Cameron: Citizen - Observer
'Words of Inspiration' column

April 1, 2004

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I have two announcements – both good news.  First, the Vatican recently issued new guidelines for communion on behalf of people who are unable to consume normal bread or wine for serious reasons.  For example, some people have gluten intolerance.  The bread we use for mass must have some gluten, but we may now use low-gluten hosts.  We have some with less than one hundredth of one percent gluten.  If anyone needs these in order to receive communion, please let me know.  For those who cannot take alcohol, we may now use a special grape juice called mustum, which is preserved without pasteurization or freezing.  I will make this option available at the Saturday night mass on the left side of the church.  There will be 2 cups there.  Those who cannot receive communion under the form of wine may indicate to that minister that you need the other cup.  If anyone would like this option at our Sunday morning mass, please let me know.  Parents, this is not meant to be a kids’ table; it is preferable to receive the blood of Christ under the form of wine; this option is for those cannot.

Second, Pope John Paul announced this week a new coadjutor bishop for our diocese.  Msgr. Robert Finn of St. Louis will become a bishop in May, but he will not govern the diocese until Bishop Raymond Boland retires.  Bishop Boland just turned 72; bishops must retire at 75.  Bishop Boland is a colon cancer survivor, and he has high iron in his blood.  Last year he asked the Holy Father to appoint a coadjutor to help the transition of office.  Bishop Boland may wish to retire before turning 75, and when he does, our new bishop will be Robert Finn.  Our diocese is grateful to the pope for his pastoral care.

In today’s second reading, Paul offers pastoral care to the Corinthians.  He says their journey to the promised land of heaven resembles the journey of their ancestors through the desert.  Ancient Israel followed the pillar of cloud and passed through the Red Sea, and they were, to use Paul’s words, “baptized into Moses.”  Then they ate manna, a spiritual food, and drank water from the rock, a spiritual drink.  Paul says the rock followed them through the desert, and then he adds provocatively, “the rock was Christ.”  In Paul’s view, Christ was present to the Israelites in the desert, and Christ is present to us as we journey under clouds of confusion, across the waters of baptism, nourished by the spiritual food and drink of the eucharist with Christ the rock as our companion.

During Lent our church reminds us that life is a desert, but Christ is anxious to be our companion, offering us whatever sustenance we need to make the journey home.

This article first appeared in the Cameron Citizen-Observer Thursday, April 1, 2004 (100/48):B6.

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