I think I have experienced a miracle this week.
As I've mentioned before, I am involved in liturgy preparation at my parish.
Lately, we've had a 'personnel change', for lack of a better term, at the parish. Along with this, and not too surprisingly, some changes occurred in liturgical practice.
Unfortunately, these were changes that brought us further away from liturgical norms, rather than closer...and closer is where we've been heading for the past 5 years or so.
This is distressing to those of us who are interested in good liturgical practice (which I will readily admit is not the majority of the congregation...but the Church has never been a democracy. My feeling is that the congregation should at least know what good liturgy IS...before they decide whether they like it or not!)
I had a disheartening occurrance, when a priest I looked forward to working with, and who is very interested in good liturgy, got moved away.
My liturgy team had some good people, but not all were willing to be educated about 'best practices', and of course these did not come already trained!
I faced my first meeting flying 'solo' with great trepidation. So, I started a Novena.
A Novena is a prayer, or set of prayers, usually said over the course of nine days. At times these may be said over a multiple of nine days, or done over nine hours (called a power novena). The word 'novena' comes from the Latin word for nine. It is based on the Apostles praying for nine days in the Upper Room.
Novenas are usually directed to one member of the Trinity, or the Blessed Mother, or to a particular member of the Heavenly Host, ie. A Saint.
I made my novena, in this case, to the Holy Spirit. I made up the prayers myself, although there are several ready-made novenas to the HS. My novena, as it turned out, would end on the day of my meeting.
Well, the Sunday before the meeting, one of the team members told me she didn't really want to be doing what she was doing. This surprised me a bit, but I said we'd find someone else then. On Monday, a friend came over to visit and in the course of chatting, expressed interest in the ministry newly without a leader. Hmmm. She didn't know anything about the situation. I asked her if she'd like to lead it. She said she would.
This effectively gives me a team which is VERY interested in liturgy and willing to learn. Our 'bosses' have not changed, but I think as a unified voice for the Church's teaching, my team might be strong and effective.
So, on the last day of the Novena, Tuesday, I went into the meeting confident. The other members accepted the new person. They all know her and most have worked with her before, quite successfully. This meeting, as it turned out, was also without a rep from the chaplains, who all happened to be at a conference. So we had a chance to talk and get some things in the open. It was a great meeting.
Things looked brighter than they have since our priest left. News from his new location tells us that he is greatly needed there. God knows what he's up to!
I would like to mention that other novenas I've prayed have brought rather dramatic results. I've prayed to St. Joseph, patron of husbands and fathers. I say a novena beginning or ending on the ordination dates of priest friends I have. This is addressed to St. John (Jean) Vianney, the patron saint of confessors (priests).
I do this to support the ministry of these priests. I've discovered that many priests have their ordination dates in May!
I have said a novena to this saint on my own behalf and have suddenly become aware of areas of sin in my life. He is, after all, the patron saint of confessors, which is who we confess our sins to!
This is a rather old-fashioned devotion in the eyes of some, but I recommend taking a look at it.