There is much to report from these past few weeks.
On Tuesday of last week, May 2nd, Sammy, the faithful companion for the last eleven years of my sister, Janie, reached a point of deteriorating health where we had to put him to sleep. Sammy was a cute little puppy that has brought much joy to Janie and myself, and to so many over these years. Our vet was very gentle and understanding, which made the experience bearable, but the loss is deeply felt by Janie in particular. We had almost five weeks since he was diagnosed with a stomach growth and cancer. This gave us time to prepare and to cherish these precious moments, but it is never easy. We had his remains cremated, and received them just yesterday from our good friends and funeral director, Frank and Rhenee Kapr of Scottdale.
Friday the 5th of May marked Janie's birthday (I won't tell you which one) as well as my forty-fourth anniversary of ordination. After Mass we went out to breakfast and then relaxed for the day. I have three ordination classmates from our diocese, all still in active ministry - Monsignors Paul Fitzmaurice and Roger Statnick and Father Peter Peretti. Father Pete's Mom, Mary, died just yesterday morning. Keep her and Father Pete and their family in your prayers. Roger and I will be retiring at the end of June.
On Saturday morning we had the second of our parish First Communion celebrations. The week before we celebrated with sixteen, and last Saturday we had nine. I always enjoy these gatherings as I gather the children around me at the altar and share the Lord with them for the first time.
On Saturday afternoon at our four o'clock Mass we welcomed Bishop Edward Malesic of our diocese for his first pastoral visit, one long in the planning. The church was full, our new Generations Choir (made up of those seven through seventy-seven) led the singing, the Lord was greatly praised by our worship, and the Bishop was warm, gracious, generous in his time, and truly delightful. We are very blessed in having him as our shepherd. Following Mass was a reception, and then I took the Bishop, Father Tyler Bandura, his MC, our Deacon Jeff Cieslewicz and his wife, Roseann, and my sister, Janie out to dinner. A delightful evening.
Sunday afternoon we had our sixth annual Blessing of Bikes at the parish. Our bikers came to show off their rides, to share in fellowship and food, to listen to a Gospel group called "Good News Blues", and to receive a blessing before we sent them on their way. The turnout was a little smaller this year (it was breezy and chilly) but those who attending are the most gracious of people. Some look a bit tough, but all are kind and grateful. One of the local tv stations from Pittsburgh (WPXI, Channel 11) sent a photographer and they had a nice piece on the evening newscast, interviewing Diana Mikash who planned the event and myself.
Other things have happened, but these are a few of the highlights of this past week. The month of May is jammed pact with activities, and then comes the wind down of June