Saturday, January 23, 2010

To Whom Shall WE Go?

On January 20th Archbishop Dolan made a post in his blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age titled To Whom Shall We Go?

This phrase, from John 6:68, is the inscription on the Archbishop's coat of arms. In this post Archbishop Dolan synthesizes his reaction to hearing "Lady of Knock" sung at Monsignor John Keaveney's funeral with his personal spiritual heritage as delivered to him through his ethnicity. He proceeds to tie this experience to the collective Irish-American Catholic heritage and its role in forming the Catholic Church in the United States. He widens the circle yet again to included the Irish Catholics of the present, who are suffering in the wake of the revelations of the Murphy Report.

This is the final paragraph of the post:

"This great-grandson of a Cavan man, this boy who learned the greatest lessons of life from Sisters of Mercy from Drogheda, and from a humble parish priest named Callahan at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, Missouri, who now offers Mass daily in a church on Fifth Avenue, dedicated to Patrick, over the tombs of men named Hughes, McCloskey, Corrigan, Farley, Hayes, Spellman, Cooke, O’Connor, and Sheen, believes with all his heart and soul that the Prince of this World will not triumph! The Queen of Ireland already has! Yes, there seems an abundance of thorns right now, but the “Golden Rose” will blossom!"

As a granddaughter of Mary Brown whose ancestors hail from County Cork, I can to some extent share in the Archbishop's ethnic pride. But I am also the granddaughter of John and Benedicta Nakraseivicius, who came from Lithuania, met in New York and were members of the faith community of Our Lady of Vilnius. Why is the spiritual heritage of one ethnicity celebrated in the Archdiocese of New York while another ignored, exiled and perhaps even banished?

Ultimately we, the parishioners of our Lady of Vilnius, continue our lives as disciples of Our Lord, quietly and independently worshipping outside our cultural heritage, our historical context and the community that we loved. The "Golden Rose" of Ireland is none other than "The Fairest of Lillies" of Lithuania. To whom can we go in the Archdiocese of New York so that we can celebrate our faith in the historical context of our culture, as Archbishop Dolan has? What priest, bishop or cardinal in the Archdiocese of New York will be our alter Christus, will gather us, the sheep who have been dispersed and dismissed? Who will provide us with shelter and feed us as a flock?

This is not a rhetorical question.

No comments: