Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cognitive Dissonance

I'm still trying to fit the puzzle pieces together over the Holy Martyrs Temecula mission, or group, or quasi-parish, or whatever it is. Here are just a few of my questions, in no particular order, in part because it's hard to discern whether there's a plan here at all:
  • This is a major construction project, and as far as I can see, it's the first one for the OCSP where ground has been broken, at least figuratively speaking. Big bucks are going into remodeling a large space. Mass is being held in the unfinished interior. Yet, although the Holy Martyrs whatever-it-is appears on the parish finder, there's been no announcement of this big event from Houston. Wouldn't a bishop normally be cutting a ribbon, wielding a shovel, or some such thing? Wouldn't this be a really important milestone for the putatively growing and prospering OCSP? Why the radio silence?
  • For such a major project, which considering the size of the Pentecost crowd, could potentially become a top-ten parish almost immediately, the parish finder gives only an e-mail and phone number. Call for mass times, I guess. The web presence is a closed Facebook group, with incredibly amateurish content.
  • We don't know what's being done behind the scenes (which is a big part of the problem anyhow), but from the visuals, a major Church resource, Fr Hugh Barbour, is being used only as a supply priest to say mass for a few dozen people in Irvine. This brings to mind the Clintons using uniformed military officers as cocktail waiters at White House soirees. God is not mocked.
  • Why the huge disparity between the Pentecost crowd in Murrieta and the very sparse attendance at other California groups? The San Diego group I'm told on Easter Day drew ten people, Palm Sunday about the same. Following Sunday, mass was canceled. The Pasadena group is on hiatus entirely
  • What's the plan for Irvine? One would think that this group had the potential to outgrow its small chapel, yet it seems to have taken a distant second place, while a big new facility with no prior activity suddently emerges 50 miles away.
  • Now, this is new and all, but my impression of the crowd in Murrieta is they are mainly millennials. And this is the season for confirmations and first communion, at least in diocesan parishes. Pentecost Sunday at our parish, there were about 50 first communions at three masses. Not in Murrieta. Something's missing here. (Heck, how many confirmations took place total in the OCSP? First communions?)
  • Why Murrieta, of all places? The explanation from the bishops' letter is that a few families got tired of the drive to Irvine for Sunday mass -- fine. But all of a sudden, we have something really big, a major startup of a very important OCSP community, from all indications. But the population of Riverside County, a very large area that includes Murrieta and a lot of desert, is 2.6 million. The population of Orange County, a more compact area that includes Irvine, is 3.1 million. Murrieta's population is 111,000. Irvine's population is 266,000. Wouldn't an equivalent effort in the Irvine area have been more justifiable?
  • The style of the whole enterprise is social-media-desultory. That it should revolve around a closed Facebook group reflects a clubbiness that doesn't bode well.
  • For something that's shaping up as such a major, big-bucks project, Houston seems oddly hands-off -- no publicity, no scheduled visits. It's a little like a rich and distant dad buying his son from a first marriage a Porsche but not paying much attention otherwise. Resources from the Busch Group itself or possibly the Diocese of Orange (probably not San Bernardino, though) seem to be involved for planning, vendor selection, and project management -- but are skill sets being transferred to Houston at all?
I keep wanting to impute a plan and a vision to Bp Lopes here somehow, and I keep finding pieces that might almost make a puzzle picture, but it never quite comes together.