Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sunday: Confirmation Mass with the Archbishop

Sunday was a big-deal day for everyone in our two parishes, to which we've been ramping up for a few weeks.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk came to administer the sacrament of confirmation during the Holy Mass.

It is (and should be) always a big deal with the Archbishop comes to town. Of course, we all want everything to go just right, and so the planning and preparation take a bit of time.

Weeks ago, our coordinator of religious education, our music director, and I, worked out the plan for the liturgy, which was sent to Cincinnati for the archbishop's "MC" (master of ceremonies). Our CRE and several folks in the school had a lot of work to do, setting things up in church on Sunday afternoon, and somewhere along the way they had a practice for the young people to be confirmed.

The CRE also had to line up servers, a total of six; we had a practice for them at 2 pm on Sunday afternoon, and I led that. We drilled them pretty hard, but they did well.

Whenever the archbishop comes to town, the sacramental books are presented to him for inspection. As the Mass was at St. Mary, but the parish offices are now combined at St. Boniface, I had to bring the books over. I brought over both parishes' books, although it's possible I only needed to bring St. Mary's (as he did not visit St. Boniface parish). I relied on the CRE to pick up some pieces of fruit, so that the archbishop and his MC might have something to eat, if they liked.

We had a few miscues, none major; church was full, and everyone seemed happy, the children most of all. The archbishop gave a very good homily contrasting being a child, and being mature, and emphasizing the virtue of gratitude, saying something like, if you are not truly grateful, without anyone making you be grateful, you are still a child, regardless of your chronological age.

After the Mass, there were pictures, then we breezed through the reception, then headed back to the rectory to unvest, after which I took the archbishop, his MC, and the other priests to dinner.

As we walked across the parking lot, one of the boys who served at Mass was standing there, and I said, "you did a good job Nick!" Nick -- who is 10 or 11 -- reached up, patted the archbishop on the arm, and said, "you did a good job, too!" The archbishop seemed to appreciate it.

Well, I was happy with it all, and glad to host our bishop -- but I'm glad that's over. This week, I have to focus on packing, as I am finally fixing to move to the rectory at St. Mary; while I'm looking forward to living there, I dread packing and unpacking. Next up, in two weeks? First Communions.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Father Martin,
I looked back at two previous bulletins from St.Mary, and was unable to find any mention of the Confirmation Mass. Our music director mentioned it on his blog, but did not give the time. Likewise, I know about the First Communion Mass in two weeks, but only because of making a schedule change to accommodate the parent of a First Communicant. How did I miss all this informtion? magistraret

Father Martin Fox said...

Magistraret:

I'm sorry, I thought we had the Confirmation Mass in the bulletin, in the list on the second page of all Masses at both parishes for the week; I'll double-check.

My column this past weekend mentioned the days and times for First Communion Masses.

We do make these events known, primarily to those directly involved, and they in turn to their family and friends. That is evidenced by the huge turnouts -- St. Mary's was packed for the Confirmation Mass.

Broadly speaking, I tend to think we should make more of these events, so I'm sorry for the oversight.

On the other hand, the large crowds who do turn out are a reason not to do so: they are already crowded occasions.

Indeed, that's why we make the First Communion Masses known, so other folks who might want things a little less crowded, can divert to another scheduled Mass.

Jackie said...

Fr. Martin,

Sounds like a glorious day for all involved. I loved the story of Nick. Isn't it great when a kid is used to a little positive reinforcement thinks it's normal enough to give back to adults. And hey - even the Archbishop needs an 'atta boy' every so often!!

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. I did see the First Communion info in Sunday's bulletin. Sorry. Magistraret

Anonymous said...

I sometimes look at the bulletin from one of your parishes, St. B., but did not know there was also one from St. Mary? How is it accessed online? It's nice to look at the bulletins as a complement to your blog, because your descriptions of "behind the scenes" events kind of flesh out the bare announcements of them in the weekly bulletin. From the bulletin alone no one would guess how much effort goes into everything that happens in a church and parish, wow! So nice to have blogs like this, and this one is the best.
Annie

Lynne said...

God bless you Father. What a busy time of year for you. I hope you have some down time after the First Communions! I also hope you know that many are praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Father, if someone wanted to ask you a question that was unrelated to a particular thread topic, how would they go about doing just that? Can they e-mail you?

Father Martin Fox said...

Annie:

St. Mary doesn't have an active web site right now. A parishioner is working on it.

Anonymous:

I'm sorry, I don't make my email available online, for several reasons.

Other than courtesy, there's nothing stopping you from posting your question in a thread anyway; if it doesn't get out of hand, no problem; if it does...

In other words, I count on people to use good judgment.

A priest said...

We had Confirmation for 26 last Sunday.
This Sunday I asked at each Mass for the newly-Confirmed to raise their hands. On Saturday evening there were none, at the first morning Mass, 3 and at the last Mass of the day there were 6. So 9 came back. 17 did not, at least here at their home parish. I find it hard sometimes to be joyful about Confirmation. Wish it weren't so.

T.O. said...
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