Monday, August 24, 2009


Occasionally it is part of the priest’s calling to put on major events. You plan gatherings for maybe a thousand people some groups within that number needing different types of attention. It seems odd that after a while you just get used to it.

This past week we had a large funeral for a prominent Akronite. It was an honor to have the funeral here and it created quite a bit behind the scenes organized pandemonium. As with all funerals, ministers of all kinds must be contacted, cleaning crews must change schedules and add extra between-events attention to the church. Time is spent making arrangements with family and, in turn, staff. Extra priests were expected and so seating must be arranged and liturgical accommodations must be made. Sacristans work to judge for how many communicants we must be prepared. Copies of reading are made, police are notified, and extra vestments are brought out. How many organizations can accommodate such a major event in the life of a family in a couple of day’s time?

This particular funeral the family made the request that Fr. Kraker be the main celebrant. It was such a good choice as he gave a very touching homily, one that I could not have given as I do not have the background with the deceased as he did. That was huge relief though I would have gladly done it. But we were blessed to hear his words.

Perhaps it is part of the charism of the priest to want to celebrate. My oldest sister is quite the opposite. Once my Mom called her in hopes of throwing her and her husband a party. She said, “Guess whose 25th wedding anniversary is coming up?” She honestly did not know. When she was informed she called to her husband and incredulously asked, “Have we really been married 25 years?” I on the other hand have always found an excuse to celebrate something. “It’s apple season! Get out a bottle of champagne and let’s celebrate!”

“We made apple strudel! Let’s have a party!”

“Apple season is over. I was getting sick of apples. Let’s have a party to celebrate.”

If you think about it a parish is a celebration center. The most important celebration happens daily with the celebration of the Eucharist. Confessions, baptisms, confirmations, professions of faith, funerals, and community and educational events. I guess the job aptitude test that I took in high school was not so far off of the mark as I thought it was now that I think about it. I filled out my questionnaire and pulled up the appropriate 3X5 card (computers were not big yet) and read my suggested future career: Cruise Line Director. Perhaps this is somewhat close. But more God centered. And not on a boat. Or near the water. And I wear black instead of white. And instead of a captain I have a bishop. And – well, Okay – maybe it isn’t anything like it.


ck said...

Cruise Director of the Barque of Peter is much better than the Love Boat, no?

Anonymous said...

I was on a cruise a few years ago. The entertainment director was hysterically funny. But the shows he put on--one was "clean" and one was the opposite. It takes talent to put on a good show that does not offend. To do the opposite takes no talent. I'm glad you are directing our cruise to eternal life.

MJ said...

Speaking of celebrating..... Happy Birthday!!