Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Mass and first Public Mass

View from the top of Clinch Mountain
Br. Craig and I arrived late on Friday, August 12, 2011.  We spent the weekend sleeping on air mattresses and shared weekend Masses at St. Albert the Great, Knoxville, which is most likely the closest Catholic Parish.  On Monday, August 15, the feast of the Assumption of our Mother Mary, we celebrated the first Mass in our house.  As far as we know, this was the first Mass ever celebrated in Union County, TN.  This is a very overwhelming feeling.  How many U.S. missioners are able to bring the sacrifice of the Mass, the power of Jesus in the body and blood of Christ, to a new area?  It certainly was an historic and spiritual day for us.

Then we drove to Mississippi and began collecting furniture.  First was hand made oak bookcases, tables and end tables.  Thank you so very much, Fr. Vince.  You served our country as a military chaplain and now are serving the folks in Mission Land, U.S.A.  Further furniture was collected from the Glenmary Residence in Nashville, TN.  So we now have a house with furniture.  It is a small step but important to feel like we are here to stay.

Since then we have been busy meeting neighbors and local business leaders.  It is amazing that in the most ordinary actions, we are sharing the love of Christ.  Br. Craig went to buy a fuse at the hardware store and spent fifteen minutes with the clerk talking about Catholicism and today at the laundry mart, I spent a good twenty minutes sharing with the local caretaker about faith and her faith in particular. 

Monday, August 22, on the Queenship of Mary, we had a small public Mass here at the house once again.  We invited three families that have done a great deal to welcome us here and have been praying for years for a Catholic Church in Union County and North Grainger.  After the homily I asked to pray during this Mass if the Lord was calling them to be founders of a new Catholic Church in Union and North Grainger Counties.  After Communion every one present, included a second grader, agreed and were anointed with holy oil from the Holy Land to be disciples of Jesus on mission here in Union and Grainger Counties.  This is just fantastic to have such dedication so early in this adventure.  There truly is good soil in this rocky ground.

This Thursday, will be the next big step.  We will hold our first gathering of known Catholics to discuss the beginning of this endeavor.  If anyone reads this, pause now, and offer a prayer for these efforts.

Saturday evening will be the first time I celebrate Mass in Grainger at the once a month Spanish Mass.  The good folks and priests of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Morristown have been doing this.  We are so grateful to build on their generous service.

As the seeds of faith are planted in this rocky earth, come on back and discover how God's power will be transforming the life here in Union and Grainger Counties of Tennessee.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for starting the blog and sharing your experiences. Will continue to pray for you and the people in Union and Grainger