NONVERBAL & SPIRITUAL
I will remain away from the Cathedral through Wednesday. Until that time, Father John Boivin and Father Brad Zamora will handle the parish business. The pastoral and administrative staffs continue their excellent work. If you have a question for me personally, hang on to it. I will be at the phone Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; better yet, smile at me when you see me at the State Street doors after Mass on Sunday.
Did you know that active and valuable parishioner Tim Daro tells me that the Cathedral video tour/history produced by Sam Miran (videographer), Bob Weeks (voiceover), Nicole Zermatten (scanner of all archival photos) and Tim Daro (writer), mostly parish volunteers, has actually eclipsed the 3,000 view mark on YouTube! Last weekend, I gave a personal tour to a friend of a friend and his friend; she told me she prepared for my tour by watching the video on line. Want to join the thousands? Go to the parish web page (a golden tool) www.holynamecathedral.org, Click CATHEDRAL on the top toolbar, scroll down and enjoy the video entitled HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE OF HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL. As Tim suggests, let us continue to spread the good news in all forms of media!
How do most people learn about what is going on at Holy Name Cathedral? The automatic answer of yesteryear was “through the parish bulletin.” That may still have been true when I came to the Cathedral in 2002. Today, however, I am convinced that more people look into the activities, the Mass schedule, policies regarding sacraments like marriage and baptism, and which priest is celebrating which weekend Mass via our web page and by social media like Facebook and Twitter. I have resisted Facebook personally despite the urging of some of my young adult buddies. Twitter is even farther out of my range. Yet I know they work in spreading the news about Holy Name. At a gathering of Cathedral pastors and other American Cathedral ministers early last year, St. James Cathedral in Seattle made a presentation on the various ways of communicating information concerning the parish. The speaker told pastors that if our administrative assistant was spending more time each week on the bulletin than on the web page, we had it backwards. The presentation was not saying we should ignore the bulletin; it did urge, however, that we broaden our media uses. It interested my historical sense to discover earlier this year that my home parish (St. Veronica at Whipple & School on Chicago’s near-northwest side; closed in 1991) never had a parish bulletin until 1950. Cleverly titled “The Veil” (get it? Veronica? the sixth station of the Cross?) by the pastor, Msgr. Edward Daily, the bulletin was read regularly by even a kid like me growing up in the neighborhood. What did parishes do before a printed bulletin? I imagine getting out parish news depended on the post-Communion announcements; and that medium depended on people regularly attending Mass. Certainly there were old-times in 1950 who objected to the cost of printing the bulletin and the “wasted time” in producing it. Yet the announcements remained and still remain. We continue to look for new ways to get the word out. We saw a dramatic positive result last Lent when staff member Maureen McInerney got the idea to blast out the Ash Wednesday Mass and prayer service times to everyone for whom the Cathedral had an email address. The number who appreciated the reminder definitely increased the participation in Ash Wednesday prayers.
Continue to consider the use of email. Several times this weekend, I made myself aware of what wonderful tool email has become. My high school class held a reunion; and the invitation response rate was excellent via email. The service employed by the Church to educate priests on the social evils of child abuse is called VIRTUS. While typing this paragraph, email told me it was time to read this week’s offering and to answer the follow-up question. After our next staff meeting, Dawn Swanson, my assistant, will collect the staff reports, paste them into the minutes, and distribute them electronically. My sister sent me another cute photo of my newest grand-niece. I found out why someone I expected at Mass this evening was missing. However, all is not good news with email. When expressing feelings, especially negative ones, there is a trap built into email. There is nothing to nonverbally support or explain your feelings – no tone of voice, no volume, no facial expression, no eye contact or lack of eye contact. The whole message is verbal. Furthermore, the message most frequently is received at a time other than when it was sent. If someone is upset with me, I would rather hear his voice on the phone or, better yet, meet with him. I do not want to read the diatribe before going to bed, as I am preparing for Mass, or first thing in the morning. I once worked with two fellows who conducted an argument with expressions of hurt feelings over several days via email. Their offices were across the hall from each other. A decision was communicated from one committee member to another via email. The result was a several paragraph declaration of disagreement. That was not communication; it was two monologues passing in the night. Whenever using the amazingly efficient email (and to a similar extent, texting), remember that your goal is to communicate with another human being – who has eyes, voice, face, distance away from you, clothes, and a soul unique and different from yours. In using the quick verbal, do not lose sight of the nonverbal and the spiritual.
I mentioned that my high school class recently celebrated 45 years since graduation, 49 years since most of us met. Our school was Quigley Seminary North. Quigley was the name of Chicago’s high school commuter seminary from 1918 until it finally closed in 2007. It stood at Rush & Chestnut from the year it replaced the Cathedral College of the Sacred Heart which ironically was conducted from its beginning in 1905 in the basement of the Chancery Office at Superior & Wabash, where Jake Melnick’s restaurant stands today. We ate at Jake’s for our 45th reunion dinner. In 1961, so many teen boys expressed interest in priesthood that Quigley South opened at 79th & Western while the original school became Quigley North. With declining numbers in the 1980s, the two collided again in 1990 as Archbishop Quigley in the original building. That experiment ended 16 years later, the year after present Cathedral associate pastor Father Brad Zamora claimed his title as the last priest-alumnus of Quigley. The old building remodeled is now the headquarters for the Archdiocese. The Q-North Class of 1969 has come together every 5 years since our 15th. Sixteen fellows made it this time along with eleven wives/girlfriends. I reflected. (1) A lot of us have retired, maybe half; more than half of those, however, have taken up other part-time duties. (2) Many were successful as businessmen, accountants, professors, school administrators, lawyers, police officers, EMTs, priests, husbands, and fathers. (3) Those with children love their families. (4) Twelve of the seventy-six who graduated eventually were ordained priests. Only twelve? Wasn’t Quigley a seminary? We were teens. Even in Q’s most productive days, the maturing of a priestly vocation took time with another minimum of eight years after Quigley. Our 14.5% ordained score was typical. Two others were ordained deacons. One other classmate-priest made the reunion and concelebrated the Mass with me, Father John Gibson, a Discalced Carmelite missionary whose vocation was encouraged by Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta who attended his ordination at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. John today is a missionary dedicated to the poorest children of God in Sierra Leone, currently serving in Tanzania. During the “Universal Prayers” (formerly, the Petitions), I opened up the floor for individual prayers. One of the wives shouted out, “For my husband Jerry who celebrated his 63rd birthday this week!” We all laughed. I replied, “You’re 63, Jerry? How come you’re older than the rest of us?” That’s the truthful reality of a reunion. We all are the same age. I pray I will be back at Quigley in 2019 for our 50th.
Msgr. Dan Mayall