Thursday, September 10, 2015

Scenes from parish life

Here are some little snapshots of my parish:

> Last Saturday and Sunday was the annual parish homecoming. We routinely have an outdoor Mass on Saturday evening; but about 90 minutes before the scheduled time, radar showed a good chance of a storm hitting during Mass. So I made the call to move the Mass back inside. I was in the confessional at the moment, but no one with me, of course.

We had four or five boys lined up to serve the Mass; I came out of the confessional to let them know; so they dutifully started bringing chairs back inside. I told the boys -- who, out of habit, had already gotten dressed for Mass -- that they didn't have to wear their cassocks for the hauling in of the chairs. It was over 90 outside. Such dedication!

> The Saturday Mass was packed. Normal attendance for Saturday evening Mass will be between 250-300. Expecting a much larger crowd, I planned for about 800 communions. After communion, I think I put about 100 consecrated hosts back into the tabernacle. The church seats about 350; with extra chairs, and standing-room only, maybe we get 500 inside the building. The rest were outside. I expected a ghost town the next day, since our weekend average is around 700-800; as it happened, we probably had around 500+ more at Sunday's three Masses.

> Wednesday morning -- 5:45 am -- we have the Traditional Latin Mass. Some days it's about 6 people; sometimes more. This week it included a family; the brother wanted to learn to serve the older form of the Mass, and the way I teach them is to have them shadow a more experienced server, who shows them the ropes. He was here on Friday evening for the First Friday Traditional Latin Mass; and he came back on Wednesday. And his mom and sisters came too! Very impressive.

> Last night was religious education. I met with the 8th graders and we talked about how Jesus is present in the sacraments, particularly in the Mass. As part of it, I recruited several of the boys to take turns reciting part of the Eucharistic Prayer, as if they were priests at the altar. They did well! When I was explaining what a sacrament is, I began the traditional, nine-word definition (from the Baltimore Catechism): "An outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace." They all finished the definition with me. They knew it. People wonder why I love my parish...

> I just got an email from a parishioner who is head of our St. Vincent de Paul committee. I'd asked him to head up efforts to generate food for the "Food for All" project. The Archbishop had asked every parish to contribute 5,000 items of food for the poor, as part of a "spiritual bouquet" for the Holy Father, when he visits in a few weeks. The goal was to raise $2,500 -- the committee raised over $3,400! They're going to add another $100 for a round $3,500, and they'll use that to buy food for the drive.

I have other stories, but those are private; but it's the same story. I have a great parish. God is doing good things in the lives of people here.


Jenny said...

I surely don't wonder why you love your parish!! What an incredible witness they and you are--to me, kind of a wonderful throwback to the Church of my youth in small-town Pennsylvania...(-: I've said it before: I admit to envy!

Anonymous said...

We enjoy your blog so much.
We didn't receive any pictures along with the story "Scenes from parish life.

Paul said...

You're a good guy.