*In a Nut Shell

Spiritual “Health Food”

This time of the year, or this time of the Catholic calendar, is when I miss California, or even Texas to a point, the very most. I can’t even to begin to tell you how deprived we are of the spirituality and holiness that we had in the churches and priests we were so blessed to be apart of and know there. I can’t say we are deprived completely because we are so blessed to even have priests, mass, and confession (even if it is for 30-60 minutes, ONCE A WEEK!), so I look at it like food. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant, I don’t know. But, what we have here is what I’d like to call the Fast Food version of Catholicism. We get our “food” but it is really lacking the kind of nutrients my soul is craving. I want a super wholesome sermon, telling me and the rest of the congregation that we need to go Confession ALL the time because A-Z is a sin and totally unacceptable, and because Confession is such a beautiful sacrament. I want to be told to NOT vote for politicians like Barack Obama and WHY we shouldn’t, and that anybody whose vehicle in the parking lot has an Obama bumper sticker really ought to examine the moral conscience. I want to have Holy Water during Lent. I want to feel motivated by my priest to get down on my knees and really make lots of sacrifices, grow in holiness, say no to sin and yes to Christ during the holy season of Lent. I want to be able to go to Confession on Holy Thursday or Good Friday, not only the Penance service that took place half way through Lent. Oh, but we can always go on Wednesday evening from 7-8 at one parish in all of our local area because everyone else is “Please note there will not be Confession service on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday” yep, I noted it. It is so discouraging! I can’t remember the last Sunday sermon I heard and thought about all the following week. Oh yes I can, it was a sermon Fr. Vincent gave at Guasti when our little family flew to California a few months ago. But, before that? Why is it that more priest aren’t like the beautiful Saint John Vianney? In California, at Guasti and St. Michael’s, pretty much any time you walk into either of those two churches, there are confessions being heard and atleast 10 people in line waiting to be forgiven. How beautiful is that? I can only imagine what it would mean to the parishioners around here if their priests preached more about sin from the pulpit, or the middle of the church in front of the alter, and encouraged confession. And, to help that encouragement, have confession available for longer than 30-60 minutes, once a week. Every parish says you can make an appointment for Confession, great! But, honestly, we all know how alot of people are about confessing their sins, it is a very humiliating thing. More people would be encouraged to go to Confession if they knew there was a screen to “hide behind.” I used to be one of those people who needed a screen. I have gotten passed that, but maybe there are people who aren’t able to? And, maybe if we heard more about sin from the pulpit, the people would realize they really needed more Confession. Maybe that’s why we don’t hear about sin? Maybe we don’t hear about it because some priests might want to stay on the social “cool” or maybe it is because they don’t want to be “stuck in the box” all the time, but when it fits into their schedule?

I want to go to Holy Thursday mass. I want to have that slow realization, after Mass and Jesus is in the monstrance being adored by many until midnight, as the alter is being stripped of everything, that “Oh my gosh! My Lord is going to die for MY sins.” I want to go to a Good Friday service at Noon, and be saddened at walking in the door and seeing that now Jesus has even been removed from the monstrance and the church is “lifeless,” when I reach for the Holy Water and it isn’t there, I will remember that this truly is IT, Jesus has been crucified for me. I want to venerate the cross, receive Holy Communion, and then stay at Church until three o’clock when our Holy Lord died for our sins. While I’m waiting, I want to do the stations of the cross, go to Confession, pray the sorowful mysteries of the rosary, meditate on the passion… I want to experience that quiet, solemn time. I don’t want all the extra pizazz, and I really would rather not go to relive that at 7:00 that evening. I would like to go at 7:00 if I had to work and couldn’t make a visit to church at noon or even three o’clock, I think it is great that some parishes make that available.

I am ready for some Spiritual Health Food. Something nutritious for my soul, fast food is only good for so long. I thank You, Jesus, for blessing us with priests, mass, and Confession! So many people are persecuted and die for our faith, and so many more don’t have Mass or a priest available to them. Please forgive my not being “satisfied” and bless the hearts and minds of those priests we have.


