Grateful for blessings of Memorial Day weekend - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Grateful for blessings of Memorial Day weekend

The peace and quiet of the Memorial Day holiday provided a welcome bridge as a busy month of May gave way to a no less active June.

 

I am grateful for the reminder and opportunity that holiday provided to pray for the women and men who have given their lives in service of their country. It was good to do so, and to fold into that prayer a remembrance of those who deeply and lastingly mourn their loss.

In addition to that time of prayer, I enjoyed three blessings on the weekend for which I am grateful.

The first was the privilege of presiding and preaching at the Sunday liturgy celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ordination of Father Adam Ogorzaly, the pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish, Rochester.

Those who are familiar with the life and style of St. Stanislaus are well aware that this community really knows how to celebrate. Their typical warmth and hospitality were especially evident on this occasion, a sign I believe of the deep affection in which they hold their pastor.

Adam and the St. Stanislaus community hosted our Sacred Heart household for several months during the renovation of our parish house. I had known Adam before that, of course, but I delighted in his company during that stay. I learned more about his delightful spirit, his love for gardening and the quiet generosity of his ministry.

The occasion made me more aware not only of the richness of Adam’s ministry but also of the contribution made to our local church by all of our jubilarians who will be celebrating at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 22.

The second blessing was a party hosted by Father John Mulligan at his family cottage. John kindly invited 10 of us to bask in the beauty of the place, to savor wonderful food and drink, and to enjoy the company of longtime friends.

As you might imagine, the company told many stories. Most of them were funny, some of them true. All were delightful because they were reminders of how friendships are born, how they develop, and how they sustain the spirit and nourish the energy of those who share them.

It was a truly and deeply restorative experience to be in that place and among that company.

Mother Nature enhanced John’s gracious hospitality by providing weather conditions that ranged from the warm sun and gentle breezes of the afternoon to a spectacular blast of rain and high winds that hit the area just after we went inside for the evening meal.

Woven throughout the events of the weekend was the third blessing — a visit by Father Tom Powers, one of my oldest and dearest friends. Tom and I were classmates in the seminary, were ordained in the same class and — with Bishop Howard Hubbard — have vacationed together for most of the years of our adult lives.

Tom had not come here for some years so it was a pleasure to welcome him again, to enjoy his company and to remember the blessings of the years together.

Remembering and writing about Adam, John, Tom and the assembly of friends at the Memorial Day party is itself one more blessing. They remind me of how God works in others to help us to grow and mature, and to realize that as long as we can draw a breath, there is something new to discover about life.

Peace to all.

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