Thanks For Our Priests

Notes from the Communion and Liberation New York Encounter 2011

This morning I went to Mass. That’s a typical Sunday morning for me. But this time, I was surrounded by at least 1,000 other worshipers. The Mass was held in a large theater – the Manhattan Center on West 34th Street – and was celebrated by 15 priests, including H. E. Msgr. Fernando Chomali (at left) Auxiliary Bishop of Santiago, Chile.

The Mass was impressive, but what moved me nearly to tears was something simple.

I was impressed by the vibrant “Gospel Lites” of St. Charles Borromeo Church of Harlem, who had us on our feet, singing and clapping. I was impressed by celebrating Mass with so many others. I was impressed by the wide screens and the microphones, which helped all of us see and hear what was going on. I was impressed by the sincerity of the liturgy, the reverence and power of the Bishop’s homily, the presence of dozens of priests, religious and consecrated men and women among us worshipers. I was impressed by the collection during Mass for churches devastated by the earthquake a year ago in Chile.

But what moved me the most was the start of the Mass. Priest after priest approached the altar, bowed, and then kissed the altar. A gesture that is thousands of years old, and speaks to each man’s own reverence for Our Eucharistic Lord.

Where would the Church be without these priests? With no priests, we would have no sacraments, and with no sacraments, we would have no Church. Through scandals, wars, politics and sin, the Church survives here on earth because of men willing to sacrifice their own immediate needs to the Mystery of the Eternal.

  • Fran

    This is fantastic to read, really great, thanks be to God. I work for a priest, as a secretary and office manager of a parish. It is a privilege to serve him. If people had any idea, they might think twice before criticizing him and/or tearing down the church so easily and quickly. Forget the headlines, the daily acts and submission of our priests makes the church.Love St. Charles Borromeo Church! When I lived in a suburb of NY, I'm thinking this was the mid 90's, a friend told me about it. I dragged several other friends of mine to mass with me there one weekend. I can still recall the great music, movement and profound community. We were so joyfully welcomed.

  • Allison

    @Fran: Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I live in the NY Metro area, so a Sunday Mass at St. Charles Borromeo might be doable with my family.Blessings to you.

  • Mike

    It's always great to have those moments that remind us of the beauty of the Church and those that serve it! My feelings about the faith and church are constantly renewed when at Mass. Today, I had one of those moments as I stepped up to the Ambo to lector in front of 800+ people. We have such dedicated priests who do their job day-in, day-out and are often not thanked enough.

  • Allison

    Mike: My husband has also found great satisfaction and a new perspective by lectoring. And by the way: love your blog!

  • Stephen

    I was at the mass too, and I was moved by the Bishop, when at the beginning of mass he said, so sincerely, "Thank you for inviting me here to offer the only thing I have of value in the world, to allow Christ to use me to turn simple bread and wine into the body of our Lord." The sincerity, humility, and the simplicity of his tenderness made me grateful to belong to Christ's church.

  • Allison

    Stephen: That was beautiful when he said it. Did you write it down? I would not have remembered each word but it sounds as if you did.