& # 39; Rock the boat, your holiness & # 39;

During the Mass at St. Matthew's Church in Ballyfermot, Dublin, Fr Joe McDonald criticizes homophobia within the Church. He makes jokes about people who have asked why he is not sanctioned & # 39 ;, and he directs them to the Vatican II Church and the Church of Jesus. These values ​​are there, he says. He leans nonchalantly against the stage as he talks, and his voice goes from silent to loud in his Falls Road accent.

The low-lying church from the 1970s is filled for about three-quarters, mostly from over-50s, although there are a few young families, some from the local Indian Kerala community. In the doorway a pin board advertises pilgrimages to Lourdes and Knock, and a concert in support of the Peter McVerry Trust. There are also piles of Fr Joe & # 39; s newsletter Rumblings from the Bunker . It is the seventeenth Sunday in the normal time.

After the Mass he greets people at the door of the church. An older man cautiously scolds him because he reads too quickly during parts of the service. A younger man tells him about his crucifix tattoo – Father Joe mentioned a project with examples of religious body art – pretending to remove his shirt. Father Joe laughs. "You do not have to show me!"

He tells me about holy contemplation he loves ("a divine waste of time"). He talks about his boxer dog. He talks about lack of responsibility in the church, and how Mary McAleese "scared off old male crunchy celibates".

A former Christian brother who later became a priest after a death and a crisis of faith, Fr Joe wrote a book Why the Irish church deserves to die, and praises the theological discussion with his parishioners.

Some people come to his house every day for "a bowl of soup, a prayer, a medal, a blessing, a chat … The people here have suffered exceedingly, I mean, they are exceptional people. beatification and canonization of characters such as Matt Talbot or Edmund Rice … one of the things that the church investigates is & have they shown heroic virtue? & # 39; I see the heroic virtue here every day. be declared or declared holy.

Heroic virtue

"A woman with 14 children who buried half of them, a man and a woman in the years & # 39; 70 who raise their grandchildren because their parents are dead – that is heroic virtue. "

Moya Doyle, the parish secretary or, as she describes it," parish-gopher ", introduces me to some parishioners who have been" excommunicated. "She makes a joke Yvonne Foster, who is 60 and one of the founders of the folkgro EP, now goes to Mass three times a week and enjoys the sense of community that it brings. & # 39; You go in here and drink a cup of tea and a little crazy. There is a bit of craziness afterwards and I have met people that I would not have met otherwise. "

Fr Joe, for the record, does sermons that are just as extensive on weekdays." I am not behind the door and say to him, "says Yvonne, aiming at her watch.

What is her favorite piece of mass?

"Receiving Holy Communion."

"I envy that" says 46-year-old Tara Fulham, who has expired for years and only recently regained a faith. "I was a teenager when the scandals started, and I remember that the first bishop was Eamonn Casey and that our parish priest got up and all of us roared not to read the papers … I remember thinking: you can not treat people like this. We must be able to talk about it. "

She came back to church after seeing how Fr Joe served her father-in-law at the end of his life." We talked about it at home, and it was not a very deep conversation, only & # 39; back? & # 39; "

Now she loves to have 45 minutes a week when the kids do not have their heads on a screen, she laughs." I have to be honest when I get in on a Sunday and is not Fr Joe, I'm going to o God, I wonder what this guy will look like & # 39 ;. "

Her faith is not fixed, she says." I often wonder if I'm on pray the right way. I walk away as if it's a friend, & # 39; How do you hold & # 39; "

Michael O & # 39; Flanagan, a student at King & # 39; s Inns, is an unusually young Mass-goer at 25." My friends find it unusual "he says He did not go as a child, although his family did have religious faith, so what brought him here?

" Father Joe is a big factor … He does not come across as doctrinal or judgmental. It is interesting and relevant, and he relates everyday things to the gospel. "

St Peter

Declan Graham, who helps with the finances of the church (" I drive a 10-year-old car in case somebody asks for it "), had a" way to the Emmaus moment then they taught fellows to ride buses to Dublin Bus … One of them was an African Christian, one of them was an African Muslim, and one of them was an Eastern European Christian – and two of them started talking about St. Peter , … and the next thing the three of them had a profound conversation, very sensible, very logical, really profound about faith and what they believed and what the Bible said, and I thought & # 39; wait a minute, Irish Catholics are the best in the world and I do not know what they're talking about … I really need to look at this. "

He followed a night lesson in theology and noticed that he was reconnecting to Catholicism in a completely different way." I do not take everything the Church says as 100 percent Gospel, "he says.

His Catholics allowed To draw their own conclusions about theology? "You have your trust, but you can question things and criticize things, and I think Father Joe encourages that," Michael says.

"He is the type of man where you can go and say, "For God's sake, what did you talk about?" says Tara. "You can make your own thoughts about things," Declan says a little later. "You can vote for the abortion referees because you can talk about it with God and invent your own mind."

But the church is getting smaller.

"I do not see my reference group here", says Tara. "And if there is a wedding, it is just like the Muppet Show people who stand up, sit down, nobody knows what to do … I talk to my friends and say at those moments of crisis What do you think happens? What do you think happens when we leave? "

What does she believe? "I could not fathom that there is nothing more than that, when we go, we're going … There must be something more."

Source link

Leave a Reply