Now we wait: DC's Fr DeRosa speaks to his Restorers

Dear Friends,

Over the last several months many in our parish community have expressed deep concern over the publication and promulgation of our Holy Father Pope Francis’ motu proprio, “Traditiones Custodes”. As you’ll know from my preaching on the topic (available on our Facebook livestreams) I’ve tried my best to lead our community in a sober, Gospel-centered approach to this matter. I’ve offered spiritual direction to individuals and couples; listened to parishioners concerns; and let some of you cry on my shoulder. Parish leadership from our Finance Council as well as an official delegation to the Archdiocesan Synod worked together to formulate our contribution to the discourse of our Local Church on this matter and many others. I could not be more proud of how so many of our parishioners have risen to this moment… and risen in the Spirit. Rather than waiting with dread, they’ve built up constructive conversation and they are waiting on the Word of the Lord to reveal itself over time.

As of today (Monday 13 June), I am still unaware of how our spiritual father Cardinal Gregory plans to implement the motu proprio in the specific circumstances of our Local Church. Many ideas have been thrown around in many fora, but nothing has been officially promulgated. Certainly I have not been made aware of any final decisions.

I want to encourage our community. Our Latin Mass attendees will need ongoing prayer and encouragement since their spiritual lives are most affected by these issues. Our English mass attendees are also affected as the potential loss of the Latin Mass will seriously affect the administrative realities of parish life. Acknowledging all that, we must also recognize with St. Paul that, “God works all things together for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”(cf Rm. 8:28)

Our mission at St. Mary’s is to proclaim the Gospel and serve our neighbors in downtown DC. Over the course of our 175 years we’ve done that for the German immigrant community… for mothers offering the Miraculous Medal Novena during WWII… for neighbors struggling through the riots and social changes of the 60’s/70’s… At one point in the late 80’s and 90’s our parish was even known as a safe haven for local prostitutes to find a way out under the protection of the Pastor. For many years now we’ve provided a home to the Latin mass and the Cantonese mass communities from the city and beyond. Whatever may happen our history shows that we are as adaptable as we are willing to be… and that God will continue to cultivate life through whatever circumstances may throw at us.

Finally, a Father must be encouraging but also defensive of his family’s wellbeing. While I could not be more proud of so many of our parishioners for their healthy response to present circumstances, I also know there are some who will give in to temptations: temptations to worry, to despair, to fear. Some, as I’m discovering today, will turn to social media outlets of various sorts to vent these hard feelings. I adjure all such: though I understand your feelings, remember it is better to weep and mourn on each other’s shoulders than to cause another to weep by our words. It is better to receive a lash with our Lord than to lash out at someone else. It is better to be the seed that dies and gives life than by our obstinacy to poison discourse. If you have contributed in any way to negative dialogue online, I beg you: take down your posts, do penance and rejoice in the mortifications Jesus may be asking of you. Please know that I am here to support you in the Gospel life no matter what.

Your Pastor,

Father De Rosa