17 March 2015

Saint Patrick's Day at St Perpetua's

So, to all readers, happy St Paddy's Day! Our parish celebrated on Saturday this year with corned beef, cabbage, carrots and other things (not least a Klondike ice cream for desert). (Yay Knights of Columbus! You always do this dinner up right!!) I had searched through my closet and drawers for a bit of green to wear (my hope was finding a green turtle neck to replace the usual white one), but it was no where to be found! So, when I got to the party I looked around for a bit of green and found the following:

As you might be able to tell, this miter has a green beard attached --- and there are a few pictures of the bearded version of me floating around the parish (and probably the internet) this week. It made a hit at the party, and a number of folks used their cameras to capture one of my less "serious" moments. My cohort in crime is Myrna Hennesy --- one of the sources irrepressible of joy and boundless enthusiasm in our parish. It's an honor (and really a joy) to call her and her husband Pat, "friends." I was a bit surprised, however, to find that when I returned home from the dinner there were emails from friends I had gone to high school with who had emailed me about this picture!! What goes on in St P's surely does NOT STAY in St P's so I am adding to the tradition myself I guess!

This morning after Mass the Sheehans had put together a breakfast feast of homemade soda bread, marmalade, and then coffee (Fr John supplied the Irish whiskey and some cream or half and half) and tea. Fr John also read a letter of greeting from Brendan, one of the Irish Spiritan priests who has filled in at our parish during Summers when John returns to his community and then takes vacation. We have been so fortunate to have made this connection in our parish! I (and others) have a standing invitation to come to Ireland and be shown the same kind of hospitality we have shown the Spiritans when they visit us! I haven't thought enough about this but it would be a wonderful opportunity; perhaps I will do some real planning and take advantage of it. It would be wonderful to see the guys who have ministered here several Summers now, not least Frs Brendan and Marc (Whelan), and to check out how their plans for certain pastoral projects have come along.

But, regarding the Feastday and St Patrick, we remember Patrick as a great preacher (and Bishop), a great evangelizer for whom Christ was central. In honor of Patrick I am praying that all of us, whether Irish or not, claim especially the commission that is ours by baptism, namely the commission to proclaim the Good News with our lives. Wearing Green is fun on this day, the parades and celebrations are fun but St Patrick was a serious guy too because his mission was a serious one in a world that needed it. That is no less true for us and if we cannot or do not proclaim the Gospel with our lives, then why proclaim it at all?

In my parish we hear good preaching --- and we hear or see the gospel proclaimed powerfully in many different ways. I think that's why our parties (though especially St Patrick's Dinner) are really fun. We are a Catholic faith community of diverse members held together with bonds of love; we are family, united in Christ --- and today at least --- by fifty shades of green! Our commission is to make sure that what goes on in St P's definitely does NOT stay in St P's so that others may also know the JOY we share which is rooted in the Gospel of God in Christ!