Monday, January 23, 2012

"Signs" of growth

The first to arrive for the First Spanish Mass in Maynardville
There are still signs of growth happening here in Eastern Tennessee.  Sunday, January 15, 2012 we offered the first Sunday Mass in Spanish in the history of Union County, TN.  Four families were present.  This Sunday we added one more family.  Thus, we are now a full service Church offering the Mass in both English and Spanish in both parishes.

I had been slow to begin the Spanish Mass at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Union County since I knew there were just a few families.  Yet, they have been asking for Mass in Spanish since the Posadas in December.  So I felt the Holy Spirit was moving.  After all, I offer Mass in English at Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission in Rutledge for an average of twenty people, should I not do the same in Maynardville,TN for Spanish speakers?  Obviously, the answer is yes!!!
The Front of Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission
The growth is not only happening in Maynardville.  This last week we finally put up the signs for the Mission in Rutledge, TN.  This Sunday we had 80 folks at Spanish Mass and we only have 75 chairs.  What a beautiful feeling knowing that people are responding to the opportunity to pray and worship Jesus Christ.  We are still trying to get the building in shape, but the wall behind the Altar is now finished and the tabernacle went up on Thursday.  This is significant. For the first time in the history of Grainger County, the Real Presence of Christ now has a home!!  This will be a blessing for everyone living in Grainger County even if they do not believe as we believe.
Blessed John Paul II with Tabernacle

There are other things emerging.  Among these is the dream of establishing the Glenmary volunteer program in these missions.  Already groups are signing up to travel here during the summer.  Joe Grosek went out one day with Br. Joe and another day with me to explore possible sites.  These volunteers will become part of God's plan here in Grainger and Union County to help witness to the Kingdom of God.  Yes there are signs of growth in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee.
Br. Joe Steen and Mr. Joe Grosek

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