Sunday, January 16, 2011

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.