Mass aborted yet again!

Sunday 2 August 2009

The Prayers of the Faithful were kicked off by Clare, who read from the back of an envelope a reflection inspired by the proximity of Hiroshima Day (6 August, also the feast of the Transfiguration). Before she could finish, the celebrant, Mendes, rudely interjected. Clare nevertheless persisted, reading the fourth and last sentence of her prayer.

Then Ann, driven by her recent visit to Central Australia, tried to offer a prayer and Mendes spat the dummy. The letters/emails tell the rest of the story.

This is not the first time that Sunday Mass has been denied to parishioners at Redfern for "being political" and thereby "having no respect for the liturgy". The community lives with the constant threat of having Masses terminated, with notices prominently displayed in the church foyer and in the church bulletin every week – see Update.

There have now been five or six occasions when the Neocat celebrant has prematurely terminated a Sabbath Mass. Most have been documented on this web site – here are links to the relevant articles:

In addition there have been countless instances of individuals being denied Communion by the Neocat clergy. One of the worst of these abuses of the Eucharist happened at the Easter Vigil on Sunday, 08 April 2007 – see Stephanie’s open letter to Prindiville.

Mendes’ performance moved several concerned members of the congregation to pen the following letter to John Usher, ubiquitous chancellor of the Sydney archdiocese –

St Vincents Parish
Redfern St
Redfern
2nd August 2009

Fr John Usher
Chancellor
Polding Centre
133 Liverpool St
Sydney 2000

Dear Fr Usher,

I am writing this letter on behalf of those concerned parishioners who attended the 10.00 am Mass today.

The Parish priest, Fr Clesio Mendes, walked off the altar during the Prayers of the Faithfull and refused to complete the Celebration of the Eucharist thus denying us the complete Mass and the reception of the Eucharist.

One of the parishioners was in the middle of her Prayer of the Faithful when Fr Mendes tried to prevent her from finishing as he was of the opinion that it was not a real prayer. She said that it was her prayer and that she was praying for Aboriginal people whom she met on a recent trip to the Northern Territory. Fr Mendes then said that we had no respect for the Liturgy and that he would stop the Mass which he did.

We were all devastated and felt absolutely powerless to change his mind. He refused to listen and left the Church.

As he was clearing away the Offertory after the departure of Fr Mendes, one of the Neo-Catechumenate followers made an extremely derogatory remark to the woman who had been sharing her Prayer of the Faithful.

We are at a loss as to how to deal with this abuse of power especially when it happens during our Celebration of the Eucharist.

On behalf of my fellow parishioners, who feel very hurt by this experience, I would value your input both for Fr Mendes and us.

Yours faithfully

Judy J** and others.

Ann sent this set of questions to Usher and Porteous, auxiliary bishop of Sydney –

So far there has been one solitary response from the hierarchy – these thoughtful words from a caring pastor –

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