Devotion to the Holy Spirit in American Catholicism

Devotion to the Holy Spirit in American Catholicism

Devotion to the Holy Spirit in American Catholicism

Devotion to the Holy Spirit in American Catholicism

Excerpt

Imagine the "people of God" gathered together. Some, dressed impeccably, have left their downtown businesses on Market Street to spend an hour in prayer; others, reflecting the hungry eyes and ragged lives of more permanent residents, have pushed and crowded for their places inside the spacious, gilded interior of the Church. They are all present in one body: the rich and the poor; old and young; male and female; cleric and lay; Protestant and Catholic; White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian. Ringed by cross and candle acolytes winding their way around the nave's dark edges and pausing fourteen times to commemorate some place in the world where the Lord is daily tortured, these people rise and fall together, exchanging "misereres" for their sins. Later in the service, they abandon their pews and jostle each other in a slow, pained procession of humanity prostrating itself before the image of the crucified Christ. It is Good Friday at St. Boniface Church, San Francisco.

I believe that on this Good Friday in 1983 the traditional Catholic devotion of the "Way of the Cross" came to a new and fuller expression in a Church laboring to find a spiritual identity almost twenty years after the Second Vatican Council. Many of us grew up with the "piety void" of the 1960s, and so this scene at St. Boniface was not an ordinary one. In the space of one hour, the service integrated, for those of us who were there, our Catholic heritage, the commitment to reform and renewal in the Church, a sensitivity to Christian unity, and the demand for justice in the world. Led by the laity in a paraliturgical service traditionally presided over by the clergy and reciting prayers rooted in the Scriptures, we had finally . . .

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