Sunday, August 19, 2007

the sanctuary mystery

There's been a lot of Catholic stuff in the local news lately. The front page of the Fountain City Focus has a story about the grand opening of St. Mary's Medical Center North. This past Wednesday, our former bishop was installed as the Archbishop of Louisville. And the current issue of Knoxville Magazine has an interesting article about the construction of a $9 million church at St. John Neumann parish. The new church has an Old World design. The pastor, Fr. John Dowling, says in the article that most churches built in the last fifty years don't put enough emphasis on the relationship between the physical and spiritual. His comment reminded me of the small controversy at All Saints Church that I wrote about last December.

The big news at All Saints this summer is that Fr. Ragan Schriver was left in charge while all the other priests went on vacation. I suspect that whoever writes the jokes for next year's adult social will get some material out of that. In past years, there have always been plenty of laughs about Fr. Ragan's liberal use of holy water during Easter season. During Ordinary Time, he has been known to flick his wet fingers at the altar servers who hold the pitcher, bowl and towel for him to wash his hands during Mass. This morning, the server holding the pitcher poured the water for Fr. Ragan and then quickly got out of the way. I think the server saw me trying to hold back a chuckle after I saw him artfully dodge any spray.

When Fr. Ragan takes his vacation, he might want to consider a trip to the Philippines for the Feast of San Juan. In English, San Juan is St. John the Baptist. The people celebrate in the streets of Manila by spraying water on everyone they see. They use Super Soakers, hoses and even buckets to douse each other. I saw some footage from the festival on HDNet the other night. It was on a show called "Deadline," which is part of a block of shows they promote as "Guys Night In." They probably call it that because of the salty language used by the saucy host.

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