As I mentioned a few posts ago, the first part of last week was taken up with our annual Priests Convocation. One remaining picture from that gathering is the one of the clergy of the Diocese of Greensburg taken after our Tuesday Mass at Saints Simon and Jude Church. There were a few of the men who were absent because of health, including the pastor of the host parish in Blairsville, Father Chester Raimer, who was in the hospital. There were also a few of the guys who could not join us for the Mass. But this is the group, along with Bishop Brandt. Yours truly is at the end in the third row on the right in the picture.
On Thursday of last week I concelebrated and preached at the invitation of the deceased the funeral of a young lady from my former parish of Saint John the Baptist in Scottdale. Her name is Linda Koval, and she was just shy of reaching her forty-first birthday. She died of breast cancer complications. I remember before I was transferred four years ago that she and her Mom and Dad and sister would ask me before Mass to pray (for test results, for diagnosis, for strength and healing). She kept her struggle pretty much to herself and family, and co-workers and parishioners were even more surprised and grieved by her passing. I spoke in my homily of the qualities that allowed me and those who knew her to say that she was a truly good woman. I saw many heads bobbing in agreement. Her co-workers from the Westmoreland County fiscal accounts office formed an honor guard at the doors of the church that was extremely moving. I was honored to be asked to preach the funeral, and very grateful for the graciousness of Father George Saletrik, the pastor. May Linda rest in peace.
Later that day I was part of a budgetary discussion meeting with our Diocesan Offices (Schools, Finance and Vicar General) and our Queen of Angels Administration, School Advisory Council members, the five sending pastors, business managers and representatives of Finance Councils of the five sending parishes. It took place at the Diocesan Pastoral Center. It was very productive and allowed us to present concerns, have questions answered, and share the hard work that goes into the financial end of running a school.
That evening I celebrated Mass for the reception of new members to our Archconfraternity of Christian Mothers (our ladies group). Three new members joined the group, who in addition to the goal of spiritual growth continues to support the parish.
Friday following Mass my sister, Janie, along with Sammy the pup, and I drove to near Meadville to visit with our cousin and her husband. We had a great visit, and even Sammy got to visit with his "cousin", their pup, who is a year younger than Sammy. It made for a long but satisfying day, and helped bring Janie's vacation week to an end.
Saturday saw confessions and evening Mass and yesterday saw the two morning Masses and four baptisms following the 11:00 am Mass (two girls and two boys - Kelsey Ann, Audrey Elizabeth, Noah Michael and Zachary Paul). With four to be baptized, our crowd was large, and very enthusiastic. There was only one very surprising occurrence on my part ... there was only one who cried when I poured the water over their heads, and guess who? Noah! With a name like that you would think that he would be used to water!
The afternoon was taken up with a Fall Festival Event sponsored by Brush Creek Faith in Action, a local entity of United Way that provides a variety of services by volunteers to area residents. Presently the group services 148 recipients with 68 volunteers giving of their time and talent. The afternoon included a Basket Bingo, Car Cruise, DJ, a Veteran's Display, Flea Market and good food. Hopefully they did well financially, for those that gathered seemed to enjoy themselves. Well, that has been the last few days ... I hope that I did not bore you too badly. I also hope that life will get back to some notion of the routine and ordinary, but that rarely happens.