A few random observations:
Saying "Thank You" - This past Friday morning our Regional Catholic School, Queen of Angels, took the opportunity to say thank you to regular supporters of the school by way of an invitation to a prayer service followed by a light breakfast. There were a nice number of people able to join with the school family at 9:00 am in the auditorium for a brief time of prayer led by Father John Moineaux, the chair of the Board of Trust Administrators (the five sponsoring pastors) and joined by Msgr. Paul Fitzmaurice and myself. A group of the children were also involved in this expression of our gratitude through prayer and song. It was a great experience. Following the service a breakfast of rolls and juice was made available for all of the guests. It was also nice to see Mr. Trent Bocan, the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese in attendance as well, lending his support to our saying thanks. Not only is it important to give thanks, but it is extremely important to teach our youngsters the value of gratitude. I was proud of them.
This was my week to provide the Scripture Reflection for the Sunday readings for the Diocesan Website. Check it out at www.dioceseofgreensburg.org and scroll through the moving scroll until you come to the reflection. Then bookmark the website.
Healing and Affirmation - On Sunday afternoon we gathered in Church to celebrate our Fall Communal Anointing of the Sick. There were at least one hundred in attendance, and it was a very prayerful and beautiful time of placing our trust in the Lord's healing embrace.
Following the Anointing, nearly one hundred who responded to our invitation to share in a dinner for our senior members, joined us in our social hall and shared a great catered buffet meal. I began this custom about four years ago as a way of acknowledging our elders who have been and continue to be a powerhouse of support and prayer to the parish family. Even though the Steelers were playing that afternoon, they still came, stayed and enjoyed themselves. I am always pleased to host this dinner, and this year was no exception.
Saying Farewell - This is a week of funerals: Monday afternoon I journeyed to Saint Barbara in Harrison City to concelebrate the funeral of the father of a good friend of mine from the Greensburg days - Kathy Gonda. I saw a number of old friends from those days.
Today I journeyed to Saint Anne in Rostraver to concelebrate the funeral of the daughter-in-law of a parishioner from here who died at the young age of forty-nine after a short illness. It turns out that I taught Joyce at Saint Sebastian School when she was in about seventh grade during my time in Belle Vernon. She remembered that fact, and had reminded me of it a few years ago when we met. It is a small world.
On Thursday I will have the funeral Mass for Herb Henry, the husband of a parishioner, who, although not a Catholic (I was surprised) joined his wife at Mass nearly every Sunday and responded with prayer better than most. His family is very involved in the parish and the liturgy, especially through music, and they plan on being their for Pap. Sad as it will be, it will also be a joyful celebration.
In our local area we also had a municipal water authority problem with our drinking water and were under a boil water alert. This began on Friday and lasted until yesterday. It was more of a precaution, but it helped the bottled water business tremendously. At the weekend Masses we did not share the cups and the Precious Blood, because of the purification issue. I assured the people that this was the reason ... and not that we usually use tap water to turn into wine. A few people got it.
It has been a week of moving experiences of faith and interesting times, and I thank the Lord for blessing me in this way.