Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

The Parish Bulletin - what it is, and what it shouldn't be.

My grandmother was in charge of publishing the weekly parish bulletin back in the 1960s. It was printed on plain white paper with purple ink and she came home with mimeographic ink on her hands and sometimes her clothing!

We'd pick up the sheet of paper on the way out of mass.  Sometimes it was two pages so it was stapled!  It would tell us when the Fish Fry was, or the parish social, and had lots of other newsy information about what was going on in parish life.  If we managed to walk out of church without picking up a copy of the bulletin, we had to turn around and go back to get one, because grandma had worked so hard on it and it was important that everyone knew what was happening at the church that week!

And I think the key words here are "Newsy information!"  The bulletin told us mass times, confession times, and Fish Fry times (a big deal every Friday before Vatican II!), and when the card club was meeting or the altar society.  It was a handy dandy guide to keep in the kitchen with all of the other important papers we needed for school or the adults needed for their work.

I miss that.

Because now the bulletin has become  the second homily via the very liberal and often-off base Social Justice Ministry.  They are the only ministry at our parish that gets its own page to push their views week after week.  We never hear about the importance of Latin in the mass from the music ministry, or the importance of proper grounds upkeep from the grounds ministry.  What I'd really like to read about his how the Legion of Mary goes out every week to give communion to shut ins and how that blesses our parish and our community.  But never a word from them - only the Social Justice Ministry.

I've written about this before, and I have since tried to avoid looking at their page, but this week they really got my Irish up!

This week's full page social justice sermon featured a work by Fr. Bryan Massingale, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.   Ever hear of Father Massingale?  You might have back in 2011 when he was advocating strongly for equal marriage rights.

One of his besties is Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS - one of the organizers of Nuns on the Bus. Oh- and he teaches at Marquette University, which will not reveal whether or not their theology teachers have signed the mandatum.

So basically there is a full page of wayyyyy left-leaning rhetoric in my weekly Sunday Bulletin that runs unopposed and presents itself as the gospel truth for all members of the parish.

This week's sermon -Excerpts from "When Profiling Becomes Reasonable, Injustice Becomes Excusable."by Father Bryan Massingale.
Father Bryan Massingale

It starts out with a reminder that next week is the 2nd anniversary of Treyvon Martin's death - as if he now gets a holy feast day like the canonized saints of the church.

Father Massingale goes on to bemoan the "not guilty" verdict in the ensuing trial because he knows what it's like to be a black man in America.   Fine. I can respect that.

Does he know what it's like to be a woman in America?  To be just that little bit afraid to go outside after dark when teenagers and young people are milling around the street?  Because I do. and I base that on 25 + years of actually living "in the hood" on the west side of Akron. When I see that there are one or more young men walking down the street at night or during the middle of the day when they should be at work or school, my self-preservation radar comes on.  And I don't consider it racist or bigoted to rethink any plans I had to go walking alone in the same direction - it's smart.

What father calls "profiling" I call common sense.  Life experience teaches us to be a little savvy about the situations we put ourselves in and the people that surround us.  The fact that we have lost all that in the name of political correctness has lead to things like the TSA strip searching cancer patients including their incontinence underwear for explosives, or delaying a mother who wants to carry her expressed breastmilk home from work to her infant.  How does any of that make sense at all?

Father goes on to opine that "The Trayvon Martin tragedy reveals how far we are from realizing King’s dream. The difficult and inescapable truth is that until the white majority confronts and conquers its irrational fears, there will be other Trayvons."  

I think Dr. King would be very pleased with President Obama's election.  But I don't think that all of the fears Father Massingale talks about are irrational and maybe, just maybe there's another reason we may have more Trayvons 

Father ends with a sentence fragment "And compromise our faith."  Maybe that's the part I found the most objectionable and insulting.  I don't consider it compromising my faith when I lock my doors before driving around west Akron, or keeping my doors locked during the day, or avoiding groups of young males, black or white, when alone on the street or at the mall or even in the grocery store.  The two shootings on my block involved young black men, and the pictures I get from Life Lock of registered sex offenders are always black males in this area.  Steering care of potential trouble is  self- preservation and wise.  It certainly doesn't make anyone who does the same a compromised Catholic, and in my opinion these types of editorials don't belong in the weekly bulletin, at least not without another point of view to present the other side.

On the other hand can we just get back to the "newsy information" type of bulletin?  I simply want to know where all of the upcoming Fish fries are!