Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Moving forward

BTC YOUTH with Godfrey's T-shirt Gift
January 26 and January 27 at each of the four weekend Masses appreciation was shown to Godfrey Musabe, one of Glenmary's novices, for his five months of service here in Union and Grainger County.

Godfrey and Steve enjoying cake.
During his time here, he has been a fantastic presence and great help.  He will be deeply missed.  Among the many things he was engaged in, his work at Kingswood and Adult Day Care introduced our missionary presence into new areas.  Kingswood is a home for children from challenging home environments.  A positive male role model was a terrific asset.  I am hoping to find a way for us to stay connected with them in the near future.  At the Adult Day Care Center, through they are only a few Seniors present, but providing one on one time with them, listening to stories, sharing small joys made a huge difference.
JP II Youth being silly with Godfrey

Yet, one Godfrey's great gifts is a silent background worker.  He did many small jobs from being our sacristan, to filling in for any liturgical minister who was absent, to putting up letters on our outdoor announcement board.  He visited the sick, homebound and just ordinary families.  He was very present to our youth and filled in to teach a number of times.
Godfrey enjoy more food at JP II

Godfrey's final thank you's
During his thank you to the people, he highlighted how much the devotional life of the Spanish speaking people touched him.  I was very proud that he read the second reading at botj Spanish Masses in Spanish.  That was a great gift to them.  Of course his pronunciation was not perfect, but that he made the effort and practiced was an affirmation of them and a sign of love and respect.
More happy folks

Now he is moving forward with his Novitiate.  He will head back to Cincinnati under the direction of Fr. Dan Dorsey and Fr. Tom Kirkendoll.  His classmate Ambrose will join him.  These next four months or so, will focus on intense prayer, learning more about the evangelical promises ... celibacy, obedience and poverty ---, and the final discernment around his personal call by the Lord to be a priest with the Glenmary Home Missioners.  We here at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed John Paul II will be praying for him. 

Who knows, maybe in ten years, Godfrey will return as the new pastor of these two missions.  That would be a blessing!
Cake designed by Spanish BTC community

Three times the love
BTC English Cake

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Showing of God

The weekend of the Epiphany, the showing of Christ to the world, opened into the complexities of leading a faith community.

JPII Nativity Play -- Godfrey is one of the Kings
We began Epiphany on January 5th at Blessed John Paul II Catholic Mission.  Our Parish Christmas party was scheduled to follow Mass which included our Nativity Play.  This also happened to be the same date as Fr. Aaron's birthday.  At about 2 o'clock I hear the director of the play cancelled the play for lack of practice.  Yet, the younger children, our shepherds, had never missed a practice and would have been greatly disappointed.  So .... we had the play anyway.   Actually it turned out pretty good and everyone was happy.   I am now known by one four year old as the "candy man" since I gave them all treats at the party.
Happy Birthday Fr. Aaron

Fr. Aaron's birthday was the draw for our teenagers, especially, the group of young ladies who are preparing to join the church.  They made a red velvet cake and it was terrific!!!!  God showed Himself in the love and generosity of the children, teenagers, and adults of both language groups.  The evening was a true showing of Christ to the world.

The next Sunday at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta took a different turn.  We cancelled both the 9 a.m. English Mass and the 11:00 a.m. Spanish Mass to hold a bilingual Sunday Mass at 10:00 a.m.  At about 9 a.m. I receive a call that one of our parishioners suffering from stage 4 cancer was on his way to the intensive care unit.  Then a few minutes later Br. Craig comes to announce that the person he was to pick up for Mass was dead.  Br. Craig and Fr. Aaron waited at the house with the body of Loretta until the Sheriff office arrived.  These two sadness's are going on while everyone is gathering looking forward to the bilingual Mass and Brunch to follow.  As the Pastor one needs to control your emotions and even be a bit of an actor.  It is important to deal with the reality of these sufferings and to deal with the reality of the joy and celebration the children and folks are expecting.  All is part of the cycle of life.  God gave me the strength and the grace to be present to each need that day.

BTC Nativity Play
With the grace of God, the Mass was celebrated, the Nativity play happened and brunch was served (even through we had to make a dash to Food City for enough chicken.).

That afternoon Br. Craig drove to the hospital to inform Virginia about her sister's death.  Virginia was unable to attend the funeral since she is in the hospital with cancer as well. The  complexities of life are always near, but Christ shows himself in the simplicity of His innocent presence.

I thought to myself, what would have happened here a year ago without the Catholic Church?  Would these people not have received the pastoral care that Jesus and the church desires for them?  Glenmary does make a difference.

Reflect and Pray
So last week's ministry included the funeral for Miss Loretta whose two children both live out of state.  I hope they found a sense of peace through the Mass and the sharing of stories.  We also continue to visit three members of our parish who are all suffering with serious cancer.

In the midst of children's joy or the grief of children burying their mother or loved ones finding the strength to support those who are ill, Christ is shown to the world.  His love, his mercy and his presence are evident in every event.

Please pray for our folks suffering from cancer and their families.  Pray that their faith will support them, that healing may occur and that God's grace will show once again.