January 4th marks the date of the death of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1821 in Emmittsburg, Maryland. Raised to the altar as a Saint of the Church in 1975, she serves as the patron of our parish family. We celebrated that recognition at our liturgy this evening at 4:00 pm with our choir joining with our various musicians and a church full of faithful to celebrate another great feast, that of the Epiphany of Our Lord. Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, born in New York in 1774, was an educated woman of prominent family who was many things: wife, mother, widow, educator, convert to Catholicism, foundress of a Religious Congregation of women and the first native born saint from the United States. We are honored to bear her name as a parish and to have a relationship through three Sisters who live within the parish with the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg.
This weekend the Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the magi, the wise men, the three kings. They represent all of those who search for the truth, who look for the meaning of life, whose life is a quest for the divine. They came from the East and recognized in the helpless child a king for the nations. They were satisfied in seeing and in believing that a light had dawned. It was truly an epiphany, a revelation. But the greatest revelation that this feast represents is our awareness that God's love is inclusive and calls all people to share in the divine life. The only restrictions and limitations come from us - from our sinfulness and hardness of heart. On God's part - all are welcome.
Today also marks the date of my installation as pastor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish by Bishop Lawrence Brandt in 2008. In these five years I have been truly blessed with the shepherding of these good people and the love and concern that they have for me. The installation took place of the Feast of the Epiphany which fell on the feast of Mother Seton. A year later on the Epiphany I caught the edge of the step in the sanctuary and took a very public and less than graceful tumble on the way back from the tabernacle. The next year I lost my balance and fell in the garage between Masses. Needless to say, I am being extra careful this weekend!
So this date, its feasts and my history intertwine beautifully into a tapestry of memories. As always, God is good.