One of the most bizarre parish missions occurred at St. Mary/St. Charles Catholic Church.  Under the “leadership” of Fr. Duane Wachowiak, the parish enlisted the help of Friar Johnpaul, a Franciscan, to direct the mission.  Its title was The Spiritual Journey:  Reflections on the Wizard of Oz .  As a reminder, Fr. Duane was the priest that cross dressed for a school fundraiser at his parish.

An invitation for the mission included the following:

See how Dorothy’s journey can give us an insight into the steps and curves of the true spiritual journey home.  What message do the wicked witch, flying monkeys, and Toto, too, have to unfold for us?  Come along, click your heels, and enjoy this journey down the Yellow Brick Road of life.  An enjoyable and faith strengthening experience for junior high students through senior citizens.  Come bring a friend or family member for an evening they will not soon forget!

Pictures of the mission can be seen here.

Highlights of the pictures include a nice pair of ruby slippers (not to be confused with a saint’s relic – Dorothy has yet to be canonized) prominently displayed at the front of the church just below the altar.  Another highlight of the mission was the opening night outdoor showing of The Wizard of Oz.

Certainly there were some who attended and seemed to “get something out of it”.  But a bigger, more obvious point needs to be made:  Is this the best we can do as Catholics?  Would the life of a saint not be more meaningful, spiritually uplifting, and educational than a fantasy fictional movie made over 80 years ago?  Instead of a pair of ruby slippers, would not a relic of a saint or other sacred object be more appropriate for a church sanctuary?

This is yet another example of a watered down version of spirituality foisted on people who really need more substance than what the cowardly lion can produce.  Is it any wonder why people fall away from the Church?  In these days of uncertainty and fear, we need Mary more than Dorothy, St. Michael more than the tin man, and Jesus Christ more than the scarecrow.