Three months later, Father Simon again wrote a letter to his parishoners. I wanted to share it with you, as well. It is as follows.
You cannot imagine the response that I got to the letter I addressed to my parishioners on June 24. I have gotten so many calls and letters that I am reduced to saying thank you in a form letter. Still, I simply have to write to say thank you for your support and prayers. So many people thought I was brave to do what I did.
Brave!? I simply read the Catechism and moved a few pieces of furniture. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In the parish, some people even wept for joy when they saw the change. I am still kicking myself and asking why I didn't do this years ago. The response has been so supportive. Many wrote and expressed their sense of loneliness in the battle for Catholic orthodoxy. Well, you are not alone, neither among the laity nor the clergy.
Perhaps you have heard the definition of a neo-conservative: He is a liberal who has been mugged by reality. That certainly describes me. I was in college in the late 1960s and went the whole route--beard, sandals, protests, leafletting for feminism, and all the rest. I was nursed back to sanity by some Trappist monks and by genuinely Catholic charismatics. All my ministry has been in the inner city and mostly in the Hispanic apostolate. I teach in a seminary, part time, I am the diocesan liaison for Spanish-speaking prayer groups, and the pastor of an inner city parish. Our very poor parish in Chicago's Uptown gives away food and clothing about 4,000 times a month through a soup kitchen, a pantry, and a clothing room. We use six different languages in the liturgy: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Lao, Korean; and we have a monthly Mass in the Coptic rite, in the Gheez language for the Eritrean community. When I arrived here, the parish was controlled by feminists and radical leftists. So I had pretty good liberal credentials.
My point in all this, is that if a parish like this and a person like me can be turned from foolish liturgical experimentation, it can happen anywhere to anyone. Don't give up! For instance, if they have taken the kneelers out of your church, go to the front and kneel on the hard floor. You'll be amazed how many will join you. That's what happened here. If your pastor tells you to stand, respectfully ask the bishop for permission to kneel. Let your light shine and pray unceasingly, and as you do pray for me and my little parish of faithful poor. I have leaned so much from them.
In the Lord,
Father Rich Simon
People have asked if they might share it or copy it (These letters June 24th, and Sept 16th that are reprinted with permission here and in my column last week). Please do! As Pilate said, "What I have written I have written." Should I be ashamed to hold the faith of two thousand years? I not only don't think so, I know so! Reproduce it and share it with all. May God bless you.