A week ago last Thursday, our Christian Mothers Confraternity held their final meeting of the current year with the annual wine and cheese social following. They had asked me to install the new officers (usually done in the Fall, but since I will not be here at that time, they wanted to get me to do the honors). We have had a tremendous crew of officers for these last years and the group has been revitalized and energized and given a new spirit that I am confident the new officers will pick up on and continue. They support the parish in so many ways and provide two $500.00 scholarships to graduating seniors who submit their applications to help them in their future endeavors. These were awarded yesterday at our Mass honoring our Graduates of 2017. Also at the meeting, the ladies brought out a cake with candles to help celebrate my 70th birthday which is tomorrow. Fortunately they only used two candles - a "7" and a "0". That was the first time that I saw those numbers used to describe my fleeting youth. It was scary.
The next evening, Friday the 19th, Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School that serves our area held a "Casino Night" dinner and fundraiser at a local event facility, Antonelli's. A large crowd gathered for an evening of good food, fellowship, entertainment and prizes. All of the pastors were there, and I was humbled to be singled out by my brother, Father John Moineau, in his introduction and welcome and acknowledged for my support of Catholic School Education over the many years of my assignments. Preparing to say farewell is an interesting experience.
Saturday evening after the 4:00 pm Mass we recognized our volunteers that worked so tirelessly at our Lenten Fish Dinners. We had invited them to a dinner catered in our church hall, and assured them that we would not serve fish. There was no agenda or speeches, but simply a relaxing evening of food and fellowship. All went away satisfied and hopefully eager for next Lent and our continued tradition.
On Sunday, after the 11:00 Mass and two baptisms that followed, the Norwin Area Community Resource Center which serves the needs of our senior community members, hosted a Reception and Fine Arts Sale on my behalf. I have over thirty framed, signed, numbered prints (Civil war, florals, landscape, pastoral scenes) that I need to sale in my downsizing efforts. The Center was very gracious in organizing and hosting the afternoon event. The weather was bad, the crowd small, and the sales minimal, but it was a great afternoon. We were even visited by Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln who graced us with her presence and her accounts of her husband, the late President, and her recollections of the War between the States. This good lady stayed in character the entire afternoon. She was good.
Monday evening saw the eighth grade graduation of Queen of Angels School with a Mass at our place followed by a reception in our church hall. We had twenty-four graduates who were outstanding on so many levels. Well over two hundred people attended, and we had seven area priests concelebrate. Recognitions were made and awards were distributed as the youngsters celebrated their past and looked to the future. I had the honor of being the celebrant for the Mass.