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Hi friends,

Imagine you're a newly, validly, and unquestionably-ordained Catholic priest (and a man, for the female Fishies). You are sent by your lukewarm bishop to an outwardly-beautiful church, which has been utterly wrecked on the inside. The parishioners hate each other, the finances are in ruins, there are no converts or seminarians, and the community is falling apart.

What would be the first things you do? How would you build up the Body of Christ? Smile
Naturally, I am looking for articles and advice by Traditionalist Priests - preferably ones who started off "meh", and became staunch advocates of holy priesthood. I've heard of Father Z. giving advice on restoring wreckovated places and bringing reverence to parishes, but I've never read him yet.

I would like to declare my own first-focus by a semi-humorous poem: http://almepater.wordpress.com/2014/11/1...st-of-god/

Though not entirely serious given the whimsical nature of poetry, it does speak something important. I would personally focus on beautifying the Mass once more. Only by intimations of Infinity do human beings become attracted by God. it's the initial step: first, before relationship, before community, before friendship, before coffee, before soup-kitchens, and before theology.
One issue is of course that a newly ordained priest can only do so much. The pastor of the church has authority over him.
By encouraging devotion to the Blessed Mother and the rosary. She will help!
Be a man of prayer and penance.  Be knowledgeable in the faith.  Also, brush up on the practical skills that will help you, such as preaching, teaching, counseling, spiritual direction, financial planning, etc.  Holiness is essential, but it is important to remember that grace builds upon nature.
I've often imagined myself as a parish priest, and in particular what homilies I would write for each set of readings.  I figure I'd encourage and gently challenge my parishioners to go to Confession more often, and for a parish like this I think I'd preach about various kinds of social sins like gossip and curiosity and relate them to the particular readings of the Mass.
I would only say the traditional Mass.  At my first Mass I would explain the reason why the parish is in shambles is because the Church is in a Crisis and explain what that Crisis is, while teaching the Catholic doctrine against modernism and liberalism.

I would immediately remove every profane thing from the church and make sure the tabernacle is in the center of the sanctuary, and as soon as possible set up statues, votive candle stands, stations of the cross, etc.

I would do as much of my Office as possible sitting in the confessional, and weekly announce the times I will be there for confessions. 

I would ask for a long meeting with the former pastor and ask which individual parishioners and families are most liberal and away from the sacraments; I would then set aside several periods a week to visit them in their home and encourage them to study and practice their faith. 

I would preach and teach what the popes preached and taught in years past about the errors of religious liberty, ecumenism, democritization of the Church, and protestantizing of the liturgy.  I would explain the doctrinal problems of Vatican II and the New Mass, and why these problems must be settled, and at the same time why and how Catholics and the Church as a whole must conform everything to the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

I would then be put on sabbatical with Fr. Rodriguez and he and I would either join the SSPX or establish a Mass circuit in rural Mexico.    Smile
(11-18-2014, 10:22 PM)christulsa123 Wrote: [ -> ]I would only say the traditional Mass.  At my first Mass I would explain the reason why the parish is in shambles is because the Church is in a Crisis and explain what that Crisis is, while teaching the Catholic doctrine against modernism and liberalism.

I would immediately remove every profane thing from the church and make sure the tabernacle is in the center of the sanctuary, and as soon as possible set up statues, votive candle stands, stations of the cross, etc.

I would do as much of my Office as possible sitting in the confessional, and weekly announce the times I will be there for confessions. 

I would ask for a long meeting with the former pastor and ask which individual parishioners and families are most liberal and away from the sacraments; I would then set aside several periods a week to visit them in their home and encourage them to study and practice their faith. 

