Saturday morning was met with a slow start. Every morning getting up at twenty past 5 in order to make it over to school gym to do the Insanity Workout with my fellow parishioners is starting to take its toll. So I rush through my morning prayers just a little bit in order to have enough time to read the Scriptures and write a homily for morning Mass.
After the Mass I head on down to the hall where there is a men’s breakfast going on. The gas, however, has gone out on all of the ovens. NO SAUSAGE! Only donuts. This has the potential to be a dark and dreary day – but at least I get to eat the donut I like so much; the one that is usually missing by the time I get to donut Sunday.
I leave the conference early in order to get to confessions. Although there are three of us hearing confessions they go a little long because it is Divine Mercy Sunday. That doesn’t bother me so much. That just means I’ll go to the phone store a little later than I planned (giving Sebastian water I bent over and my phone slid out of my pocket and into his water bowl for only the tiniest fraction of a portion of a second. How did it even have time to get wet?) But Fr. Pfeiffer has a funeral and this will crunch his prep time.
While Fr. P had his funeral I went to the phone store to get a replacement. (Is it not amazing that the Church has survived for 2000 years without cell phones and now they are essential to the ministry?) I just wanted a phone and an otherwise nice guy named Mike was trying to help me but after 20 minutes of whittling the choices down to one with which I was comfortable he came back from the stockroom to inform me they were out that model so I punched him.
“Did you just punch me?” he asked a bit in shock.
“Yes. Yes I did. I bet that happens a lot.”
“Actually . . .no. That was my first.”
We worked together to come up with option two. I was not making this a two day event. He started to go back to the storeroom again and then stopped and came back. “Are you going to punch me again if we don’t have this one in stock?”
“I don’t know rightly. Why don’t you try coming back without it and see?”
Fortunately they had it.
Coming back to the rectory I saw a bunch of cars parked in our gym lot and I got to thinking about how much was going on at the parish just this weekend. (Yours is no different.) So I thought it out:
There were of course Masses. There was the Saturday AM daily, and four weekend Masses (plus one other Fr. P went away to do.) Here people came to be united more closely to God and to become better people. There were confessions in which people try to become better spouses, parents, children, employees, employers, etc. There was a funeral Mass that gave people a place to come and mourn and commend their loved one to God. There were a couple of baptisms that brought families together to celebrate the spiritual birth of their children. There were social gathering: the Men’s Breakfast and a Recently Married Couples Cheese and Wine Party. There were educational opportunities such as the Emmaus Roundtable and the Chesterton Society and the Parish School of Religion. There was a hand bell concert that attracted choirs and person from around north east Ohio. There were also a number of sporting events of various kinds and ages.
Then there were those who were assisted in need. A few people came in for counseling for various reasons from spiritual direction to marriage prep. Communion left this place and went to people unable to get to Mass. The community used the property for everything from AA meetings to a place to come and walk or let the kids play.
Then there are the things one rarely thinks about – being exposed to art every weekend be it music or statues or paintings, how much information is disseminated through preaching, teaching, announcements, bulletins, CDs, and other periodicals. Money is collected to assist those in need both locally and in the world at large. Persons are employed; others are given opportunities to volunteer. Just the fact that the community comes together in a constructive way is so very important. And I know I am leaving a lot of things out.
The best part is most of this is free. It is funded by the goodwill of people who can afford it.
HERE IS THE IMPORTANT THING: St. Sebastian Parish, as much as I would like to think otherwise, is not unique. This happens at other parishes or churches (synagogues) also. And St. Sebastian is just one parish in city full of parishes and churches. This city is just one of many in the state. Our state is just one of fifty in this country. Our country is just one among many in the world. How much color these houses of worship bring to our lives. Can you imagine how impoverished we would be without these centers of faith, of art, of sports and health, of gatherings, of assistance spiritual and otherwise, of information, of education, and of just having yet another place to be community?
I hope we appreciate them enough.