A time of hope

Prindiville dashed any glimmer of hope that there might have been for co-existence at St Vincent’s and left the Community feeling mortally wounded when he refused to allow Sr Marnie Kennedy to distribute Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday.

Up till that point, the Community had been relieved that its efforts to meet Prindiville’s demands for conducting the Easter liturgy without compromising its integrity had proceeded more or less without incident. There was some tension when Prindiville refused to accept any Eucharistic ministers from the congregation on Holy Thursday and again on Good Friday. Several people tried to reason with P. who, as ever, would not be moved. As a result, over half the congregation abstained from taking Communion.

On Saturday, however, there was uproar at his actions. Virtually the entire congregation – except for a dozen or so Neocats – was left unable to go to Communion, as a matter of principle.

Members of the community distraught at
Neocat behaviour during Easter Saturday Vigil Mass.

Several members of the Community attempted to reason with Prindiville in the sacristy after he left the altar. They included 94-year-old Eileen Burke and her grand daughter Stephanie [see letter], who was reduced to tears by the parish priest’s response. When Stephanie’s father, Len, angrily demanded an explanation from the priest, adding that all his children had been baptised at St Vincent’s and had been welcome there since birth, Prindiville smiled and stated: "I don’t care!"

There was nothing to discuss. The parish priest had spoken, and his word is law.

For as long as the Church Mouse can remember, Ted Kennedy would read from a list of deceased Aboriginal brothers and sisters on Good Friday. Every year the list grew alarmingly longer. The Community struggles to maintain this tradition in spite of Prindiville’s decree that there is no place in the liturgy for such an activity.

This year, in an attempt to keep the peace with the intolerant, rule-obsessed clergy at St Vincent’s it was decided to hold the reading immediately after the "formal" Good Friday ceremony. Sr Marnie Kennedy and Michael Gravener read from the list of names, as it was projected onto the wall behind and to the side of the altar.

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