One of the New York Times’ political columnists in the 1960s, Walter Lippmann, once wrote “We’re living through a revolution nobody understands.” That was true in the 1960s and it’s still true today. We’re living through times we hardly understand. Who could predict a Covid Epidemic, a war in Ukraine, a changing climate, a fractured political system, an endangered economy? Who could predict the changes in our church?
Yesterday, I went over to Union City, New Jersey, to celebrate Mass at the Church of St. Joseph and Michael. Originally it was St. Joseph’s Parish, founded by the Passionists. Just up the street from St. Joseph’s was the Monastery and parish of St. Michael. St. Michael’s monastery was the center for the Passionist community for over a hundred years.
Cardinal Tobin, the bishop of Newark, celebrant of the Mass yesterday, decribed the union of the two parishes through the image of two streams of water, each bringing life, uniting in one body. He spoke of the water that came from side of Christ on the Cross that brings life to our world.
But water can also bring death. St. Michael’s monastery, church and parish were closed by 1982. Just up the street from the present St. Joseph and Michael the massive monastery church stands empty and deteriorating. Hard to understand.
I wrote about St. Michael’s in 2012 when we left Union City. The contribution of the Passionists to the city and the surrounding area, yes even to the American church, is hard to measure. As we experience this “revolution nobody understands” we search to understand the plan of God. It’s there, hidden, small, confusing, like mustard seed slowly growing. As we hear in our readings from Luke, Jesus says to look for the signs of the times.
In our morning prayer from Isaiah today, God says:
I will lead the blind on their journey
By paths unknown I will guide them
I will turn darkness into light,
And crooked ways straight.
I love the hope that your morning prayers brings. I have been remembering our friend Fr Xavier on this the anniversary of his passing. A.ways a pleasant memory Be well my friend. Harry
I recall our 8th grade school trip to Union City, NJ to see the Passion Play. Perhaps that moving performance was a gift of the Passionists?
You were at St. Joseph’s, the Passionist parish that sponsored the Passion Play. Popular in New Jersey, New York area.