearly Catholic are locked away in museums. This often leads to the accusation of a false nostalgia, that many young people do not understand the negative experiences attached to these things, but what’s remarkable is that the young have a freedom from these associations, and are interested in reconnecting with those perfectly good things, while trying to leave behind the bad that was tied to them. Why throw out the baby with the bath water? No one denies that change was necessary, as any living thing must constantly reevaluate itself and what’s effective, but there seems to be a great wisdom to learning from the past and using that knowledge to solve problems of the present. Many of the young hope to use the riches of the past, not to go back in time, but to move forward into the future in a new way that doesn’t discard the treasure house of our history.
In this vein, we are excited to offer a unique opportunity here at Notre Dame. On our patronal feast, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Monday February 11th, we will be hosting a Solemn Traditional Latin Mass at 7:30pm. Pope Benedict encouraged the celebration of the Mass from before Vatican II to do exactly what I have been describing – not turn back the clock, but allow communities to experience the beauty of the past to learn how to better revitalize the present. Many parishioners may recall the old Mass, for better or worse, and many young people may know little about it, but I hope it will be a beautiful opportunity of prayer, where we can unite ourselves at the Mass which the saints celebrated for over 500 years. Particularly this year, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the dedication of the Church, what better way to reflect on our history than by attending the Mass that was celebrated to dedicate the Church back in 1959? And what better way to celebrate our Blessed Mother and thank her for her protection, than by coming together for a beautiful Mass in her honor? As we approach the Mass, I will put more information about it in the bulletin, but as always I am ready to speak with anyone who has questions or concerns. May it be a powerful moment of communion, where we are united not only with each other, but with all those who have gone before us, here in the parish and beyond.
Yours in Christ,