Events reveal elements of faith - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Events reveal elements of faith

I thought I might write this week about some celebrations that have been part of my calendar in recent days. They spoke to me about elements of our Christian life and community that are not often part of our daily experience, but always are important to us.

1. Our Hispanic community in the Rochester area celebrated Santa Misión 2004 at St. Francis Xavier during the week of Aug. 15. Angel and Maria Ruiz-Rivera preached the outdoor Misión this year, much to the delight of those who participated.

This couple, the parents of three daughters and two sons, are members of Los Hermanos Cheo, an apostolic group based in Puerto Rico that does a great deal of misi√≥n work. Their rich life experience and evident spirituality were clearly attractive to the families who enriched this year’s misi√≥n by their presence.

The misión was a reminder to me that our diocese is formed by people from a wide variety of cultures who bring with them traditions, devotions and habits of piety that enrich our common life.

Being at the misi√≥n reminded me in a beautiful way of our synodal commitment to honor the rich diversity with which we are blessed. Rather than divide us, such diversity should always remind us of the depth and richness of the Lord’s presence among us.

2. Our Dominican Sisters in Elmira celebrated the 60th anniversary of their foundation in that community on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. The precise formation date was Aug. 16, 1944, but the sisters quite understandably chose the Sunday feast for their celebration.

It was a pleasure to be with them and their many friends who gathered to celebrate the occasion with them. We had a beautiful liturgy followed by a festive luncheon at which visitors had a chance to congratulate the sisters and thank them for their presence in the community. No less did the sisters take the opportunity to recognize the generosity and kindness of the people who have been so good to them over the years.

The event with our Dominican sisters was, for all of us, I think, a reminder that in and through our baptism we are called to holiness and to be people of prayer. It was interesting to me that, in several conversations on that occasion, people told me that while they continually counted on the prayers of the sisters, their own life of prayer deepened through this association with the Dominicans.

I know that the experience of Aug. 15 spurred me to reflect on my own prayer life and on ways in which I might respond more generously to my baptismal call.

3. Anytime you choose to visit Camp Stella Maris, please be sure that you prepare yourself for a high-energy experience. You will have one, I assure you, and you will be quite excited by what you find there.

I joined the Stella Maris community for lunch and liturgy toward the end of the camping season and thoroughly enjoyed the day. The community very kindly noted my 25th anniversary. There were welcome signs, songs and face painting, all highlighting the 25-year theme.

Once again, I was deeply impressed by the liturgy we celebrated. It was reverent and prayerful. It was also filled with exuberant joy and enthusiasm. Clearly, those who work with the young ones understand that our liturgy is the work of the entire community, and they prepared the kids beautifully for the celebrations.

We older folks can draw much from our young friends. I don’t mean that we can or should worship just like them, but I do think we can learn much from the lively and enriching sense of community they have when they come together for prayer. They have a real sense of public prayer and of how that prayer enriches the life of the community.

I thank all at the misión, the Dominican Monastery and Camp Stella Maris for being such gracious summer reminders of some deeply important elements of our faith tradition.

Peace to all.

Tags: Bishop Matthew H. Clark
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