Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - February 12, 2017

My father and I both loved the TV show M*A*S*H from when it first came on. Dad had the entire series on DVD, and now I have his discs. Recently I have been watching the early seasons, but right now I’m remembering a couple of later episodes. In one, Hawkeye and Winchester wanted to demonstrate how gullible some people can be, so they mentioned to Klinger about the coming visit of Marilyn Monroe. Soon, even General Schwerin arranged a visit to the camp in order to see her. In another, a visiting inspector led the members of the 4077th to believe that the Army was going to break them up to build a new unit. Soon everyone on the show was acting crazy in order to avoid being chosen for the new unit.

As M*A*S*H demonstrated, rumors can quickly overwhelm the truth. As we go through the diocesan initiative On Mission for the Church Alive, we know we are going to see some changes that will affect each of us. It is little wonder, then, that people are speculating about what is going to happen. Every once in a while, though, I hear it said that certain stories are going about. So perhaps it would be a good idea to review what is happening and remind everyone of where we stand.

Last year, the diocese proposed at least a couple of models for each parish as a starting point for discussion. There are two models that involve St. Malachy Parish. One would have us forming a new parish with St. John of God, St. Philip (which itself is a recent merger of St. Philip, Ascension, Guardian Angels and Holy Innocents) and St. Margaret of Scotland. The other model has us in with the same parishes plus Holy Trinity. In either case, the new parish would feature two “campuses.” It is important to keep in mind that neither model takes the schools into consideration. The diocese is studying schools separately, and even when they announce a new direction for schools in the North Hills region this month, that does not give us any indication of what will happen with our school. Absolutely no decisions have been made on the future of our school.

First indications are that our parish favors the model without Holy Trinity, though many wonder why St. Margaret is in with us. Yet Bishop Zubik is open to other ideas as well. Nothing is decided at this point. Fr. Lou Vallone at St. John of God is proposing his own model in which St. Malachy, St. Philip and St. John of God would join together as one parish. St. Malachy and St. Philip would be the two campuses, but with St. Mary Church of St. John of God Parish remaining open for weddings, funerals and one Saturday and one Sunday Mass each week. Of course I have no way of knowing how Bishop Zubik will react to Fr. Lou’s proposal.

Right now, that is all we know. Anything else you may hear is a rumor and should be treated as such. Remember what Hawkeye Pierce said on M*A*S*H when BJ Hunnicutt teased him about taking Klinger’s story too seriously. “That’s what you get for listening to idle gossip,” said Hawkeye, “especially when it comes from an idle gossip.”
                                                                                       Father H