As we finish the Octave of Easter and continue with the Season of Easter (until Pentecost on June 12) I would like to once again wish all of you a Happy and Blessed Easter, filled with the spiritual joy and grace of the Lord’s Resurrection.
Thanks to so many. I have to say how pleased I was with the attendance at the Masses and Ceremonies of the Sacred Triduum. Both Holy Thursday evening’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Good Friday afternoon’s Celebration of the Lord’s Passion were filled to standing room only. I was especially delighted to see a full house on Friday, since this was the first time the parish had celebrated this rite in the afternoon. It just goes to show the great faith and devotion of our parishioners.
At the end of the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening I attempted to thank some of the folks who had helped to make Lent a great time of holiness for the parish and specifically to make the ceremonies of the Triduum so beautiful. I usually don’t do that since I inevitably forget some important contributor—which is exactly what happened on Saturday. So let me try again. First let me thank my brother priests, Fr. Pilon and Fr. Peter, and also Fr. Daly, for the hard work they put in with all the extra Masses and confessions, and for their excellent homilies. I want to thank Fr. Pilon in particular for his outstanding series on the Theology of Mass that was so well attended and received. So many parishioners have told me what a difference his talks made in making this a particularly prayerful Lent.
Let me also thank the choir who worked so very hard and “performed” magnificently— better than I could have ever hoped. Thanks to Elisabeth Turco for her hard work bringing them and all the music together. I also need to thank the altar servers and their leaders, Buz Buczacki and Mark Arbeen, who also acted as Masters of Ceremonies during the Triduum: their devout and careful efforts added so much to the solemnity of the rituals. Also thanks to the ushers, especially Paul DeRosa, who always have their hands full during Lent and the Triduum—I don’t know how they do it all. And I mustn’t forget to thank the lectors and the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, for their dedicated service.
Also, a word about our RCIA folks. A total of 10 persons were baptized, received into the Church, confirmed and/or given first Holy Communion at the Vigil. It’s hard for me to remember a more fired up group of neophytes in the 20+ years I’ve been working with RCIA. Congratulations to them—and let’s all keep them in our prayers. And I’m sure they join me in thanking Bob and Bev Ward for their dedication in teaching them so thoroughly, faithfully and zealously the Catholic faith week after week for the last 8 months.
Also, I can’t forget the Youth Group for their beautiful presentation of the Living Stations of the Cross on Palm Sunday evening. Thanks to all the kids, parents and Jill and Matt Wheeler who worked so hard and did such a wonderful job of bringing our Lord’s Passion to life for us.
Penultimately, several people have noted with disappointment the scarcity of Easter lilies in church this week. Well, I’m afraid I’m to blame: although I love lilies and think their perfect for Easter, I am also terribly allergic to them! So I’m sorry—but there isn’t much I can do about it. However, thanks to the resourcefulness of Carmelita Gamallo and all those volunteers who helped her decorate the sanctuary and church with flowers, and to florist/parishioner Dorothy Bryant, the church was positively radiant with floral splendor.
Finally, thanks to the parish staff for their hard work, but especially for being patient with me as the weeks of Lent rolled on and the Triduum approached. And thanks a thousand times all the important people I forgot to mention. God bless you all.
Angelus Academy Open House. In last week’s column I mentioned that Angelus Academy will be moving to a new location much closer to our parish, as they plan to purchase their own free-standing building at 7644 Dynatech Court in Springfield, near Rolling Road and Fullerton Road. Today (Sunday, May 1) they will be holding an open house at the new building from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm especially for St. Raymond parishioners. Please join me in supporting Angelus, as faculty, staff and friends show off their new digs for us.
Father Peter. As I mentioned in last week’s column, Fr. Peter Odhiambo will be leaving the parish on May 9th after nearly 2 years. Having finished his course work at the John Paul II Institute he will be moving out to St. John’s in Warrenton with Fr. Gould where he will be working to complete his dissertation. Fr. Peter will be celebrating his last Sunday Mass here at 12:15 on May 8th. All are invited to join in a Ice Cream Social immediately after that Mass to thank Fr Peter for his service and send him on his way with our best wishes.
Priest Shortage. Fr. Peter’s departure will leave us with only 2 priests in the parish, Fr. Pilon and myself. I have asked Bishop Loverde to assign another parochial vicar to assist us, please pray for that. But in the meantime we are working out details for another priest to be in residence for the summer, and for still another priest to live in residence during the coming school year. However, for most of May we will be feeling the effects of the priest shortage in the Church. This should serve as a reminder that we all must pray for priestly vocations, especially from our own families. Please be patient with me and Fr. Pilon as we try to serve you as best we can. The schedule will remain the same as usual, except that on Sundays May 15, 22, and 29 the Sacrament of Penance will only be offered before the 10:30am Mass. Please bear with us in the event of an unplanned, last- minute cancellation of a Mass or confession time.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles