Wednesday, February 13, 2013

End of the Ordinary

Today Pope Benedict XVI ended the ordinary time with the announcement of his resignation.  The time between Christmas and Lent was short this year, yet, many events of an extraordinary nature occured. 

Among the extraordinary events at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta were three funerals.  For a small mission parish this is very unusual.  Each of these funerals represents various aspects of ministry and all demonstrate the grace of God working through our small church.

Loretta suffered from mental illness her entire life, yet loved her children and her husband very much.  After her husband passed away in the fall, the mission team assisted Loretta with rides to Mass, to the grocery store and to the doctors.  She was very lonely without her husband and I believe she died of a lonely heart.  Her funeral was a simple and beautiful celebration of her life with her children coming from around the world (literally) to honor her.

Three weeks later, Loretta's sister, Virginia passed away.  Now Virginia called the church frequently from the moment we opened the mission here.  For various reasons there were unresolved issues among her children and many of them are no longer practicing the faith.  Yet, Virginia had a very strong faith centered on devotions.  She suffered from cancer over the last few months of her life, but was delighted to return to the sacraments.  The last time I gave her communion she smiled, said a private prayer and was at peace.   Both of these woman would not have received the blessed sacrament as frequently without the new mission church being here, if at all.  Also, Br. Craig, Godfrey, and Fr. Aaron gave them a great deal of moral and spiritual support.  The entire community of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta found small ways to support them through prayer, visits and calls.

There funerals were also a witness of the Catholic Faith to the boarder community.  There were workers at the local food store who thanked us for helping Loretta shop for groceries and even gave the church a memorial gift in her name.

Because of snow, only few boy scouts made it for Scout Sunday.
The third funeral was Mr. Bob Freeh, one of my daily Mass goers.  His death effected the whole community more since they were very active from the very beginning of our foundation here.  The first major event I did once here was to celebrate his fiftith wedding anniversary.  Yet, the faith of him, his wife and adult daughter were evident with the peace and grace they accepted his cancer and its consequences.  Though he is missed by everyone at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, he was a wonderful witness of the power of prayer and the belief in the resurrection of Jesus and eternal life.  Now every Tuesday when we have adoration,  we will remember him as the new monstrance was purchased in his memory.

These deaths and encounters with the families, have been extraordinary events in this ordinary time.  So too, was last Sunday's reflection on marriage. Many couples stayed to reflect on their relationship and for some it is the first step towards receiving the sacrament of marriage.

Marriage Reflection Retreat
Sharing Scripture together
So as we thank Pope Benedict XVI for his eight years of extraordinary service, we end this ordinary time and launch into Lent with our Ash Wednesday services.

1 comment:

  1. Fr. Steve your community continues to be a reminder of faith and hope. With the passing of your parishioners their spirit remains in the goodness they brought continues with those that are there.
    With the short time I spent there last year with VBS, I am in awe of the people and their journey in faith. But more so with all that are serving each of them. Fr. many blessings to all and as we enter Lent, special prayers for the 9 individuals who are going thru RCIA at this time and their entering the Church. Take care too Fr.