I was saddened with the news that yesterday, the Blessed Sacrament was stolen from the Adoration Chapel of my former parish. It happened on the eve of the parish fiesta. I could not understand how the theft took place. There was a security guard on duty and the Blessed Sacrament was kept in a glass case which was under lock and key. Apparently, the one who had custody of the blessed Sacrament forgot to lock the case. During my pastorate, I was the only one who held the key to this glass case. Nobody could open nor close the case except me. I felt that as the pastor, I was the one responsible for the security of the Blessed Sacrament.
Throughout the day, there was nothing in the social networks about the theft. Instead, I found the pastor posting picture of the parish community eating a banquet during the parish fiesta. He even posted that the bands kept playing and the food kept coming. It was as if nothing happened. The fiesta had to go on.
I told this story to the priest who is a guest of our parish. He looked at me intently as I told the story. Then, he said: "It is like a birthday celebrant being kidnapped and yet the party has to push through because the preparations were already made."
For the life of me, I could not understand how a parish community could still celebrate the parish fiesta on the day immediately after the desecration took place. Should not an atmosphere of sorrow and penitence take over the festivities? "The Lord has been taken away. We do not know where they have placed him." "When the Bridegroom is taken from them, it is then that they will fast."
I am sad also about the fact that the International Eucharistic Congress has just taken place and we were part of it. I thought that the International Eucharistic Congress was supposed to ignite fervor in our Eucharistic devotion. Then, why this indifference to the desecration? Why is it that it seems that the theft never took place?
In one of my former assignments, I was called to anoint a dying person during Christmas time. I had barely finished the confection of the sacrament when the relatives around the death bed started to wil. She died at that moment. Then, I saw two toddlers approaching the Christmas Tree. They turned off the Christmas lights and started taking down the decorations. The children understood. Grandma just passed away. It was definitely not time to rejoice over the holidays.
If these children were sensitive enough over the impropriety of merrymaking during a time of grief, why can't we have that same sensitivity? Have we lost our faith in the Real Presence? Do we no longer believe that the one that got desecrated was the Body of our Lord?
To me, the issue is very simple: The Lord has been taken away! Let us be sad because we do not know where they have placed him!
A Roman Pilgrim at the Station Churches 2017 (Part 5) - Our annual visit to the Roman Station churches continues, thanks as always to our friend Agnese. The theme of this post is, quite accidentally, processions...
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