Giving Thanks

11-19-2017Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

I have been thinking about the three days in our Parish last weekend and what went on. Are you aware that over 6000, yes - six thousand (!), people were at our church and attended various Masses and Services? That was an extraordinary weekend for our Parish. Are you aware that over two hundred - yes, well over 200 (!) volunteers were involved in all these events? In our Parish we had daily Masses, Funeral Mass, 3 Masses with Confirmation and 6 Sunday Masses and Baptisms.

Our Pastoral/Ministerial, Faith Formation and also Support Staffs were also mobilized and involved in all these holy events. Although the planning and work for many of these events had been taking place for weeks and days beforehand, there was a burst of 15 to 18 hour days to get all these necessary holy events to take place. We should not forget the many, many Catechists (Rel. Ed. Teachers) and volunteers who have given hundreds of hours of service to help form these young people over the years in the ways of our faith. We should also not forget that our Church and its holy sanctuary have to be cared for with the maintenance of vacuuming, dusting and tidying up benches from papers and what not's after each Mass or Ceremony. Sanctuary furniture of solid oak must be shifted and moved; appropriate floral decorations must be placed. Sacred clothes, vessels and vestments must be cleaned and prepared. Sometimes we forget about our Ushers, our Greeters and Servers and also our Leaders of Song who also give of their time. How blessed we are to have so many Lectors to proclaim God's Holy Word and Eucharistic Ministers to share the Body of Christ with us.

Many folks who attended our extraordinarily beautiful and richly spiritual Confirmation Masses commented on how artistic and well maintained our Church is. They were struck by the beauty of our upstairs church. Some did mention all the stairs and wonder where a bathroom was!! (Thank you to those who have pledged or given to our Capital Campaign.) More importantly, so many spoke of the absolutely inspiring music at our Masses. Indeed, Terry Kerr is a gifted and talented Music Director. Our Leaders of Song directed us with exquisite voices. Bishop Robert Reed, the Bishop for the Confirmation Masses, said that our Confirmations were "cathedral quality." This is a very high compliment. Everyone who was at these events discovered that we have very spiritual and graced Masses and services and also that we support and care for our church, so that it is a beautiful dwelling place of our God. The Aristotelian Principle that Beauty is a reflection God is at work in our lives here at SaintMary's.

The Season of Thanksgiving is upon us and I want to say "thank you" to one and all who helped in so many important and not often recognized ways to make our Church Masses and Services profoundly spiritual events. Thank you for your faithful service not only for last weekend, but also for all the other days and weeks that our Parish needs you to help make our Church life a place of faith and grace. I also say "thank you" for the many parishioners who share from their financial means to help make our Parish Church and its sanctuary one of the best homes in the Parish. I have always believed the House of God should one of the very best Houses of the Parish and Town. I am most grateful that so many Parishioners agree with me and offer their financial support. To one and all who give of the hearts and hands, "Thank you."