Tuesday, April 25, 2017

So, What Happened In San Diego?

Regarding the small attendance for the Triduum at St Augustine of Canterbury North County, my regular correspondent notes,
I cannot imagine anyone turning up at such a tiny gathering unless they were on the lam from a previous parish, or several, where they had made themselves unwelcome. On a more positive note, it might be a place to take a friend or spouse who was leery about the Catholic church. St Augustine's started in 2010 as a community of about fifty enquirers, of whom 34 were received into the Church in 2012. About a year later their ACA clergyman was ordained priest. It appears that the group has gradually withered away. San Diego is its fourth location, which probably hasn't helped. It has probably dropped below critical mass now.
Regarding another situation, my correspondent notes,
Fr Matthew Venuti is one of the youngest priests in the OCSP. He had a small group, St Gregory the Great, Mobile, and was made pastor of a diocesan parish there, St Joan of Arc. Shortly after his ordination Fr Venuti had a serious heart attack followed by cardiac surgery. His condition further deteriorated and he is now fully retired. The OCSP group can never have been large, as they held their Sunday mass in the tiny rectory chapel. But a faithful lay member, now the group's pastoral administrator and an acolyte, arranged for a PP diocesan priest to say mass once a month, and that has now returned to a weekly celebration. It is now held in the church; I don't know whether that is because attendance is higher or because the rectory chapel is no longer available. Msgr Laurence Gipson, now retired, helps out, as does Fr Venuti as able. It's obviously a fragile arrangement, but somebody cared enough to persist.
But how many such fragile arrangements are in the OCSP? San Diego County is the second largest in the state, with a population of 3.3 million. The OCSP group there attracts a dozen for the high holidays. I can see this in the Ozarks or Northern Ontario. I can't see it in a major metropolitan area -- but remember that most metropolitan areas have no OCSP presence.

Fix it or shut it down. These are new Catholics who aren't being properly formed or shepherded.