Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

29 January 2013

Pontifex Minimus

People have gone Papa Gaga over the epiphany of @Pontifex, the hallowed handle of Pope Benedict XVI.  On 12 Dec 2012, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Holy Father tweeted thus:

Blogger Kathy Schiffer recently posted on the recent World Communications Day message, in which he called for the use of social media to promote respectful, truth-seeking dialogue, in contrast to the shock-and-awe tactics often found online.

This very blog is my attempt to embrace said media with skill, compassion, and humor.  It is not a substitute for actual personal interaction--an easy temptation, I believe, for bloggers, facebookers, tweeters, etc.  For my dollar, there's nothing like personal interaction.  Priests, in particular, are pontifices--"bridge-builders"--facilitators of the personal interaction between God and the human race.  

Very deeply related to the God-Man encounter is the building of a intra-parochial bridge: when parishioners in separate milieux are introduced to each other.  Having been the Assistant Pastor of HGA for five years now, I have gotten to know or at least recognize most of the faithful.  Nothing lights me up like one parishioner whom I know from a particular ministry (or none at all) meeting another parishioner.  That's the work of a pontifex, strengthening the infrastructure of the "city" that is, in my case, Holy Guardian Angels.  Of course, it also can happen in a more regional setting, as when I give to an infertile couple in our parish the email address of a woman from another parish who teaches the Creighton Model of Fertility Awareness.  It's all about helping people to make worthy contacts.

Because the Holy Father is the Great Bridge-Builder (Pontifex Maximus), and because from 1998 to 2009 he shared his authority locally with Bishop Cullen, who saw fit to ordain me a priest and to elicit from me obedience to him and to his successors (currently Bishop Barres), I am a Pontifex Minimus (Small Bridge-Builder).

Of course, the major bridge work takes place in the celebration of the Sacraments and the proclamation of the Gospel; but the care of souls (including connections between parishioners) is important.

That's all.  I just wanted to share that meditation with you.  It may not seize you with wonder and delight, but I sure enjoy the notion, especially when I act upon it.

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