A few interesting things happened in my life in the last week. I thought that I would share them with you.
In a true spirit of ECUMENISM, last Monday morning after school had convened, a small gas leak was found at a meter outside of the school building at Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School, our local school. For safety sake the school was evacuated and the gas company called. Our emergency evacuation procedures has our students going to the nearest large building, which happens to be the Presbyterian Church in Irwin. We were graciously received and accommodated until the situation, which was not critically dangerous, was taken care of. We are most grateful to the parish family at the Presbyterian Church for their hospitality. I joked that despite the Catholic kids spending the morning at the Presbyterian Church, there were no conversions - either way ... just great ecumenism.
On Tuesday evening I attended a workshop explaining to pastors and catechetical leaders the new guidelines and procedures for Sacramental Preparation in the Greensburg Diocese for baptism, reconciliation, first eucharist and confirmation. Not much new, just a few tweaks. We are very good in this diocese at setting policies, with the challenge being the practical implementation in the parishes.
Thursday evening I attended a Lenten evening of Recollection at our Diocesan Retreat Center, the Bishop Connare Center, which was to be presented by Chorbishop John Faris of the Eparchy of Saint Maron in Brooklyn, New York. Chorbishop Faris is a pastor in Utica, New York and is originally from my home town of Uniontown where he still has family. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to attend. But nature intervened, and although the prayer time and talk continued, it was without the Chorbishop. He started out on Wednesday and got stuck in the blizzard that hit upstate New York, spending the evening at a motel which had lost power and heat. The best laid plans sometimes go out the window, or are buried in the snow.
In his place Father Larry Kulick, our Vicar General, led evening prayer, and a pinch hitting speaker, Dr. James Paharik, a local educator, author, and Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, spoke to us of the holy places of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. The evening was geared toward the knights and ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in our diocese, but was open to others. Jim, whom I had the honor of receiving into the Church years ago through the RCIA while at the Church of Saint Paul in Greensburg, did a great job of pinch hitting. His wife, Helene, is the Associate General Secretary in the Pittsburgh Diocese, and they are longtime friends.
Chorbishop Faris (a Chorbishop is similar to an auxiliary bishop except that they cannot ordain to the major orders of Diaconate or Priesthood - I had to look it up) is a Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order since 2013. He was ordained a priest in 1976. He and his family are great people and well known in the Uniontown area. It was a great evening despite his absence.
On Friday the parish held its third Lenten Fish Dinner of Lent (every Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 pm). We do an outstanding business, with a varied menu, great value for your bucks, delicious food, and some of the hardest working volunteers that you can find (I am slightly prejudiced). We do very little advertising and have a great "repeat" attendance and an excellent reputation. My job is to sit at the order table and great everyone (practice for my job at WalMart after retirement?).
And lastly, my sister Janie and I went to dinner last evening following Mass at a local restaurant in Crabtree, PA call Rizzo's Malabar Inn. They have an excellent reputation and tremendous food. They also serve the best homemade gelato. Each year surrounding the Feast of Saint Joseph they celebrate the Fiesta de San Giuseppe honoring, in great Sicilian tradition, Saint Joseph. They place a large statue of the saint in a place of honor surrounded by breads and pastries for the occasion and many memento's. They also serve a traditional menu for the feast in addition to the regular delicious fare. What a way to end the week.