Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Vignettes in a pastor's life

Here are some events that arise in my ministry that you may find interesting:

> Several weeks ago I got an email from a parishioner--a relative had held back from becoming Catholic because of a marriage issue; he was now dying and wondered what could be done. I wrote back saying I'd be eager to talk to him, I had hope we could solve the problem.

> I met with the man. He was at the end of his tether. His marriage could be regularized, if time allowed (since he was never baptized, his prior marriage was not sacramental. A sacramental baptism cannot be dissolved, but if it wasn't valid in the first place, that fact can be ascertained and declared--i.e., a decree of nullity. But a natural--non-sacramental--marriage can be dissolved by the authority of the Church, if it has already ended); but in his case, no time. But if the spouses are living as brother and sister...no issue. I was able to baptize him, confirm him, give him his first communion, and the anointing of the sick, all in his bed.

> Not many days later, he went to his reward--as I said at his funeral Mass yesterday, to his second and eternal communion.

> I just got a call a bit ago about an upcoming parish event. The event usually takes place in the gym; however, since last year, we installed a high-grade wood floor, and we naturally don't want to damage it. So the subject has been on the rumor mill for some time--that I wasn't going to allow it. (Not true.) Instead, my proposal was, first: do we still want the event there or would it work elsewhere? If the latter, we will get a tarp to put down, as others do. Over the past few weeks, I've had people ask me about it, and I kept saying, no worries, once the person in charge contacts me, we'll work it out. That call came today, and we're working it out. I could have called myself; however the person in charge changes from year to year.

> Yesterday, after the funeral Mass, I returned home to work on notes for a couple of high school classes I'll be teaching this week at Lehman Catholic High School in Sidney. My friend, the pastor of Holy Angels in Sidney, is leading the class but couldn't be there today through Thursday, so I'm the substitute teacher. We're going to talk about contraception and related issues. I spent much of yesterday creating a "powerpoint"--something I don't do very often. I plan on giving the kids permission to laugh at my unartful slides--assuming the technology works. If not, I printed out the slides and I will take the Catechism, and another handout. Lesson: never assume your technology will work!

> Sunday night, I was headed over to St. Boniface to rub shoulders for a bit with the youth group, at their "Barbeque in the Snow" event. While there, I remembered I wanted to borrow the black vestment--from that parish's sacristy--for the funeral the next day. I went to the sacristy door--and my key broke off in the lock! Thankfully, I was able to fish out the broken end.

Now what do I do? Well, I knew someone in the chapel would be able to help me, so I went into the chapel. When I walked in, a parishioner was there, talking to the folks praying there. He had something on his mind and was very happy to see me: "I need to talk to you Father!" I said no problem and we walked into the sacristy where we could talk privately, and the folks in the chapel could pray. Of course I'll say nothing more about it--but note this fact: had my key not broken off, I would have had no reason to step into the chapel at the moment.

> I'm currently exchanging emails with a committee of parishioners who are assisting me on a project. We're going to have some difficulties coming up with a day and time to meet. Even exchanging emails takes a fair amount of time--in case you wonder (a) what father does all day and (b) why doesn't father get things done faster, and (c) why doesn't father get more input from parishioners.

> Oh, and I just remembered I have to finish our annual handout for opportunities for Lent--as Ash Wednesday is about 8 days away. I better get moving...


Ellen said...

Have you tried using Doodle to find the best time for the most people? Here's the link: http://doodle.com/ It allows you to create possible dates and for members to select the times they are available. Then you can pick from the most popular.

Fr Martin Fox said...


No, I'm not familiar with that--I'll have to check it out!

And here I thought using email was being tech-savvy!

mrsdarwin said...

I'm always overwhelmed by the generosity of our priests with their time. God bless you, Father.