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St. Mary’s Has it Pretty Good

May 14, 2012

It sometimes seems like my parish, St. Mary’s, has gotten the short end of the stick in recent years. Please give special attention to the word “seems” in the previous sentence. Superficially, it does seem like we’ve gotten a raw deal:

  • We don’t have daily Mass anymore.
  • We’re usually the ones who have Mass celebrated by an out-of-town priest, or a Communion service without a priest, when one of our priests is out of town.
  • And then there’s… Um…

Actually, that’s about it. Since I’ve heard (third- or fourth-hand, of course) some concerns about the fairness or unfairness of this situation, I thought I’d go on record saying that I think we’ve been pretty blessed. We just need to put things into perspective. Consider the following:

  • According to Google Maps, It only takes about 15 minutes of extra driving to get to one of the Ironton parishes. I can’t speak for everyone, especially some of the older parishioners, but my family drives longer than that after Mass to go to Sunday breakfast, so attending Mass in town wouldn’t be a big deal for us.
  • Our pastor, Fr. Huffman, has always tried to arrange for a substitute priest to be at St. Mary’s.
  • When there hasn’t been a priest to celebrate Mass, there has still been a Communion service, so we’ve still had access to the Eucharist (basically the center of our entire religion).
  • Under ordinary circumstances, one of our Ironton priests is always available to say Sunday Mass. Moreover, I can’t remember any important Masses or services (Holy Days of Obligation, Christmas and Easter vigils, Holy Week, etc.) that have been missed until this Holy Week (none of which were days of obligation).
  • For that matter, St. Mary’s is open. Lots of parishes have not been this lucky, so we should be counting our blessings.

On that note, and at the risk of committing the “There are starving children in Africa, therefore your problems are irrelevant” fallacy, I would like to point out that St. Mary’s has never been attacked by suicide bombers. Christians around the world walk into their churches not knowing if they’ll ever walk out. We don’t have that problem.

With all that in mind, I would like to thank  everyone who has worked so hard for St. Mary’s:

  • Fr. Francis Kinney (God rest his soul), pastor of St. Mary’s from long before I was born through late 2006.
  • Fr. Thomas Nau, former pastor of the Ironton parishes, and former associate pastors Fr. Anthony Batt and Fr. Tim Kozak, who all worked hard to include St. Mary’s in the Ironton Catholic Community after Fr. Kinney’s departure.
  • Fr. David Huffman and Fr. Mark Purcell, the current pastor and associate pastor (respectively), who continue to make every effort to provide for us.
  • All the priests who made sure Mass and Confession were available even when Fr. Huffman and Fr. Purcell weren’t.
  • Deacon Jim Sturgeon, who had several Communion services with us when no priest was available.
  • All the parishioners who pitch in whenever something needs to be done around St. Mary’s.

And above all, thank God for all the good fortune we’ve had.

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