AN ATTACK UPON THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH - WAHROONGA DEFENSIVE PRAYER VIGIL
WAHROONGA VIGIL BEFORE THE BLESSED EUCHARIST
|HOLY NAME PARISH CHURCH WAHROONGA|
IN LATE AFTERNOON LIGHT
SATURDAY 3rd March, 2012
They knew that the Bishop's decision to tear Father Martin, their de facto Parish Priest for the last three years, away from the Wahroonga Parish where he is greatly loved and admired for his holiness and devout celebration of the sacred liturgy, was irrational by any normal standard of Catholic orthodoxy or Law or tradition. They had come to Holy Name Parish Church for a Vigil before the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Monstrance on the Altar. From Friday evening until Sunday morning through the dark of the nights and early mornings, they kept Vigil with Jesus -Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity- throwing themselves upon His Mercy, Love and Power, but always not their will but His Will be done, as they pleaded for their Bishop to change his decision and leave their beloved Father Martin with them and abandon his weird , alien attempt to impose "Lay Leadership” on them contrary to the tradition and Canon Law of Holy Church,and contrary to her nature.
Hours at a time they came, male, female, young, older, alone or with little children. It was an intensely devoted experience. I shared an hour or so with them, using as a basis for meditation, the World War II United States Marines Prayer Book. I chose it for its content and it slender format which is very pocket friendly. The many prayers related to combat; comrades and enemies seemed to have a special application in all the circumstances. And it contains all the prayers before the Blessed Sacrament I was familiar with from my childhood.
The Lord certainly kindly received our prayers, but we had to acknowledge that He might yet allow the wrong to proceed to bring about a greater good. His will be done.
As I prepared to leave I had the privilege of being introduced to Father Martin who is originally from Burma. He is a fine man, not tall, modest in manner, well spoken in English and not in any way bitter, despite the terrible mistreatment and humiliation he has received over 5 years in the Diocese. He is indeed the very model of Christian resignation to God's Will. A truly impressive Priest.
I resolved to return for his farewell Mass at 9.15 a.m. on Sunday morning.