| Texas Priest
September 1, 2006 – Fr. James Farfaglia
Late last night I arrived at my parish in Corpus Christi, Texas after having spent a few days with my Mom and Dad in Binghamton, NY. I try and visit my parents two or three times a year. I firmly believe that it is part of my duty as a son to look after my parents, but my first duty is my duty to my parish family. My parents have always understood this in a very beautiful way. I can not teach family values to my parishioners if I do not practice what I preach.
I have been in my parish since 7:30 AM this morning. First I had to resolve the fact that the parish hall had no electricity. My homeschooling group was ready to use the facility this morning for their monthly get-together. After the first Friday morning Mass with the homeschoolers, I spent more than 90 minutes counseling a man whose wife is mentally ill and suicidal. I had no breakfast and a very quick lunch. Now, I am back in my office ready to be the guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio show to talk about Liturgical Abuses. Tonight I have confessions, a second Mass, this time in Latin, and then a marriage preparation class for a couple that wants to reconcile their marriage in the Church after having been civilly married for six years. I still have tons of emails to answer and some how I need to catch up on my Breviary.
In the middle of all of this, national news was made this morning on the Internet by a young priest from Connecticut who publicly announced that he is leaving the priesthood because he was a whistleblower in a tragic situation in Darien, CT. I am from Connecticut, and I need to speak out.
A young priest makes national news because he is leaving the priesthood. But what about the thousands of Catholic priests, young and old, who today and every day, are faithfully fulfilling their duties as Catholic priests? Why haven't they made national Internet news? What about all of us that are out there, doing their job, most of the time under very difficult circumstances?
We are persecuted by homosexual militant priests. We are vilified by traditionalists because we celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass. We are criticized and abandoned by parishioners because we stand up for the Church's teaching on birth control, abortion, and pre-marital sex. We push confession only to sit in the confessional for hours alone. And yet, here we are, doing our job faithfully every day — and we are not featured on the Internet.
Every day we drag our tired bodies through the battles of modern America. We deal with our own sinfulness and weaknesses. Sometimes we fall, but we get back up again through the sacrament of confession. We find consolation and the strength through the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On the Titanic, a group of three musicians decided to remain on the ship playing their beautiful music as the ship went down. They could have jumped ship with many of those who were able to get into the life boats, but they decided to remain and keep playing their music. They remained and played "Nearer to God to Thee".
We know from Sacred Scripture that "the gates of hell shall not prevail," but in the meantime, the Catholic Church in this country is in a terrible mess. Catholic priests need to remain at their posts. Parishes are closing, entire dioceses may disappear, but the Church will still go on. I for one, with the grace of God, will remain at my post until I die of natural causes or someone puts a bullet in my head.
Isaac Jogues had some of his fingers bit off by wild Indians (sorry, I am not p.c.), and he returned to America only to face martyrdom. Edmond Campion continued to serve his people knowing that a horrible death would eventually take place. Miguel Pro courageously continued to defend the Catholic Faith in Mexico and then died also a martyr as he cried out "Viva Cristo Rey."
Where are the Isaacs? Where are the Edmonds? Where are the priests like Miguel? They are there. They are the thousands of Catholic priests in their parishes, in the seminaries, in the hospitals, in the mission lands, in the universities and schools faithfully carrying out their priestly duties each day with a smile on their face even though they are crucified every day with the Lord that called them to serve Him and his people.
Catholic priests of God: do not be afraid; do not be discouraged; be faithful; be a hero. Remember to always pray: Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.
[Visit Fr. Farfaglia’s parish online at http://www.sthelenacctx.org]
Les Femmes searching for Shepherds to defend the flock.