Weekly pastor’s post (May 19 – 25)

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In preparing for Pentecost this last weekend, I found myself unexpectedly melancholic. Though not unfamiliar emotional territory, I was caught off guard by the strength of the feeling of sorrow at the end of Easter. Sitting in my chapel on Saturday morning, I was caught up in the reality of endings – the end of the holy season, the coming end of my time here in Shoreline, the end of a season of life that – despite (and also, because of) the rollercoaster of going through a worldwide pandemic – has touched me profoundly for the better. Pentecost is a new beginning for the Church, but it also marks an end to what went before. The fellowship that comes with walking together on a great journey now splinters. The road ahead leads to new & exciting (if not entirely known!) adventures – but so many of us will be walking different and divergent paths.

Over the last several days – and in the weeks to come, I’m certain – the fruit of this has been a sense of joy and gratitude. Sure, there are regrets that easily make themselves known, but boy howdy are there so many blessings to be acknowledged. At our pastoral council meeting Saturday afternoon – a group of men & women who have time and again been founts of support and care – reminiscing together about the delight of outdoor Masses mid-COVID after so long apart and in isolation. At the doorway of the church before Masses not a few parishioners and I traded light-hearted teasing – each of us good-naturedly giving as good as we got. Sitting with the young adults at the coffee hour, enjoying the hard-won fraternity they share in their short history as a (new!) parish group. Looking out at parishioners during the Eucharistic prayer, seeing not just faces but recalling various stories & interactions with most, if not each, of them over the last five years.

In addition to being a diocesan priest, I’m a military brat – packing up and moving is not just in my blood, it’s something I genuinely enjoy. There’s something new on the horizon, new people to meet and friends to make. Yet it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is reminding me that we aren’t just sent forth to, we are also sent forth from. I’m grateful for the (re)new(ed) opportunity to look around and take in the blessings that already surround me, especially in the people God has placed in my life at this time. And I suppose this is my invitation for you to do the same in your own situation, whatever it might be.

Though the roads we walk will separate in just a few months, may we take time to acknowledge and appreciate how the Holy Spirit builds us up as one in Christ – preparing us for that day when we are brought back together in the homeland the Lord is preparing for us all.

May 19 – Today is the final day of Easter, the birthday of the Church, and (most importantly) the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles before they went out into the world. The Pentecost sequence is a beautiful sequence and one of the few that is required to be offered during the liturgical year. The Norbertines of Saint Michael’s Abbey have a recording of their members chanting it (right).

A painting of Mary, holding the infant Jesus, enthroned and surrounded by saints

May 20 – Today’s memorial is both new and ancient. Though recently restored to the liturgical calendar by Pope Francis in 2018, this title of Mary can be found on the lips of saints as recent as Pope John Paul II and in the thought of Saint Augustine (among many others. As we enter into Ordinary Time, may the Blessed Mother intercede for Her Son’s Church, that we may faithfully proclaim His gospel. Read more at the Vatican News website.

Black and white photo of Saint Christopher Magallanes

May 21 – It has long been observed that faith in Christ is often borne of great suffering. Though blessed with (relatively) peaceful times here in the United States, the model of our brothers & sisters to the south in Mexico demonstrate the truth of this reality. It wasn’t so long ago that Catholics were a persecuted class in Mexico. Today’s saints – Saint Christopher Magallanes and companions – were martyred between 1915 and 1937 during the ‘Cristero’ uprising of that time against the anti-Catholicism of the Mexican government. Read about their witness and Saint Christopher’s life at the Newman Ministry website.

A drawing of Saint Rita kneeling before a crucifix mounted on a shelf. A beam of light emits from the crown of thorns around Christ's head, touching the forehead of Saint Rita

May 22 – While we all hope to receive and offer the mercy of the Lord, most of us do not face the challenges of today’s saint, Saint Rita of Cascia. Married to an abusive husband, she persevered in loving him to the point of him softening in kindness and care for her. However, he was later murdered, caught up in the conflict of warring families in Italy. Her sons fell ill shortly after and died. She ended up publicly forgiving her husband’s murders and joining the convent – even though there were religious within who were members of the family who had murdered her husband! She worked to reconcile the fueding families and entered religious life at 36. Read about her amazing life and vocation at uCatholic.

A color line art picture of people gathered around an altar as incense rises above them to heaven before the three Persons of the Trinity, Mary & Joseph, and all the saints & angels.

Priests celebrating their anniversaries this week

Remembering our deceased priests

  • Fr. James Hamilton (May 19, 1998)
  • Fr. Michael J. Ryan (May 19, 2014)
  • Fr. Hugh Lynch (May 20, 1936)
  • Msgr. Joseph Camerman (May 20, 1969)
  • Fr. Ibar Lynch (May 20, 2007)
  • Fr. Daniel Grace (May 22, 1957)
  • Msgr. Ailbe M. McGrath (May 25, 1969)
  • Fr. Patrick Lyons (May 25, 1973)
A black and white line art drawing of Christ the judge enthroned within an arch with angels seated on pillars to His right and left with stars behind him.