Monday, April 6, 2015

A Word of Gratitude to Our Benefactors

A Scene from Our Live Stations
Dear Friends in Christ,

The Boston University Catholic Center survives through the generosity of our benefactors.  Our benefactors include alumni, parents of former and current students, a couple of faculty members, priests, current students, parishes, and friends of the Catholic Center who simply support us because they believe in our mission.  I am also indebted to friends of mine who support the Catholic Center at Boston University because they want to support me in my ministry.

I am writing this blog post not because I'm looking for more money!  I'm writing in the hopes that many of our benefactors will read this letter and will be able to see that their generosity is supporting something awesome.  What I write here is not intended to be exhaustive.  It is just a glimpse of what I  witnessed during this past week.

On Palm Sunday weekend, six men from the Catholic Center and one recent graduate attended the discernment retreat hosted by the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of Boston.  The retreat was led by Cardinal Sean. In the past five years, two men from the BU Catholic Center were ordained.  There are currently three recent graduates from BU studying at the seminary and it is likely that those numbers will increase next year.  And, just the fact that these young men are willing to attend a discernment retreat and be open to the possibility of a vocation is a beautiful thing.

On Tuesday evening of Holy Week, somewhere between 125-150 students came to confession.  Additionally, our confessional was busy all week!  On Good Friday, I heard 90 minutes of non-stop confessions.

There are no words to describe how stunningly beautiful and moving the Sacred Triduum was at BU. It was one of those moments in life when I felt like the heavens opened and God was pouring down grace upon grace on us.  I mean "BIG GRACES."  We were taken up during those liturgies.  It was so awesome to see all of these students living the Sacred Triduum together!  

On Holy Thursday we processed with the Eucharist from the main chapel to our Catholic Center a few blocks away.  After that, a large group of students visited a Eucharistic Shrine and then walked several miles to the Cathedral to have Night Prayer with the Cardinal at 11:30pm.

On Good Friday our students performed a live Stations of the Cross on the plaza in front of Marsh Chapel.  Many bystanders stopped by, watched, and prayed with us.  It was very moving.  This event--like so much of what happens at the Catholic Center--is organized and totally run by the students themselves.  In the evening, we had the Service of the Lord's Passion.  It is particularly moving to watch all of these young men and women approach, genuflect, and kiss the Wood of the Cross.  
Our Triduum Team

On Holy Saturday I met with a few of our students who served all of our Sacred Triduum in order to rehearse for the Easter Vigil.  These students along with our Jesuit deacon and Jesuit seminarian who serve at the CC, Fr. Rick, and Bobby, our intern, did an outstanding job making our liturgies gloriously beautiful.  Additionally, our choir was at the CC practicing.  The music for the Triduum was prayerful and moving.  At the Easter Vigil, I baptized five men and women, received two others into the Catholic Church, and
Right After Baptizing Five New Catholics!
confirmed them all, and confirmed a young woman who had been baptized Catholic but was never raised in the Faith.  All of them attended our RCIA this year.  It was awesome!

A Photo with Some of Our Seniors After Easter Sunday Brunch at the CC

On Easter 400 people filled our chapel at the 12:30pm Mass.  After Mass, we had a brunch for about 50 people who signed up ahead of time.  The brunch was organized by Fran--our Office Manager (who does everything)--and PJ, one of our students who is a man of service.  PJ and a bunch of other men from the Catholic Center got up early on Easter to come in and prepare the whole place and the food.  I was impressed that one of the men who came to help out is a man who graduated last year and is now in the seminary.  That was great.  

This whole week was indeed "Holy."  Our staff--missionaries, interns, music ministry, and Office Manager glorified God by their efforts.  Our students lived this week with extraordinary generosity and charity.  I was really moved to see how devoted to God and to the Church they are.  On Monday nights, after Mass we have an hour of adoration.  As I looked around the chapel tonight and saw these kids praying, I was filled with gratitude for what God is doing in our midst.  I'm telling you, something really beautiful and spectacular is happening.  I was also happy because after adoration, one of the guys said to me, "Wow, I'm wiped out after this weekend!"  To me, that says that someone lived the Triduum well.  I think we are all wiped out after this weekend!  We lived something very intense and something very moving together.

And now that we are all exhausted, we are preparing for one more big event this week.  This coming Saturday, a group of students will lead a confirmation retreat for a local parish.  Just another example of how these students are living a generous life.

What I just wrote about is what's happened during one week at the Catholic Center.  All of that is just one week!  I hope that you see all of that and feel great about your decision to be one of our benefactors. You are supporting something that God is truly blessing.  I am fairly confident that our community would echo what I am about to say.  This past week was a bit overwhelming.  I don't simply mean exhausting.  I mean overwhelming like God revealing Himself is overwhelming.  Like we were part of something that was totally beyond where human beings can rightfully set foot.  We were taken up into something where we could never presume to go on our own.  We touched the Glory of God.

Thank you for being a friend to the Catholic Center.

He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

Fr. David Barnes

1 comment:

  1. WOW, what powerful witness! Thanks for this great post, Fr. Barnes. Happy and Blessed Easter week!