Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Regarding Father Joseph Jurgelonis, liturgical and doctrinal dissent

The Code of Canon Law states clearly that, "The ordinary minister of Holy Communion is a bishop, a presbyter, or a deacon.  The extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is an acolyte or other member of the Christian faithful deputed in accord with Can. 230.3"

No lay person who distributes Holy Communion should ever be referred to as a "eucharistic minister."  But some within the Church insist upon doing so because they wish to blur the line between the ministry of the ordained and that of the non-ordained.

At Saint Martin's Parish in Otter River, the Church's teaching is plainly rejected.  The laity who give Communion are referred to as eucharistic ministers.  One of these individuals is a woman who frequently goes to the tabernacle both before and during Holy Mass.  This is most unfortunate.  The use of extraordinary ministers should be just that - extraordinary.  Moreover, the ministry should rest on a secure foundation of doctrine and spirituality.  No lay person should be going to the tabernacle.  In Appendix V of the Roman Missal, we find the rite of commissioning of an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.  There we read, "when the priest has himself received Communion in the usual way, he gives Communion to the minister of the Eucharist.  Then he gives him/her the paten or other vessel with the hosts.  They then go to give Communion to the people."

This procedure, unlike the distorted procedure of having extraordinary ministers go to the tabernacle, is consistent at the sign level, with the theological truth that extraordinary ministers operate by way of delegation and not by right.  Monsignor Peter J. Elliott, in "Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite: A Manual for Clergy and All Involved in Liturgical Ministries," stresses this point.  He writes, "It seems appropriate that the celebrant then hand each of them [the extraordinary ministers] the eucharistic vessel rather than that they take it directly from the altar or from the tabernacle.  Again the ceremonial signs truthfully define their ministry as 'extraordinary' and hence dependent on the celebrant." (pp. 289-290).

But there's plenty of bad theology at Saint Martin's Parish.  There is a deacon attached to the parish who should be distributing Holy Communion and going to the tabernacle rather than the non-ordained faithful.  This same deacon, sadly, has promoted the "social gospel" and the writings of Father Andrew Greeley.  The pastor, and I use this term loosely here,  is Father Joseph Jurgelonis.  Fr. Jurgelonis has found the time to promote Sister Joyce Rupp, a New Age advocate who dissents from Church teaching and who has railed against the Vatican.  Fr. Jurgelonis even found the time to sign a letter of support for serial child abuser Father Robert E. Kelley.  What he could never find the time to do is to answer my serious and charitably expressed concerns over dissent and liturgical issues within the parish.

Although I volunteered to serve in various ministries at the parish (acolyte, lector, extraordinary minister bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound), no one ever got back to me.  Meanwhile the same woman who may be seen floating around the altar and going to the tabernacle serves in numerous other ministries at the parish: as a lector, leading the recitation of the Rosary and writing/producing the parish bulletin.  Why do I mention this?  Because the message it sends is clear: that orthodox Catholic laymen who follow the Magisterium and abide by authoritative liturgical rubrics are not welcome.

So much so that when I finally had enough of the nonsense at Saint Martin's, I informed Fr. Jurgelonis in a voicemail that I wanted my name removed from the parish registry.  His response?  Three guesses - That's right, none whatsoever.

Fr. Jurgelonis lacks charity.  This is shown in his disobedience to Church teaching and in his refusal to welcome those Catholics who do abide by that teaching.  If we are serious about promoting vocations to the priesthood, why are priests like Fr. Jurgelonis excluding orthodox laymen from parish ministries?

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

I overheard Pat Gale...she's the one you refer to who pretty much runs things at St. Martin's....mocking you and asking where you were going to sit the following week. She ridiculed you at other times too. So you're right in saying that there is little charity here.

I would use my name but if I did I too would be ostracized I'm sure. Prefer to keep a low profile. But I admire you for having the courage to speak up.

Many people here enjoyed your powerful singing and speaking (during the responses)voice. The fact that you were never asked to lector says it all. Most of the lectors speak very faintly and the people just cannot hear them.

Our loss....Please take care and know that I - and others - are praying for you!

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Thank you for that. There is, unfortunately, a spirit of pride and self-assertion at St. Martin's. And very little self-discipline which results in obedience and authentic freedom.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, in an essay entitled "Lift Up Your Heart," writes: "Self-discipline does not mean self-contempt or destruction of personality, but it rather aims at self-expression in the highest sense of the term. A train is not 'self-expressive' when it refuses to follow the roadway laid out for it by an engineer and jumps the track to its own self-destruction. A train is 'self-expressive' when it keeps its pressure within determined limits and follows the tracks...The purpose of self-discipline is, thus, not to destroy freedom but to perfect it. Freedom does not mean our right to do whatever we like, but to do whatever we ought; a man does not become free as he becomes licentious, but as he diminishes the traces of original sin. Self-denial is a denuding of the ego - it seeks to make the 'I' free to follow God. The more the ego knocks off the chains which bind it to things outside itself, the freer it is to be its own, its I..."

Without obedience, there is no authentic participation in communion with the fundamental attitude of Christ toward His Father: "Behold, I do thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10: 7).

This is not understood by those who dissent from the Church's authoritative teaching. For such people, intimate union with Christ is not possible. For the practice of obedience is the most intimate union between the soul and Christ.

D.E. said...

I know you didn't leave St. Martin's because of the hateful attitudes you were subjected to but because of the climate of dissent and liturgical abuse. This is only a welcoming parish if you are a member of a small clique. Hardly a Catholic attitude!

Unknown said...

The Ship of Peter is torn apart
Martyred in its Holy Teaching
It sinks and sinks, no work of art
The bottom though never reaching

Dissidents are screaming loud
Leaving behind an awful niff
Pretending to be proudly stout
Gearing the Ship into a cliff

Jesus shows His wounded Heart
Smitten with a deadly dart
Peter the Rock in desolation
Deploring severe desecration

Wake up, you Christian Brother
Show now your truthful face
With Mary our Heavenly Mother
We'll reach that Peaceful Place

In allegiance to the Holy Father
United in prayer and fasting
No victory will claim, but rather
Satan's defeat be everlasting.

Rita Biesemans, 01-02-2011

(the Holy Father was Benedict XVI)

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