He admitted it right after Mass. He named all the Lenten programs and initiatives being offered, after having incensed the Gospel earlier as well as the altar after that (as always): “I intend to make this the holiest parish in the whole state.”
One knows without even thinking about it that his intent is for our benefit, not for his own in any way; every fruit will be for the Lord, not for his human basket.
“That is his job,” some would say –and if so, we’d know exactly how hard his life can be at times!
I have a friend who, even as a small child, slept on the edge of her bed “so that the Holy Family would have enough room.” It was likely no surprise to anyone, except maybe to her humble self, that she became a lifelong (so far!) religious sister. I have a feeling that today’s (Roman Catholic) pastor may’ve gotten the call at a similar age, though it took living secularly before he made the move.
If you’ve guessed his heritage to be Italian, French Canadian, Irish, Nigerian, Kenyan, Polish, Asian… you’re right. It doesn’t matter that he’s Polish, except in one way. All the above who’ve been raised Catholic, whose relatives are Catholic, whose friends and peers were and are Catholic, who have some consecrated relatives, and who may know of truly Catholic politicians — well, all of that helped! The Lord plants many a seed, but they each need steady light and frequent watering to bloom. We lived in the land of steady Light and frequent Water-ing.
Indeed, as I grew up in the midst of working class ethnicities (all of whose immigrant parents weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms), we had one other thing in common always: Holy Mass (and all the sacraments). Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Confessionals, Last Rites, wakes and funerals and burials — always someone in the neighborhood(s) was involved in any/all of the above.
In every family, there was always at least one member who had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin and/or to her holy earthly spouse. My grandmother was devoted to both. She had middle-named all her boy children “Joseph” and all her girl children “Mary.” She and an Irish neighbor woman used to gather frequently in the afternoon to pray the Rosary. I might be being half-fanciful in this, but I believe Mrs. Griffin may’ve prayed it in Gaeilge, and Memere, (definitely) in French. The Rosary, too, is like Mass — universal. We all know what is being said and pled, offered and effected, no matter what language it’s in.
Today, because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday — always the Lord’s day — there was zero green seen in the Church, except for muted colors in shirts and the Aran sweater or vest, and the only green I could handily find: two barrettes that I affixed to a purse flap. I was much too hurried to go dig out the little real-shamrock-under-glass pin, or the aunt’s lapel pin of himself in Bishop attire. I wrecked the Sneem woolen mills scarf long ago, gave away the Connemara marble brooch as well as the socks of Irish sheeps’ wool as gifts to special friends who are Irish, but who may never gain Irish soil itself.
Any items I might’ve accessed to wear are tucked into final giving boxes. Gift boxes for my children and grandchildren on that fateful day when they all gather in church for my sake. In each box is something brought from Ireland herself (mostly by others), something from Memere’s Fr. Canadian/Mi’qmak side, and something from my own life that I loved. I think it might help, on that day, but I know for sure I’d like to have received something like that from any passed loved one.
As for himself’s feast day, not to worry. Standing directly behind the cantor today (and every Mass) is a giant statue of St. Patrick in full Bishop attire! His huge staff rests on the ground but rises to Heaven, and he himself is standing upon a mess of vipers. I don’t know that I’d like to sing before his imposing self, except that in his other hand, he is holding up a small shamrock –to remind us. Not of Ireland, nor of himself. Of the way, rather, he explained the Holy Trinity. One cannot hold a single shamrock of any size and appear unapproachable. I should take to doing that, perhaps.
*I cannot leave this ‘blogpost so bare on this day..
*Maybe you didn’t see this part earlier… I didn’t have it here earlier — that could be why!: I feel a need to go quiet for a while. You could call it a holy need. (I can’t. It’s always way more complicated than holy!) Lent is a good time to figure out complications, though. Quietly. 🙂