Liturgies, mission, picnic prove to be live-giving - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Liturgies, mission, picnic prove to be live-giving

In this latter part of August, I have enjoyed and been built up by a variety of experiences with the people of our diocese.

I start with a long-anticipated liturgy and picnic in Wolcott with the community of the Blessed Trinity which is formed from St. Jude Chapel, Fairhaven; St. Mary Magdalene, Wolcott and St. Thomas the Apostle, Red Creek.

People at the wonderful feast ranged in age from 2 to 95. They came ready to share their specialty dishes with one another and to enjoy the unbelievably succulent chicken prepared by a team of parishioners who are obviously well experienced at the barbecue pit.

It was a pleasure to talk to the people gathered there — the young people who are making plans for life after high school; the parents who take such delight in their families; the veteran parishioners who wanted to chat about how life has changed so much and how they welcome that change or who reminisced about the pastors they have had; the couple who recently retired and are enjoying their first summer in a cottage they had just purchased. The people there, whether new to the parish or not, conveyed a warm and easy sense of welcome to me and to one another.

I thank Father Joe McCaffrey for the invitation to preside and participate in the event, for his patience through scheduling delays, for the music and for his pastoral leadership.

The evening before the Wolcott event, we gathered at Sacred Heart Cathedral to celebrate the Rite of Candidacy and the formal installation as acolytes and lectors of 20 men who are preparing for the permanent diaconate.

We celebrated these simple but rich rites during Saturday’s 4 p.m. parish Mass. As always, it was a happy occasion. Our candidates for the diaconate, their spouses and other loved ones could enjoy the encouragement and consolation of another concrete step toward their goal. All of us who were with them for the occasion were able not only to pray for the candidates but also to reflect on God’s call in our own lives — how it began, how it’s going now, the shape and direction we would like it to take in the future.

Since last I wrote, our vibrant Latino community in Rochester celebrated their annual mission. I joined them for their closing eucharistic liturgy at the magnificent St. Michael Church on Clinton Avenue. Their emphasis this year was on evangelization. Brother Gilberto, the mission preacher, encouraged those who participated to remember and live their baptism call to share with others the good gifts they have received from a loving God. From all that I heard and observed, the people enjoyed the experience very much. I know that I did.

And, of course, delightful as always were the liturgy and picnic which marked the opening of another year of work and growth at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. There is always something exciting and life-giving in being among a community whose members are intellectually curious, who seek a deeper understanding of realities that are important to all of us, who have a common and generous desire to serve the well being of others.

We are richly blessed to have such a valuable resource as St. Bernard’s in our local church, to have a high-quality faculty, gifted students and generous benefactors to make that institution so productive and life-giving.

I’ll be starting my annual retreat on Friday, Aug. 21, and look forward, as I always do, to the opportunity to spend some days in prayer. Please be assured that you and your loved ones will be very much a part of my prayers during that time. I ask you please to pray that I will be open to God’s ways with me all through the experience.

Because of the retreat, I will not be doing an “Along The Way” next week.

Peace to all.

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