“Who I am & Why I’m here”
Greetings! My name is Roc O’Connor, SJ. I’m a Jesuit priest (that’s what the “SJ” says in effect) assigned just last August to serve as associate pastor at the Church of the Gesu, Milwaukee, WI. I started to blog for two reasons. First, I want to support the sales of my recently published book, “In the Midst of Our Storms,” and share some of its background influences & presuppositions for readers.
That is why I wanted to go with video. I’m a better speaker than writer. Second, I found I had things to bring to the ongoing conversation about the Catholic Mass, how to better participate in it, and what a spirituality of encounter might look like. So, really, this is an effort to be more engaged in that conversation.
I will write about what I call my “Irish-Existentialist Approach” to participation in liturgy (a fancy name given to mostly the Catholic sacramental rituals, including Mass). Here’s the gist: I believe that the Word, symbols, and gestures of the liturgy, when attended to from a certain viewpoint, will in fact provoke reactions, even strong reactions. I believe this is how participants (worshippers) are sent into our personal depths to reconnoiter those places we usually avoid. I also believe that it is in our depths that profound encounters with God can take place. In other words, it is my contention that dealing with all the “stuff” that surfaces in such engagements will lead us to live with fewer and fewer pretenses. I call this the “real presence of worshippers.”
I’m willing to connect with anyone who desires to speak of things that really matter. That’s one of my main goals. That’s what I hope to have accomplished in a year.
Full disclosure: I know enough about myself to let you know I’m also in this for me. St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits in the mid-sixteenth century) said that following the lures of “riches, honors, and pride” lead us down the wrong path, as it were. Yep. Been there. Done that. And I still do that every day. “What’s in it for me?” That’s a key question in my life. No plastic saint here.