Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reuniting with "old" friends

     This past weekend was a time of feeling good as I reunited with long time friends in a variety of circumstances.  I would like to share some of those moments.

     The main event took place on Sunday afternoon when I joined with the Felician Sister of Pittsburgh to celebrate the Fiftieth Jubilee of four of their Sisters: Sisters Mary Christopher Moore, Mary Naomi Suba, Mary Charlene Ozanick and Mary Thaddeus Markelewicz.  Sister Charlene is on our staff at the parish, and most of us were able to join the Sisters for Mass and a great dinner provided for Community, family and friends.  The Sisters' Motherhouse is in Coraopolis, outside of Pittsburgh.  There were ten priests and two deacons who joined with Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh in celebrating the Jubilee Mass in the beautiful, traditional chapel at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent.  Bishop Zubik was taught by the Felician Sisters in his formative years and the personal touches that he brought to the celebration were warm and beautiful.  He spoke of how the impression that the large cross that the Sisters wore on their habits, more than anything else, impressed and inspired him.  He thanked the Sisters for carrying the joys and burdens of ministry for the combined 200 years of ministry.

     I realized when I arrived that one of the Jubilarians, Sister Naomi Suba, was a vocation from my home parish of Saint Joseph in Uniontown, the only Felician Sister to enter from the parish.  Most went to the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, who taught in the school.  Sister Naomi's sister went to school with my sister, Janie, and one of her cousins was in grade school with me (he was there with his wife).  This cousin, Ed Piwowar, and his family were also parishioners of mine in Scottdale.  It was good to see everyone again.

     Some of the music for the Mass also brought back warm memories: after the renewal of vows, we sang the beautiful "Holy is His Name", the Magnificat, by John Michael Talbot (Talbot is a great troubadour, and his music is so uplifting) and as a recessional hymn we sang "Be Exulted" by Brent Chambers, which I remember from my Charismatic days as a hymn that you can truly belt out in joy.  These, too, brought back memories of wonderful days past.

     Also, at Saturday evening Mass we were visited by our former director of music, Rob Lynch, who left us two years ago to work on his Masters Degree in Sacred Music at Emory University.  Rob completed his degree and will be moving to Kentucky, but was home to visit his family and friends.  It was great seeing him again.

     In addition, one of our families in the parish, who had moved to Ohio because of work, had their situation change and have returned home this past weekend.  The wife and mom, Julie Henry, worked for the parish for a number of years ... and after moving to Akron, worked at Saint Hilary Parish in that city.  Her entire family is musically inclined, and we look forward to having them return to the choirs.  Just having them back in the area brought great warm feelings.

     And lastly, on Sunday night on our PBS station I was reunited with other old friends: a Peter, Paul & Mary special aired, and all of the old folk songs and great memories of days gone by were brought home to me.  There was a group of us that would try to attend a Peter, Paul and Mary Concert yearly in the seminary days - I remember a concert in Cincinnati and a number of them at the Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh.  I sat there Sunday evening, sang along, and felt very good. It was a great way to cap off the day.

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