6 thoughts on “Spiritual “Health Food”

  1. Ohhh, it must be so hard for you here!

    You are right, though, to note that at least we have priests … especially with all of the church closings in our diocese, as the Bishop recently announced, and even local churches that don’t have a priest on-site but draw from other local parishes — we are so blessed to have four priests in residence at St. Clement’s, as well as all the retired Fathers and Brothers in the St. John Neumann Residence! (Have you ever been to Mass there? I think it’s amazing — they have daily Mass at 11:30 for the residents, and all the Fathers concelebrate from the pews, even the ones in wheelchairs do what they can from where they are, and the chapel is so beautiful. I’m so sad it’s closing.)


    Also, Confession is offered every day, several times a day, as well as Mass, by the Franciscans at the St. Francis Chapel on Wolf Rd. (I don’t think you’ll get the kind of homilies you’re hoping for though.)

    Also again, the priest who married us and baptized the boys is wonderful — Fr. David Kelly, OSA, pastor of St. Mary’s in Waterford … we have good friends (very very Catholic — the wife wears a chapel veil at Mass) who go out of their way to go to Confession to him.

    I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time here!


    1. It is only hard some times because I know how much the people could benefit from hearing MORE from the pulpit. Thanks for all your input! I am going to have to look into Wolf Road… I went on the diocese website and read the list of churches closing and merging. We were so sad that the church we go to in Troy for Latin mass is closing. But, they are moving Latin mass to another parish in the area down there.
      I really hope I don’t come across as an ungrateful or dissatisfied person. Actually, I am pretty sure I do. It isn’t my intention to be that way. I just wanted to vent I guess. I just long for more and didn’t know any other way to say what that “more” is :)


  2. Hey Kate’s friend! ( I linked your blog thru a comment you made on Kate’s blog). I understand you are having a difficult time but at least look on the bright side: you’re not living in Rochester, NY, one of the most…er, liberal, dicoeses in the country! Albany is benign compared t’o them: you don’t have women and other ‘parish administrators’ giving the homilies ..oh sorry, ‘reflections’, after the real priest gives his two minute homily (I’m not exaggerating!). Plus most dioceses are having to shut down many parishes and facitities due to the lacking numbers in both religious life as well as parish life. All we can do is pray, pray, pray! I admit, I was relieved to come ‘home’ to the relatively conservation NYC Archdiocese after Rochester NY for two years!
    Will be thinking of you.


  3. One more thing….even thought its far, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Albany NY (right near the State Courthouse) is very Orthodox, beautiful and historic. As far as I know, they are not slated to close or merge (probably as a historic church, they have some safety there) and I would highly recommend it. One mass on Sundays is Latin; I do believe it is Novus Ordo but it is very beautiful! Plus the masses there are very short…but very profound. My DH and I got married there! Feel free to email with questions.


  4. Oh yes — sorry Kira, I thought you meant St. Mary’s in Ballston Spa … Joanna — historic St. Mary’s in Albany is right behind where Steve works (it’s where he goes on holy days with his boss), and it is beautiful! (I was a bridesmaid in Kira’s wedding there!)


  5. Thank you for all the kind words, ladies, and for the helpful reminders of the things we DO have here. I am appreciative, and thank God daily for having pretty holy priests -considering-, Mass, confession, etc. I’m sorry for my sounding ungrateful. I wanted to express my desire for more wholesomeness and didn’t know how to say it any other way than I did in my post. I do just need to pray more and allow myself to benefit from the graces that are available to me now through the sacraments. The only way things can change in the hearts and minds of the priests and bishops is through the intercession of the Blessed Mother, so I am going to make that part of my Holy Triduum prayer intentions, and I am also going to include this intention in my Divine Mercy novena as well. Thanks again for the reminders and keeping me on track and mindful of what we are blessed enough to have.


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