Dear Father John
A lot of Catholics are up to Dolly’s wax (or the Plimsoll Line for those with a nautical bent) with questions about the Church and life in general with no one to ask.
Pastoral areas in the archdiocese are up and sort of running, not fully operational yet, agreed, but parishioners are getting the drift. One thing missed in the planning is the pilfering of holy water. Let me explain. In our (St Elms) parish the holy water used to last for months and months. Now our elderly pastor (he’s just had a hip replacement and is deaf as a post) is required to refill the holy water jar every week. As it is winter time (July) the depletion can’t be ascribed to evaporation. While I am loath to pass judgement on our pastoral area neighbours it seems that they are the ones stealing (yes, I use that word deliberately) our holy water. The question is this. Is holy water part of the common purse, heritage, whatever, of the pastoral area concept or has this point been missed in the planning?
“Come to the Water ….” but not ours.
You are correct in not passing judgement on your pastoral area neighbours. Being non-judgemental goes to the heart of the gospel. And it is kind of you to worry about your aging parish priest.
However, I wouldn’t worry too much. Your pastor probably loves to keep filling the holy water jar, giving him something to fill in the day and thinking (wrongly, in your opinion) his parishioners are becoming more and more spiritual. He may even be telling his fellow priests (and the archbishop) about his resurgent parish, as he tries to delay retirement. So please continue to support him in his positive frame of mind as the declining years enfold him.
I have a suggestion. How about getting your parish council to put a ballcock cistern in the roof, piped to the holy water container. Any plumber could rig up this for minimal cost. For validity the refilling water must not exceed the water already in the jar (Canon Law No: 26, 108/3). The parish would then have perpetual holy water, enough for everyone. Other pastoral areas could well copy St Elms’ example and you would save yourself from internecine rifts with your thieving neighbours
Failing this strategy you could put up a notice next to the holy water jar ‘For St Elms parishioners only’, keeping your deluded pastor happy with his weekly refilling and saving the parish a few dollars.