Today, a very special thing happened in Piqua: the Archbishop came to offer Mass, and to administer the sacrament of confirmation.
As you might imagine, lots of people had lots to do to get ready: to prepare the young people, to have a rehearsal for them, for the servers (I did that), to set up a reception for all concerned, and to coordinate so many elements.
I confess I was very absorbed with making sure everything went well. Some priests who have been ordained awhile may feel differently, but for me--both personally and as a pastor--I think it's a big deal with the Archbishop comes. He ordained me a priest; I have only offered the Mass a handful of times with the Archbishop; and my priesthood is only complete in the archbishop. I told him, several times, we were glad to have him and it was very special that he came.
Well, thanks to lots of folks, everything came off very nicely. The music was good, the servers were diligent and showed up and did well, the church was packed, and everything unfolded well. Archbishop Pilarczyk gave a good homily about the qualities of being a good Christian, which the grace of confirmation strengthens, using Olympian athletes as an extended example.
After the Mass, and after a reception, at which the Archbishop greeted the families and the newly confirmed, the other priests and I took him to dinner at a restaurant in Troy. We enjoyed a drink and some bread and some good food and company. This may seem rather ordinary, but--I don't have this opportunity very often, to visit with the Archbishop--who has the fullness of the priesthood, is the visible expression of unity in our diocese, and succeeds the Apostles--so...yes, it's special. We enjoyed some stories and jokes and good company, and at last, Archbishop Pilarczyk--who had a long ride to Cincinnati with the deacon who accompanies him--took his leave, and headed home.
Oh yes--I know a lot of folks are talking about President Obama visiting the University of Notre Dame. I'm not saying that's not important, but--I had no time to pay any attention to that. I had the joy of paying attention to a special day for our eight graders. (And I thanked the Archbishop for speaking out about the situation at Notre Dame.)