March 2, 2024 Column Father De Celles News

St. Patrick’s Sacrilege. By now you’ve all probably heard the horrifying news about the funeral at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Cecilia Gentili, a man who identified as a transgender woman and activist and as an atheist. According to The Pillar, these are some things that happened at this liturgy:

· “…the priest celebrant consistently used feminine pronouns for Gentili, describing the deceased as “our sister” …

· …the steps to the sanctuary were decorated …with LGBT-themed flags and similar items, 

· …participants celebrated Cecilia as a “wh–re,” a “p–a,” and as the “mother of wh–es,” in a manner that seemed to glamorize prostitution, 

· …the intercessory prayers included a call for “gender-affirming” healthcare, 

· …prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary were interrupted, with a participant shouting “Ave Cecilia” over the “Ave Maria,” and dancing around the deceased’s casket,

· …“words of remembrance” were offered by the deceased’s male partner, which focused on their union, and by a transgender person who referred to “girls like me” from the cathedral’s pulpit, …[and] focused on political advocacy regarding transgender issues,

· …a transgender person could be seen kissing another man in the Church’s sanctuary…

· …the liturgy included raucous chanting and interruptions at various times,

· …the deceased was frequently celebrated as a “saint” during the liturgy.

The hierarchy’s reaction was sadly scandalous. According to The Pillar, Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended the cathedral’s actions:

“They get a call, they didn’t know the background of this woman who died, all they know is somebody called and said, ‘Our dear friend died, we’d love to have the funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it would be a great source of consolation, she’s a Catholic…it would be a great source of consolation for us, her family and friends…And of course the priest at the cathedral said, ‘Come on in, you’re more than welcome.’”

“…Regarding calls for him to impose ecclesiastical penalties, Dolan said …“I say to the people, ‘What are you all looking at Daddy here for?… I don’t have much clout, some fat, Irish, balding bishop, talking about defending the Church?… people are going to say ‘Ho Hum!’ …Dolan said instead that lay people should “do something” about New York’s [pro-LGBTQ+] governor, mostly through their votes. “Don’t yell at me! Look at yourselves!” the cardinal said.”

Yeah, it’s the lay people’s fault. Pass the buck. What leadership. But after all, he’s just, in his own words, “some fat, Irish, balding bishop.” He’s not your “Daddy.”

I don’t know… I’m fat, part Irish, balding priest. I’m not your “daddy” but I am your Father. And I couldn’t disagree more with the Cardinal’s approach.

You wonder why so many people don’t trust Bishops and priests anymore? Why when they speak, “people …say ‘Ho Hum!’” Maybe because too many bishops and priests refuse to 1) defend the morals, faith and liturgy of the Church, 2) take responsibility for their own failures and 3) try to be true leaders in the mold of Jesus.

And what do “leaders in the mold of Jesus” do? Hmmmm….

“He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and …said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”

Not quite, “Come on in, you’re more than welcome.”

And you wonder why people don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist anymore? Maybe if bishops and priests showed more respect for the liturgy and refused to let our sacred churches be subject to sacrilege after sacrilege—not just the Gentili funeral, but all the unnecessary irreverence present in so many Masses and other events taking place in our Churches right in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle.

At St. Raymond’s. We take precautions that things like this will never happen here. We have strict rules about our liturgies, especially funerals and weddings. For example, we never allow “eulogies” at funerals. Sometimes we get pushback, sometimes vitriolic. But maybe you can understand why we’re so careful. Not because we are uncaring, but because we do care.

Even so, with the growing influence of secularism on the way otherwise good people (including Catholics) view the Church and its liturgies, as well the growing activism of our enemies, we must always remain prayerful and “sober and alert.”

And after thinking about all this, I’ve decided to make a few tweaks in the way we organize funerals and weddings. These may prove to be unpopular, but I hope you will support me.

In particular, in the past we have followed the general custom, permitted under Church law, to allow families at funerals and weddings to appoint their own readers/lectors. From now on, however, either our own parish readers or the priest celebrant will do the readings at all of our funerals and weddings. I will make an exception if the non-parishioner readers provide letters of good standing from their pastors (I will provide guidance to them on what these letters must say).

Cardinal Burke’s 9 Month Novena. Our friend, Cardinal Raymond Burke recently stated:

“We live in most troubled times, throughout the world and even within the Church. The pervasive confusion and error about the most fundamental truths, about the law which God has written upon every human heart, tempt us to discouragement and even to abandon hope. But Our Lady draws us to herself, in order that she, in turn, may lead us to our only source of hope, her Divine Son, above all, to His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.”

With this in mind, the good Cardinal, a true leader in the mold of Christ,

has issued an invitation, “calling on every Catholic in America to return to Our Lady and join in prayer.” To wit, to join him in a nine-month novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, beginning on March 12 and culminating with an act of consecration on her feast day, December 12. Every month participants will receive emails from the Cardinal with words of encouragement.

As your Pastor, I ask you all to join in this Novena with the Cardinal, me and thousands of other Catholics. You can sign up at

As Lent Continues. Daily Mass. How is your Lent going? Are you doing Penance? If not, why not?

Consider attending at least one extra Mass during the week: remember we have extra evening Masses on Monday through Thursday at 7pm. Or spend time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament especially during Exposition and Adoration on Wednesdays from 9am to 7pm, and on Fridays throughout the day, evening, and night (“Nocturnal”), until just before the Saturday morning 9am Mass. And also on Friday don’t forget the Stations of the Cross at 7pm, and the Soup Supper at 5:30. And go to Confession!

And don’t forget, this Tuesday at the 7pm Mass I’ll continue my Lenten Series of Sermons on the topic of “The Seven Last Words of Jesus.” Please join us.

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles