Brothers and sisters, as a high school principal I can easily get discouraged. Because I am one of the few people in the building that knows everything that went wrong on a given day, I often end my day feeling that the whole school is falling apart and that it is my fault.  When I feel this way, I have a remedy that was suggested to me by a colleague early in my career as an administrator – Stand in the hall while classes are changing.

Standing in the hallway.

When I stand in the hall I quickly discover that most of the kids are indeed in uniform, most of the teachers are happy and fulfilled in their ministries and most of my parents do not in fact hate me. Standing in the hall, I appreciate the fact that while one of my 300 students may be falling short, the other 299 are doing just fine. This simple exercise is a reminder that my God cares for me and that His Holy Spirit is there to guide me. In other words, if I step back from my problems through prayer, I discover that all is well with my school.

Christ and His Church prevails

Monday night, I had an opportunity to “Stand in the hallway” with regards to our church. Specifically, I had the privilege of serving as a deacon at the Archdiocese of Washington’s Chrism Mass. This is a Mass celebrated during Holy Week by the Bishop of every diocese in the world. It is also one of those rare occasions when virtually every priest in Archdiocese surrounds our Archbishop on the altar during Mass. It is a celebration of the priesthood and a celebration of the men who have answered the call to serve God in this very special way.

At a time when our Holy Father seems to be under scrutiny and attack; At time when our values as Catholics are assaulted as marriage is being legally undermined and; At a time when our commitment to protect the unborn is ridiculed, we need to “stand in the hallway.”

In awe of the priesthood

Brothers and sisters, I stood on the altar of the Cathedral of Saint Matthew with my brother deacons and each one of us was in awe. The sight of six bishops – the literal successors of the Apostles – surrounded by hundreds of priests while a Cathedral full of seminarians, men and women in consecrated life and the lay faithful looked on was simply overwhelming. If for a moment I may have been discouraged by the recent attacks on my faith, the Chrism Mass was my opportunity to “Stand in the hallway” of my Church.

Thank a priest!

Brothers and sisters, there are very good men in the priesthood. Like any other group of humans, some are not living up to their calling from God. But, the vast majority are! And, if the media and those with political agendas try to tell you otherwise, find a way to spiritually “stand in the hallway.” When you do, I trust you will find that we are indeed the Church that Christ built on the Rock of Peter!

Thank a priest today for his service to us and to Our Risen Lord!

Here is a link to more information about Chrism Masses in the Catholic Church:

http://www.zenit.org/article-28653?l=english

13 Responses

  1. Andrew Harris says:

    Indeed. I went to the Chrism mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, OH, for the first time last night and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Seeing the Catholic community come together like that was an extremely moving experience. I could really feel the presence of God in that Church, particularly when all the priests joined in with Bishop Campbell in reciting the Eucharistic Prayer. What a beautiful thing. And it certainly did serve as a reminder that the vast majority of priests are good men doing their very best to serve in the name of the Lord. We should be thanking them constantly.

  2. Ah. Thank you Deacon, I appreciate you sharing your vision of that night. It is encourageing to me as a priest to see it this way through your eyes. You are right, many good priests, deacons, religious, seminarians and the faith surround the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass. So many are quick to focus on what is wrong, it was good to stand in the hallway with you.

    • Deacon Curtis Turner says:

      Msgr. Pope – It was nice seeing you at the Mass and let me count you among the priests that I have thanked for their service today! Happy Easter and thank you for your ministry!

  3. jj says:

    I thank God for my pastor everyday, and yes, standing in the hallway is a great idea. There are times however, when we have to go in the basement. Oopsy.

  4. Karen says:

    According to Msgr. Elliott in his “Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year,” “It [the Chrism Mass] can be transferred to a day earlier in Holy Week, for a good reason, for example, to enable the clergy of the diocese to gather and concelebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice at a time when they are free from parish commitments.” I am happy to support our priests in their scheduling decisions, particularly if such decisions also enhance their ability to be present for the needs of the faithful. If Christ could work miracles on the Sabbath, surely we can permit the Chrism Mass on a Monday …

  5. Cynthia BC says:

    http://comics.com/big_nate/2010-03-29/

    Deacon Turner, I thought of this week’s “Big Nate” comic strips when I read your post.

  6. Deacon Curtis Turner says:

    John,
    It is refreshing to see someone other than clergy read the Roman Missal. However, in Washington it is actually difficult for the clergy to attend a Mass in our downtown, traffic clogged Cathedral on a Thursday morning. Additionally, some of my brother deacons and priests come from parishes in Southern Maryland and Northwest Montgomery County. Some of those are 90 minutes from the Cathedral without traffic. With rush hour traffic, the commute is unbearable. Finally, the commitments we have at our parishes in preparation for Holy Thursday are numerous. So, it is indeed difficult for the Archdiocese of Washington (or any large metropolitan diocese) to have the Chrism Mass on Thursday.
    Even on a Monday night, it is a beautiful Mass and I would not deprive myself of the privilege of attending!

  7. Cynthia BC says:

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-10458367-48.html

    Washington DC consistently ranks among the major metro areas with the worst traffic. On weekday mornings it takes me more than a half-hour to travel the 9 miles from my home in Silver Spring to my office in Bethesda.

    And based on my experiences traveling downtown, both by car and by Metro, I can assure you that one is quite unlikely to arrive at one’s destination in the right frame of mind for Mass.

  8. adele says:

    What kind of worry is it that this Chrism mass was held on Monday instead of Thursday of Holy Week. It seems similar to those who worried Jesus was blaspheming by curing on the Sabbath. The whole point of what the Deacon has said here has been lost by this mis-placed desire to dot the i’s and cross the t’s….pharisiacism at its best! He is risen! Praise the Lord! and don’t get “lost” in the business of fault-finding and overlooking what’s happening. Let us all rise up in a spirit of forgiveness and love! Two things we are so in need of and are in such short supply!

  9. Eileen says:

    Actually, some parishes are nearly 2-1/2 hours from the cathedral, especially with traffic. Add in two hours for Mass and picking up the oils and a priest could be gone for up to 7 hours on Holy Thursday, arriving back shortly before he celebrates Mass for his own parish. It seems as if more priests are coming now that it is on Monday (I’ve gone a few times) and the cathedral was standing room only this year. I think it’s great for the priests to be together, and it’s inspiring to people like me to see so many. Since it is permissible to move it for good cause, let’s celebrate the priesthood and enter Easter with joy rather than complaints about whether or not someone is following a rule in the manner you want. This is a season of joy!

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