Some news: At confession this past Saturday, at my regular parish on Staten Island (not St. Agnes in Manhattan). Sitting there with the usual sinners I see every few weeks (5-6 elderly people, that’s it in one of the largest parishes in the NY Archdiocese). Sitting in the back praying, and waiting for the priest to come in at 3:30. Then low and behold at 3:15, I hear the door to the chapel swoosh open. I did not look as I knew it was too early for the priest to show up. But, a couple of the older folks did turn around, and gestured that Father was here. Since I was there first they nodded for me to get going. As I got up, the priest was half way into the confessional. However, I did manage to glimpse a few things: 1: He was young, 2: He was an American (a causian at that!, I mention this as most of the newer priests in the diocese came from someplace else, and that someplace else is almost never Europe. Also, most of us in NY grew up with an almost entirely Irish priesthood. Now, an Irish priest younger than 60 would be as rare as hens teeth!) 3: He was wearing a Cassock!
You might say: So, Ken what’s the big deal? Well, outside of where I attend the Latin Mass, I have never seen a cassock on a priest. Certainly not at a typical suburban NY parish. 31 years in NY, and this is the first “non-trad” priest I have seen wearing a cassock. From what I gather he is a newly ordained Diocesean priest. And to top it all of, after the absolution, he said “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, and His mercy endures forever”. I don’t know if I should have, but right before I left the box, I commented it was “nice to see a cassock”. He gave a cursory “thanks”, and that was that. The times indeed are a-changing.