Friday, October 21, 2011

Table Fellowship

Inside Miller's Chapel UMC
This was a week of table fellowship in both the spiritual and physical sense.

Sunday evening I had the pleasure to share with the members of the East Tennessee Catholic Foundation of Knoxville, TN.  These fine folks participate in the foundations mission of supporting the seminarians and establishing new churches within the diocese.  It was an honer to share our early beginnings here in Union and Grainger County, TN.  Also, it was inspiring listening tothe vocation stories of two of the seminarians studying for this dioceses.

Getting ready for Mass
Then Monday night Miller's Chapel United Methodist Church held a spaghetti welcome dinner for us Catholics .  Unfortunately, I did not get pictures of this enjoyable event.  Yet, it was a very relaxed atmosphere, lots of good pasta, and great company.  Of course, Br. Craig demonstrated his Iowa roots by baking an oatmeal cake and bringing red jello with bananas and marshmallows.

Planning meeting in Grainger County
Tuesday we had a delightful and hopeful meeting with some of the Catholics in Grainger County. 

Joy of almost having a place for worship in Grainger County

Here we discussed the option of renting one of two buildings for worship.  We have agreed on one and are waiting for the reception of the contact.  Keep praying; we are almost there.  This evening was finished with more food:  Filipino Egg Rolls!!!

Then Wednesday I was invited to have lunch with Bishop Richard Stika.  Joining us was the vicar general, the chancellor, and the newest resident, Cardinal Justin Rigali.  It might seem a bit of surprise, but this is the first time in 22 years as a priest that I sat at table with a Cardinal of the church.  In the past I just watched the red cardinals out my parents window.  It was a very pleasant lunch leading me to feel a strong welcome into this diocese.  Also, some donations were made to our budding mission.  That is a desert that lasts.  (By the way, the food was fantastic)!!

So in the midst of all these meals, we are busy preparing for the Lord's supper in our own building.  The construction is moving along very rapidly.  We will hold daily Mass starting Monday in our office and November 1, 2011, the feast of all Saints day we will hold worship in the newly designed building that will host Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Mission in Union county and neighboring areas.  By the way, the food theme continues.  I meet today a previous renter of our worship space where he sold "HOT DOGS!"

Cleaning chairs for the church in Maynardville, TN
We are getting so close to having the physical space for worship in both counties.  I can almost taste the next stage of development where we begin to witness to all God's children in Union and Grainger Counties.  The Lord is truly blessing us each and every day.

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