J. Peter Nixon
By this author
O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come, and teach us the way of prudence.During the last week before Christmas, our family has adopted the practice of singing a verse from "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" that corresponds to the antiphon for Vespers that is sung before the Magnificat that evening.
I had the privilege today of observing the implementation of the new Roman Missal from the other side of the altar, so to speak. It was my turn to lead our weekly Word and Communion service at the county jail near the parish.Whatever we feel about the quality of these texts or the process by which they came to us (an issue that I have written about elsewhere), our challenge now is to bring them to life as the common prayer of the Church.
Like most parishes, mine has been preparing for the introduction of the new Roman Missal. We'vehad a series of homilies on different parts of the liturgy, with the new words being introduced and explained when appropriate. The choir has also been using new musical arrangements for theGloria and theSanctus and these seem to have gone over reasonably well.Its almost (but not quite) enough to make you think that this may not be a complete pastoral disaster after all. Over the last few months, various parishioners have pulled me aside and aired their frustrations.
What a difference a day makes.On Wednesday night, I posted an update on Occupy Oakland, one of the most active of the various Occupy groups in the country. The group had just organized a very successful General Strike and march on the Port of Oakland. At the end of my post, I alluded to the presence of a small group of violent militants bent on property destruction and conflict with the police. I expressed a hope that they would not re-emerge in force later in the evening.Alas, it was not to be.
Its been a wild and wooly week here in the city of Oakland, which is quickly becoming the epicenter of the worldwide Occupy movement. Last week, city officials decided to forcibly remove Occupy Oakland protesters who had been camping out in Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of city hall since early October. Riot police descended upon the camp early Tuesday morning, arrested a number of people, and removed the tents. The protestors regrouped later that afternoon and marched on the Plaza in the early evening.
In the town where I grew up, there was a synagogue that had the distinction of having hired the first woman rabbi in the United States. I grew up with friends who spoke openly of their affection for Israel, and I absorbed from this environment a strong belief in the necessity of its existence.As I grew older, I came to recognize a measure of justice in the Palestinian cause.
The observances of the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks largely focused, as they should have, on the victims of those attacks. In showing the capacity of ordinary people to exhibit extraordinary courage, many of these individuals exemplified the best of our country and the best of the human spirit.Nevertheless, I suspect that one of the reasons that the ceremonies and media coverage focused so heavily on the stories of the victims is that we remain deeply divided about our national response to these attacks.
This week is our parish's "summer bible camp," a week-long gathering of children and adults featuring music, games, crafts with a smattering of catechesis. After years of attending, my son is now a counselor for the first time. We stayed up late helping the kids decorate their t-shirts. Since the theme this year is "SonSurf Beach Party," my wife ironed a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe surfing to the back of her shirt.My understanding is that this concept was pioneered by Protestant churches.
U.S. Catholic has published a new article of mine about evangelical Protestants who convert to Catholicism, a topic we've discussed here at DotCommonweal as well.
We prayed for the unemployed today during the prayers of the faithful. In the wake of Fridays employment report, the prayer took on greater urgency for me.It seems likely that we are in for an extended period of slow growth and high unemployment. Even if job growth were to pick up to something close to the rate seen in other recent recessions it would still take many years for unemployment to fall back to what it was in the latter part of the last decade.Whether personally unemployed or not, I think all of us have been touched by this crisis in one way or another.