HE IS RISEN! HE IS TRULY RISEN! On this Octave day of Easter, I thank God for a truly blessed Lent, Holy Week, Triduum and Easter Sunday. I was once again overwhelmed not only by the size of the crowds at all the liturgies of the Triduum and Easter, but also be the devotion and piety of all present. I also want to thank so many people who helped make things so special this year.
First, thanks to the ushers, headed by Patrick O’Brien, who did such a fine job of keeping things flowing and organized; to Nena Brennan (sacristan) and her family who spent so many hours preparing things behind the scenes; to Julie Mullen and Rosario Méndez and their many assistants who decorated the sanctuary so beautifully with flowers; to the Brenda Doroski and Barbara Aldridge who organized the lectors and extraordinary ministers; to Bob and Bev Ward and Mike Malachowski for their work with the RCIA; to all the groups who ran the Soup Suppers; and to the parish staff who worked so hard all throughout Lent and Holy Week.
I want to recognize the amazing work of our choir and cantors, and especially our Music Director, Elisabeth Turco and Organist, Denise Anezin. All during Lent they all put in so many hours of extra practice, which bore special fruit in the beautiful music of Sundays, the Triduum and Easter. I thank God every week He has given us a music program that excels at truly serving and complimenting the liturgy. There is no better in the diocese—I can’t thank you enough. (New choir members are always welcome!)
I also want to especially compliment and thank the altar servers, led this year by Mr. Jacob McCrumb as MC. I was deeply edified to see all the boys and young men that volunteered during the Triduum and Easter Day. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me praising their reverence, devotion and diligence, and telling me how much it added to their prayerful experience of the liturgies. I was very proud of them all, and I sincerely believe that that their devout service of Jesus will contribute greatly to helping them to become good, strong Catholic men—most of them as good and holy husbands and fathers, and a few of them as good and holy priests—as God wills.
Last but not least, thanks to Fr. Kenna for his dedication and hard work. And I know Fr. Kenna joins all of us in thanking Fr. Daly and other visiting priests for their assistance.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten to mention a lot of folks, so please forgive me. Thanks and God bless you all.
Confessional Redesign. After over 5 years of concern, consideration and prayer, and after much consultation, I have decided to change the physical layout of our 4 confessionals.
As you know, the confessionals are currently constructed as 2 rooms. Both the priest and penitents enter by a door from the church into the front room, and there is a door inside the confessional into a second/back room where the priest sits. If the penitents want to be anonymous they stay in the front room and kneel/sit to confess behind the screen, but if they want to confess face to face they enter the second/back room and sit in front of the priest.
The problem, as I see it, is that this causes some unnecessary safety issues for everyone concerned. The first arises due the fact that when penitents confess face to face (in the back room) there is no physical boundary between them and the priest, which creates an unnecessary opportunity for inappropriate or confusing conduct. The second arises in that if a person with malicious intention should enter the confessional the priest is essentially cornered in the back room, with no barrier and no exit. (Please note, I am not reacting to any specific incident that has occurred—there have been none).
So, for safety’s sake, I’ve decided to redesign the confessionals to close the back room of the confessionals (they will become much needed storage closets), and convert the front room into two rooms with two doors into the church, one for the priest and one for the penitent. Between them will be a half wall with a large grill (with gaps of 3-4 inches) with a curtain that can be pulled back for face to face confessions. The penitents’ side will be large enough to allow a person to kneel or sit, and to accommodate those with physical disabilities. We will also add much more sound proofing to the walls and doors.
We will start work on the two confessionals near the Groveland entrance on Monday April 11, and when those are complete we will work on the other two (by the cry room). Much of the labor will occur in the evening when the church is closed, but in any case it should not interfere with our confession or liturgical schedules, and only cause minor inconveniences for those visiting the church to pray. Please pray that all goes well and as planned, and thank you for your patience during the construction.
The total cost is just under $30,000 and was unanimously approved by our parish finance council (and the Bishop). If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me.
Mother Angelica, RIP. On Easter Sunday, March 27, Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, died at the age of 92 in her monastery near Birmingham, AL. “Mother Angelica” was most well known as the founder of the international Eternal Word Television Network and for her television presence thereon. She started EWTN from a garage in Birmingham in 1981, but today it is the foremost Catholic media presence in the world, broadcasting faithful Catholic programing to more than 264 million homes in 144 countries worldwide. By the grace of God, Mother was the driving force behind EWTN’s success and host of some its most popular programing until a stroke sidelined her to rest and prayer in her monastery in 2001. She also founded a cloistered religious community of Poor Clare nuns (Franciscans), as well as an order of religious men, which are both flourishing today. Despite living as a cloistered nun, she was known for her bold, frank, outspoken and steadfast devotion to Jesus Christ, and Holy Mother Church. She was adamant and indefatigable in defending orthodox Catholic teaching, and was responsible for the conversion or reversion of thousands and thousands to the Catholic faith. Through all this she was deeply loved and admired for her joyfulness sweetness, kindness and humility. She was a singularly amazing daughter of our heavenly Father, and servant of Our Savior. I am confident she will one day be named a canonized saint, but in the meantime, out of love and respect for her, we keep her soul in our prayers. And we also pray for the continued success of EWTN and her two religious orders. And we thank God for this great gift to the Church, especially in America.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles