For the second successive Friday, I attended what was advertised as Stations of the Cross at a nearby church. I own numerous editions of Stations booklets that I've kept handy, in my car, for many years. Anything I want to keep handy, I keep in my car. But last Friday I looked for the booklets and couldn't find them. I can't remember where I put them. Someplace "safe," of course.
This parish uses the version identified with Bl. John Paul II and several were on hand to be borrowed. As much as I appreciate Fr. Champlin's other booklets, his take on the Stations is not my all-time favorite, especially with its inclusion of the 15th Station. I prefer the traditional words to Stabat Mater, too. But after a few Lents, this version is growing on me. Certainly, I enjoy the citations from the Psalms.
Last Friday, the monstrance was out and exposition, adoration and benediction surrounded the Stations devotion. The practice is nothing new in this particular parish. What was new, however, was the silver. Someone donated a silver cross and silver candlesticks to be used during Lent (and Advent, the pastor proposes, click for some very nice pictures inside the church), temporarily replacing the gold ones. Silver is more somber than gold. Obviously, benefactors can do what they like with their money. The fact that these items were on the parish's Christmas Wish List doesn't demand that anyone fulfill the request. Although I've heard that people feel obligated when Father, any Father, makes a specific request. In my own parish, the pastor has learned to watch what he says because the parishioners deliver, and fast. But philanthropy is, for most of us, a zero-sum proposition.
At this rate, the poor we'll always have with us.