Why then was yesterday’s (Holy Thursday) ceremony attended by barely two dozen members of the community?
Since their arrival in 2004 the Neocat clergy have fought to strip away the traditions of this parish and unilaterally impose their own alien ways of doing things. Try using this site’s search facility for "easter" and you’ll quickly get a picture of what’s been happening over the years.
This year the usual Easter edict was issued – not by dialogue or discussion, but by Mendes singling out one member of the community, Ann M, and handing her the following sheet of paper:
I trust this e-mail will find you well.
As you are aware the community at St Vincent’s is inclusive, and there was much deliberation following the Holy Week Worship Schedule you had given me last week.
Here is our response:-
- Readers have been arranged for each day. Please ensure the texts are available.
- On Maundy Thursday a few in the community will wash the feet of members of the community, following the teachings of Christ. As per the tradition of St Vincent’s, there will be a Passover Meal after mass basically to invite the children of God on the streets into the church for a meal.
- The Aboriginal dead will be remembered after the Good Friday service. The community has requested that those who choose not to stay leave respectfully, with haste and in silence. My personal request is that those who leave do not walk in front of the altar while the names are being read. I am sure respect for the dead is practised in your culture and it should be no different for the Aboriginals on whose land we are but guests.
- There will be Offertory Processions on Thursday and Saturday. Kindly place the bread and wine on the organ at the back. The community will arrange for a table for the gifts.
The community has asked me to oversee the processions. Please speak to me should you have any ‘concerns’, as there will be children present in church and partaking in the procession. Our conversations should be in hushed tones to reflect the solemnity of Holy Week and as an example to the children.
I trust all is in order.
Do contact me should further assistance be required.
Have a Blessed Easter.
The "Washing of the Feet" was solely the priest’s job, he said, and he would wash the feet of his con-celebrants and no one else. Any attempt by the community to participate in this ritual was mere "theatre" and inappropriate for such a solemn occasion.
He also asserted that Holy Thursday was not the time to have a "party" in the church, especially when the liturgy calls for a solemn exit and time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after the Mass. Failure to observe this part of the ceremony in silence would be clear proof that the offender did not love God.
Since they first came to Redfern, the Neocats spurned the stone tabernacle at the rear of the church, and squirelled the Blessed Sacrament away in a tiny sacristy room, which quickly filled when the handful of "converted" followed the clergy there after Mass.
The community gathered at the rear of the church and quietly shared a Passover Meal.