Sunday, November 4, 2012

Priesthood: From the Cradle to the Grave in a Day

Me, Deacon Michael, and Fr. Chateau blessing graves today
During Holy Week of this past year, I received a phone call just as I was about to offer our evening Mass.  A little baby was born at the hospital and was in serious danger.  I offered Mass as reverently and as quickly as I could and then raced to the hospital.  The mother still in surgery, I gathered with the baby's Dad, some other family members, and several nurses.  Everyone was crying as I baptized and confirmed Matthew John.

Today--at long last--we supplied the ceremonies that were missed that night at the hospital.  Matthew received his candle and his baptismal robe at the 10:30 Mass this morning.  Parishioners who have been praying for him all along were filled with joy as they met for the first time this young family for whom they have long been praying.  (Although Matthew's family is here every week, not everybody would know them.)  Baby Matthew's Great, great uncle was there too.  He is a Jesuit priest who is 94 years old.  After the Mass, Matthew's Dad told me once again how much the parish is a family to his family.  And, of course, that is music to my ears.  It was a joy-filled morning.

Immediately after Mass, the deacon, Fr. Chateau (the priest with whom I live), and I went to our cemetery and had a prayer service.  We prayed, sang, and then blessed hundreds of graves in the cemetery.  There were many parishioners who joined us and who were very grateful for the opportunity to pray for their loved ones.  As I walked about blessing graves, I was struck by how many of them I knew and how many of them I had buried.

Then, Fr. Chateau and I went to the party for Matthew John.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have spent this day with my parishioners.  I was with Matthew who is among the newest parishioners and I was with all of those buried in our cemetery who await the resurrection.  When we prayed for Mathew today at Mass, we sang the Litany of the Saints.  When we prayed at the cemetery, we sang the Litany of the Saints again.  There's something beautiful to be said about this, but I'm totally wiped out and will have to save that for another day. 

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