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August/September 2005


The Gift of Fellowship

20 April 2005

Dear Sir

Just this last week I was approached by a lady after midweek Mass who thought I might be interested in a certain periodical to which she subscribed. She mentioned she had taken note of certain things I had spoken of, I think both to her and perhaps publicly two or three years ago, when a public meeting was held in our local Catholic school for the laity and priests of the deanery.

This meeting was to outline and put to the faithful the intentions of our diocese for the clutching of parish priests, the further use of deacons and to supposedly listen to the laity as to our thoughts on the decline of vocations and Mass attendances generally. It was particularly poignant to me and my parish, when bearing in mind that as little as ten or twelve years ago the Sunday Mas attendance in our local church boasted figures upwards of 1800 people and often as many as 2000 attending most Sundays. Today, a good attendance would be 300-400 and is often as low as 250 or so.

The meeting lasted for some two hours and in a deanery of some 20,000 Catholic souls or more about 150-250 attended. We were told of all the plans mentioned above and were given a chance to put our thoughts. Very few people, perhaps five or six, spoke out and most were in agreement and happy to accept all being presented to them. I could stay silent no longer. I raised my hand and stood to speak.

My words were simple and to the point. I gave notice of the poor teaching of Catholic Faith and morals in our Catholic schools. I asked why it was my own three children, then aged 22, 19 and 12 years of age (who had attended and where one still attends the same schools) were unable to explain to me in simple terms, Confession, Sanctifying Grace, Original Sin, Purgatory, Hell, the Divinity of Christ and His human nature and the One True Faith.

But my main concern was The Mass.

I aired my grave concern with regards the new rites of the "celebration of Mass"? I asked why Mass was no longer referred to as a sacrifice, Christís sacrifice?

I asked why women were treading the sanctuary and attending the Altar where even the Mother of my Christ would not venture?

I asked why young girls were being invited to become altar "servers" and why the cassock and cotta of my youth were being replaced by an Anglican-like vestment?

I asked why women (and indeed men) were being made into "Eucharistic" ministers to give the Body and Blood of Christ where His priest and priest alone should give?

I aired my grave concern as to Communion in the hand and holding the sacred chalice?

Added to all of this was the exile of Saint Michael from the end of our Mass? Why was it, I asked, what Satan could not overcome, men overcame with ease?

Finally, I made the assertion that it was the Mass and our belief in the True Presence that set us aside from the Protestantism that I feared was attacking our Church from within. Though I apologised for speaking out, I did nevertheless point out that we the laity, had been invited to do just this, and for those who wanted to be as one with our separated brethren they should go out and invite them into our glorious Church and one true Faith, and not go out to join with theirs.

Needless to say I received very little support. I think people are apprehensive about speaking out when given the chance, though I believe it is our duty to do so. Perhaps they worry that by doing so they are attacking and therefore not supporting the Church.

To be fair, five or six people later approached me to say that they too felt the same and now wished they had spoken similarly, but were afraid to do so. I again made the point that so long as we are careful not to give those who would destroy our Faith ammunition, then we should feel free to air any misgivings especially when invited to do so.

Nothing if anything came from this meeting except, of course, the implementation of those plans we were asked to comment upon.

The following year after Sunday Mass the parishioners were asked to fill in a questionnaire distributed by the archdiocese. At best this was some wishy-wash tosh about Catholic family life. No mention of the Mass, prayer, confession etc. I did not fill it in but rather replied by letter, a copy of which I have enclosed. I did not sign the letter as I did not wish by signature to pinpoint my own parish or parish priest in particular, as I believe that the Humanism and Modernism I fear is attacking all parishes both in our country and throughout the world.

So here we are with another year passed and a lady approaches me concerning a periodical she has signed up to ... your periodical, Christian Order.

I must admit to being a little apprehensive before saying yes and accepting her gift. Yet gift it has proved to be.

For in your magazine I found a fellowship that told me I was not alone in my fears. In your magazine I read the concerns of so many, who like myself, love and will ever cherish the Faith ... the One, True, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

I am not about attacking my Church nor the faith practised within, but rather in sustaining and holding it for what it is ... the gift of God and the Faith of our Fathers.

As for my children, I have long since been instructing them in traditional Christian doctrine. I thank God and Our Blessed Mother that we have always as a family prayed the Rosary together each evening, as I believe this and this alone has maintained my family in a faith that has, though often challenged, remained strong.

For my own part I am a writer of Christian poetry and through my writing espouse my Catholic Faith - for as I have written... "if I have not this... then I have nothing."

Please accept my gift ("The Preparation") for the gift you have given me, and feel free to use it should you think fit.

God Bless

Martin James Banasko



I remember when I was a lad
The preparation I had had
My very first Communion day
That special Mass that came my way,
My mother checked a crooked tie
My father too did cast an eye
Told enter church and genuflect
And join your hands for love respects.

Remember son now do not fail
To kneel and wait the altar rail
As Father Ryan moves along
To place Our Lord upon your tongue,
A moment then or maybe two
Welcome Our Lord whoís come to you
Then gently rise from off your knee
Remembering He sees all you see.

Eyes cast down return to your place
Remember gently do not race
To kneel again with joined hands
All this and love respect commands,
Remember do not bite or chew
For He Divine is now in you
Let Him simply be absorbed
Or swallow mild who is your Lord.

To kneel the rail and never stand
To welcome Him on tongue not hand
Was then ... but now Iím told to form a line
Is He not still my God Divine?
So many now my God do hold
Where once His priest alone was bold
And dared through rite to give Our Lord
Abeyant to the rules of Paul.

What has changed this simple rule?
Would I be wise to act the fool?
Could there be dared such devious plan
Dilute my Christ from God to man,
And so I knelt in Maryís sight
Prayed my mother guide me right
And there I saw the visionaries
And all but none knelt on their knees.

As in her arms His body laid
From off the Cross His blood had bathed
Who would approach such gentle flesh
To proudly stand not genuflect,
I feel the Angels there about
Cry kneel and on your tongue they shout
Blest Sacrament from meal of men
Would pride now cook a meal again?

Now Michael too is sent away
No more his name to call and pray
As Humanism my faith would shame
Yet still Iíll call and pray his name,
For yet I take Him on my tongue
But now I race I know itís wrong
To find my place and kneel adore
Remembering as I did before.

All those things I had been taught
Which seem today to count for nought?
But yet I teach my children still
Remembering it was once His will,
Sometimes I fret and worry sore
The things I do are done no more
As I recall when just a lad
The preparation I had had.
Martin Banasko



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