Frequent readers of mwbh may be aware that yours truly is a Master of Ceremonies for a regular Sunday Traditional Latin Mass in northern Virginia. Those of us who are dedicated to this work tend to know one another, and frequently correspond, exchange ideas, and offer each other moral support. One thing that all of us have in common, is a high esteem for one good Father in particular.
Nearly a decade ago, the Bishop of Camden, New Jersey, graciously permitted the first canonically established Church owned and operated by a Roman Catholic diocese, to be granted exclusive use of the 1962 Missale Romanum. Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church) is located about a half hour's drive from Camden, in the borough of Berlin. There lives a dedicated priest by the name of Father Robert Pasley. He presides over a growing and vibrant parish, with a variety of activities for all ages, a solid religious education program, and the offering of the Mass and Sacraments in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite, for the preference of those in and around the Diocese of Camden.
Father Pasley is known to be a hard-working and dedicated priest, and a man of simple habits, who isn't above getting his hands dirty. But he has had his share of challenges of late, including throat surgery several weeks ago. While recovering, he is unable to use his vocal chords, so he cannot say Mass publicly, and has relied on a variety of substitute priests.
The recent snow storms that hit the middle Atlantic region have taken their toll on the little parish. There have been a series of mishaps, the worst of which was the buildup of snow on the roof of the rectory causing part of it to cave in. The power has also been out at one time or another, the sum total of which has simply made living there difficult. To add insult to injury, the cable television and high-speed internet went out for a brief period, making it nearly impossible for his distinguished guest to follow his favorite sport at the Winter Olympics. Oh, the humanity!
With the subsiding of the bad weather comes the spring. Anyone who has spent any time at a Catholic parish knows, that the time leading up to and including Holy Week is the busiest time of the year, and Mater Ecclesiae is no exception. On top of that, there is a roof to fix. The parishioners are sure to rally around the pride and joy that is their parish. For the last seven years, theirs has been one of the few parishes in the diocese to reach one hundred percent of its goal in the annual bishop's lenten appeal. But in a state experiencing its share of economic difficulties, the current situation presents an additional hardship, one that must be resolved forthwith.
So, we here at mwbh are calling upon all of you, dear readers, to help. We're launching a Lenten Appeal of our own:
• For all who love the Holy Mass, and know it to be The Most Beautiful Thing This Side of Heaven, let them come to Berlin.
• For all those who love their Catholic tradition, and long for its restoration in the life of the Church, let them come to Berlin.
• For all who have witnessed offenses against Christ in the Eucharist, and the attacks against His Bride who is the Church, all within Her own house, and who long for a sign of deliverance, let them come to Berlin.
Well, if only in spirit. Send your checks to ...
Roman Catholic Church
261 Cross Keys Road
Berlin NJ 08009-9431
... or go to the following site using the parish Paypal account: http://www.materecclesiae.org/donate.html.
Should you decide to send a check, be sure to write in the lower left hand corner (or, with Paypal, in the comments box), the words we can all say together to show our solidarity with these good people in need: Ich ... bin ... ein ...