Friday, May 10, 2013

Remembering Irwin - part 2

     Before moving on to my other parishes, I thought of three other memorable things from my first assignment.

     We had a very vibrant Catholic School run by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.  Our teachers were excellent.  One that stands out in my memory was Ms Toni Mango, who taught either Kindergarten or First Grade.  Toni was inspiring, wonderful with the kids, deeply spiritual and extremely creative.  She taught her kids to pray, not just the formal prayers, but to really take time and talk with Jesus as a friend.  She showed them that Jesus promised to share his Spirit with them always, and so they prayed to the Holy Spirit with confidence and joy. Quiet prayer in class was not uncommon, and the kids reflected that spirituality.  Toni died a number of years ago and I was honored to preach at her funeral.

     During my time there, Msgr Marzhauser often led groups on pilgrimages or tours.  One such tour that he decided not to join in was one that I went on - an eight day "pilgrimage" of New England in the Fall.  We had two buses of people from Irwin and Jeannete, lead by a parishioner, Mary Shirley.  We travelled to New York City, Mystic, Connecticut, Boston, Portland, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and upper New York State before returning home.  it was fun.  While in NY City, we went on Saturday evening to Radio City Music Hall.  Following the show, the Italians from Jeannete invited me to join them at the famous Mama Leone's Restaurant.  We had no reservations.  All dressed up, they were told that they could not get in ... until they had a talk with someone important.  Suddenly we were escorted to a nice room and treated with great kindness.  I never did find out what got us in, but I was not complaining. 

     And lastly I remember celebrating a Mass where I was able to award the Kateri Tekakwitha Girl Scout award (today this is done by the bishop at the scout convocation).  It was a joy and an honor for me ... and of course, Kateri is now a Saint of the Church.  It is strange, the things that you remember.

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