The past few weekends have kept me busy. Church life usually brings a schedule of good busy-ness!
How I might comment on it (in this blog) is to say that I have many “Winning Weekends.” Great things happen on my weekends.
I am talking about what weekend life is for one in ministry. All Glory to the Lord for it, too. (Not to me.)
This weekend for Palm Sunday I had two of the morning Masses, and they were rich with all the prayers and songs and involvement of the start of Holy Week. The First Eucharistic Prayer and the incense over the gifts and the two Gospels (opening one of the procession to Jerusalem, and the drama narrative) did give the Mass a solemnity befitting Our Lord Jesus’ week of Passion. It was evident that the Spirit of the Lord was especially present in the church, and that many people had come in seriousness and devotion to pray on this special Sunday.
During the morn, I had many quick visits with people, and then I visited with the RCIA class for an hour, and then I had to prepare for our afternoon of prayer, and then we started it at 2 and went to 4:15p.m. A large number of people showed up for it. I was the presider. We had a Litany to Mary, a Rosary, a time of anointing of the sick (it was spontaneous, with many persons asking for it), Eucharistic Adoration, and a good time of devotion. We made a Consecration to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, too.
(The guest priests prayed the 11:30 and the 4:30 Palm Sunday Masses, and the Vigil. I was glad this year that I was not as hard-pressed as other years, when, since 2008, I had been always doing all but one of the Palm Sunday Masses. We have two retired priests who come to help off-and-on and a Franciscan priest assisting me now in 2014. This has helped me a lot, since we had five Masses for Palm Sunday 2014.)
Then, a little later on for Palm Sunday, the Youth Group came to my house from 6 to 9 p.m. to see “The Passion of the Christ” film.
On Saturday afternoon (Apr. 19) leading in to the liturgies, I had some church errands for me to do (buying the palm trees and bringing them to church) along with doing two baptisms and attending the family reception(s). In the early evening, I assisted with the prep of the church for Mass, and made myself available as the second priest to hear 4 to 5 p.m. confessions (as I expected a lot of persons to come, though it was only about 12 people, and the guest priest heard all of them).
On Saturday night, I had a hospital visit to make for an hour of the evening. I also was able to fit in a dinner with a parish couple.
It was a rewarding and full weekend. Do you see what I mean, about a “Winning Weekend?”
Below is one of the couples for baptism with their sweet baby daughter, and the cake with her likeness on it (sweet too).
Yet many weekends are Winning Weekends. The parish Masses make them splendid ones, as well as the
other activities that take place with parishioners.
On the weekend beforehand of April 5-6, I prayed two of the four parish Masses, and I heard the Saturday vigil confessions. I got to teaching the RCIA class on Sunday morn, as well as stop in for the Donut Sunday, socials of the first weekend of the month. I had some appointments with people on the weekend, and I gave my Sunday afternoon to the P.G. Stadium ballpark to support the Vocations Day at the BaySox game and its ‘double-header’ feature of the DC Padres (priests and sems) vs. a Catholic High School team. The Padres won that one. I got to throw out the first pitch at that game. (A high inside strike!)
Demonstrating the famous Barry drop-fastball.
The weekend before that one (of March 29-30) included going all Saturday to the Youth Group retreat down at Camp Maria (off the Potomac in St. Mary’s County), and then taking a parish pilgrimage most of Sunday to the same county and a parish dinner down there. In-between, I had prayed two Sunday Masses at tSt. Edward parish and led our “Joy of the Gospel” book club (Sunday) session.
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It has been a busy time and I try to be engaged in a lot of parish ends, from the elderly to the youth and in-between. At our Catholic school and in our Rel. Ed. last week, we have held confessions for many of the youth and children. Plus, we had a Penance Service for all of the parish last Monday. We recently have held a Parish Liturgy Committee meeting to prepare for this Holy Week, and we have had a Parish Council meeting. This week is my Eucharistic visits (Masses and Communion calls) to all the homes and institutions of the elderly and home-bound. We also have all the liturgies of the Holy Triduum coming this week, and all their prep times each morning.
I keep in a good pace. I think, though, that the work of one priest in a parish is more suited to the man in his 30’s and 40’s. (I turned 57 last week.) I have been praying for vocations to come join the priestly fraternity of Washington and to bring help and new energy. My past parish (where I visited for the Spring Dinner on that pilgrimage) has asked the pastor (a younger man) to now lead his AND the neighboring parish for his duties, as the time of parish twinning has come to our diocese, with three couplets now going, and more coming ahead.
As a Lenten project in our parish, we did pray for all of the DC seminarians, for God to bless them in their preparations into a future priestly or diaconate life of service to the Church of Washington.
Tonight is the re-dedication prayers at St. Matthew’s Cathedral of the priests and bishops of this Archdiocese—as we gather for the Holy Oils Mass. My 25th time for a Holy Week and re-dedication. It was at St. Matthew’s Cathedral that I was ordained.