I would preach and teach what the popes preached and taught in years past about the errors of religious liberty, ecumenism, democritization of the Church, and protestantizing of the liturgy.  I would explain the doctrinal problems of Vatican II and the New Mass, and why these problems must be settled, and at the same time why and how Catholics and the Church as a whole must conform everything to the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

I would then be put on sabbatical with Fr. Rodriguez and he and I would either join the SSPX or establish a Mass circuit in rural Mexico.    Smile

That may sound doable on paper/screen, but it wouldn't work so well if anyone were to try to do it.  Remember that now we are dealing with two generations that really don't know the Faith at all, the generation before that one that does know their faith but is still holding on to the 1970's, and the generation before that who preferred the old ways, but who had been taught to trust in their priests and bishops who made a mess of everything.  People do not like it and absolutely will not tolerate it (they'll leave) if someone they don't know (priest or not) greets them with an emotional slap in the face.
(11-18-2014, 10:55 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(11-18-2014, 10:22 PM)christulsa123 Wrote: [ -> ]I would only say the traditional Mass.  At my first Mass I would explain the reason why the parish is in shambles is because the Church is in a Crisis and explain what that Crisis is, while teaching the Catholic doctrine against modernism and liberalism.

I would immediately remove every profane thing from the church and make sure the tabernacle is in the center of the sanctuary, and as soon as possible set up statues, votive candle stands, stations of the cross, etc.

I would do as much of my Office as possible sitting in the confessional, and weekly announce the times I will be there for confessions. 

I would ask for a long meeting with the former pastor and ask which individual parishioners and families are most liberal and away from the sacraments; I would then set aside several periods a week to visit them in their home and encourage them to study and practice their faith. 

I would preach and teach what the popes preached and taught in years past about the errors of religious liberty, ecumenism, democritization of the Church, and protestantizing of the liturgy.  I would explain the doctrinal problems of Vatican II and the New Mass, and why these problems must be settled, and at the same time why and how Catholics and the Church as a whole must conform everything to the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

I would then be put on sabbatical with Fr. Rodriguez and he and I would either join the SSPX or establish a Mass circuit in rural Mexico.    Smile

That may sound doable on paper/screen, but it wouldn't work so well if anyone were to try to do it.  Remember that now we are dealing with two generations that really don't know the Faith at all, the generation before that one that does know their faith but is still holding on to the 1970's, and the generation before that who preferred the old ways, but who had been taught to trust in their priests and bishops who made a mess of everything.  People do not like it and absolutely will not tolerate it (they'll leave) if someone they don't know (priest or not) greets them with an emotional slap in the face.

I remember in the book "Death Comes for the Archbishop" (spoiler warning) how the two priests reformed a parish that had been under the direction of a corrupt priest who permitted many abuses in Mass.  The people quickly adapted and returned to orthodox worship of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It was a fictional book, but still.
(11-18-2014, 10:22 PM)christulsa123 Wrote: [ -> ]I would only say the traditional Mass.  At my first Mass I would explain the reason why the parish is in shambles is because the Church is in a Crisis and explain what that Crisis is, while teaching the Catholic doctrine against modernism and liberalism.

I would immediately remove every profane thing from the church and make sure the tabernacle is in the center of the sanctuary, and as soon as possible set up statues, votive candle stands, stations of the cross, etc.

I would do as much of my Office as possible sitting in the confessional, and weekly announce the times I will be there for confessions. 

I would ask for a long meeting with the former pastor and ask which individual parishioners and families are most liberal and away from the sacraments; I would then set aside several periods a week to visit them in their home and encourage them to study and practice their faith. 

I would preach and teach what the popes preached and taught in years past about the errors of religious liberty, ecumenism, democritization of the Church, and protestantizing of the liturgy.  I would explain the doctrinal problems of Vatican II and the New Mass, and why these problems must be settled, and at the same time why and how Catholics and the Church as a whole must conform everything to the Sacred Tradition of the Church.

I would then be put on sabbatical with Fr. Rodriguez and he and I would either join the SSPX or establish a Mass circuit in rural Mexico.    Smile

Well, if you are a priest you are obliged to say the whole Office. If you don't you commit mortal sin.

I also always fantasized about giving the homilies, but frankly mine would be too long. I would stick to traditional, though not necessarily polemical, stuff. And to try to show them God and His majesty and glory and goodness. People do want this, at least the folks who are sincere.

I think I would offer the TLM as an alternative, in the afternoon maybe. But Credidi is right, to switch it back to the TLM would cause too much of a shock, and could even drive some folks into protestantism. The Mass is not to be fed forcefully, but it must be prayed freely.
So I guess most of the work would be in cathechesis. Maybe classes for people are confirmed and baptized. I don't see why they should stop learning after confirmation.
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