Recently, I made a pilgimage to the National Shrine of St Jude in Chicago.
One hopes a shrine provides solace, quiet, and an atmosphere of prayer and quiet contemplation. One is therefore quite taken aback to find children running around, scantilly-clad women with exposed shoulders and thighs, and numerous outbreaks of applause.
The Shrine is housed in a parish, St Pius V, in a now-Mexican neighborhood, and I walked in on a mass baptism of children. The church building was erected for an Irish congregation in 1893, and has been wreckovated in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. There are no communion rails; the statue of Mary was squeezed in with St Joseph’s statue to the right of the altar; a small cube-shaped tabernacle takes Mary’s place left of the altar; the high altar itself is long gone, replaced by a baptismal font and several feet in front of it, a freestanding ironing board I mean altar table.
As an aside, I found it peculiar that a parish named in honor of Pius V does not offer the sacrifice of the mass in the extraordinary form! Yet their web side advertises plans to HONOR Catholic heretic (pro-abortion, pro-sodomite marriage, etc) Democrat Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Placing the baptismal font at the center of the sanctuary worries me. I fear it opens up theological problems. I fear it sends a message that, as long as you’re baptized, you’re saved. The Eucharist, the sacrifice, is not the center. Another sacrament supersedes it –it may appear to some– and gives us free license to sin, to obey the magisterium of our consciences, to worship at the altar of man.
Neither of the two red tabernacle lamps appeared to be lit. A tablecloth from a Mexican restaurant, or perhaps a Mexican quilt (I’m not sure which) draped the tabernacle.
Repeatedly, I witnessed men, women, and children walk directly in front of the tabernacle without reverencing it with a bow or a genuflection.
At one point, I witnessed a photographer pose a small girl in a sequin gown with two adults (possibly her parents), a well-dressed man and a woman in a tight, short dress, directly in front of the tabernacle obscuring it and taking their picture.
The priest or deacon appeared to be performing an assembly line baptism, one baby after another, with no interaction from godparents. I lost track of how many times the audience oops congregation broke into applause. I’m not sure if they were applauding the children or themselves, but it certainly wasn’t our Savior.
At one point I could hear music coming from a cell phone on the other side of the church.
Meanwhile, the side altar / shrine to St Jude was ignored, save for a pre-teen boy before it, who kept toggling several elective votive “candles” on and off.
I suppose I should take heart that these parents and families saw fit to have their children baptized in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Were their children taken tonight, they would be assured of the beatific vision. Yet I worry. The lack of decorum, the lack of respect for the Real Presence, the applause; these brothers and sisters either received deficient catechesis or reject various truths of the faith. Will their children fare any better?
Is it not damning that this parish and shrine are operated by the Dominican Friars, and order of preachers? Is it not demonic that the Domincans brag on the parish’s Web site about their role in getting a local high school named after Freemason and persecutor of the Mexican Church, Benito Juarez?
There is one approved Marian apparition in the United States, and it is outside Green Bay, Wisconsin at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. Our Lady, it is believed, spoke to a young woman 140 years ago and instructed her to catechize the immigrant children of the area.
Let us pray to Our Lady of Good Help and St Jude, patron saint of hopeless causes, for the salvation of the souls of these new children of Christ; of their parents and families; and of the Dominican Friars entrusted to serve them.