Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Did We Lose Something Along the Way?

Poussin, Confirmation, Seven Sacrament Series
1645, Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland
As we are now entering the season of Pentecost, which usually brings with it a flood of confirmations, I thought I'd share an interesting and thought provoking blog posting by Deacon Greg Kendra on the subject of how the sacrament of Confirmation has changed in the last few decades and what the implications of the change may be.  Deacon Kendra serves in a parish in the Forest Hills area of our neighboring diocese of Brooklyn and is the editor of the magazine of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association.

Smacking You Into Sainthood 
"On a spring morning in the early 1970s, I found myself in a suburban Maryland church, kneeling before the doughy cardinal Archbishop of Washington, Patrick O'Boyle, as he anointed my brow with chrism and then completed the gesture with something both bracing and bewildering.
He slapped me.
Actually, it was more of a determined tap. But it sealed the deal. It completed for me, dramatically, the sacrament of confirmation. I looked up into his puffy, expressionless face. There was nothing more to do, nothing to say. I swallowed, rose and returned to my pew. With that, I finished my sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church. I was in."

And, while I was on his site I noticed another posting he did about a month ago that I would like to share.  I just finished a couple of days of jury duty in lower Manhattan.  Getting there forced me into the subway, after a hiatus of several years following some injuries.  I still found the stairs a bit difficult, but I managed.  As his posting reminds us, New York City subways are little microcosms of the entire world, in more ways than one, and the actions he chronicles are all very commonplace.

Underground Prayer  
"You can tell a lot about people by what they do on the subway.
In the early hours of a weekday morning, heading to work, we are transients. We have no home but that subway car. For a few minutes, we are co-habitants: neighbors, bound by time and space and dirty plastic seats, blinking at one another as the lights flicker, the windows rattle, and the stops go hurtling by in a blizzard of white tile."
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