Holy Cross sophomore Ignatius Peter O’Leary V told reporters after the 7 p.m. Sunday Mass in Mary Chapel that, even though he kneels during the Liturgy of the Eucharist at Mass, he denied that he judges his fellow students at Mass who elect not to kneel.
“Ultimately it’s their choice if they want to kneel or not,” O’Leary said magnanimously. “I’m just happy to see so many other members of this great, Catholic, and united Holy Cross community come together at Mass each and every week.”
O’Leary, a member of a proud Irish Catholic family that has been in New England since coming over during the 1840s, explained that while he understands why the majority of his fellow students don’t kneel—the primary reason being that there are no kneelers in Mary Chapel—he himself simply can’t imagine going to Mass and not kneeling, regardless of the toll it takes on his prematurely arthritic knees.
“Given my strong upbringing and education in a devout Irish Catholic New England family, we just kneel at Mass. Ignatius Peter O’Leary Senior kneeled at Mass on the boat to America with the wind blowing at him both ways in a hurricane. His son, and his son’s son, and his son’s son, and my father all kneeled on kneelers. I kneel on the hard ground of Mary Chapel. But we all kneel,” O’Leary said. “After all, it’s a small bit of pain compared to what Jesus went through on the cross.”
O’Leary, a double major in Catholic studies and Catholicer studies, reiterated that he understood why so many of his fellow church-goers don’t kneel in Mary Chapel.
“I mean, sure, it’s not self-flagellation—which I also do—or fasting for the whole of Lent—which I do as well—or only acknowledging the pre-Vatican II aspects of Catholic theology—which you can bet on Pope Pius XII’s grave that I do—but it’s still tough to be kneeling for roughly five minutes on the cold stone floor,” O’Leary, who supported Donald Trump this past election, said. “Most of my fellow Holy Cross students just aren’t as committed to their Catholic faith as I am to mine.”
Indeed, O’Leary, who has had multiple articles rejected from the Fenwick Review for “espousing a dangerously conservative view of Catholicism that even Cardinal Raymond Burke couldn’t love,” said that he’s learned compassion in his time going to Mass at Holy Cross.
“Each week at Mass, I wind up in close vicinity to people who have likely drank in excess, partook in illegal substances, swore, and even fornicated, and I’ve come to peace with the fact that the people I give the sign of peace to likely won’t be with me in the kingdom of Heaven because of this. But that’s not because they don’t kneel at Mass. I don’t judge them for that,” O’Leary said.
As of press time, O’Leary was penning an article about how the Gregorian chant is the only music that should be played at Mass.