Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Settling In

After enjoying the last few weeks of no school and just about no work I am ready to get back into the trenches.
JP will be heading to school for the first time tomorrow. I started my new job today. I go back to school next week.

This weekend will be my last as a music director. I will still play for funerals, weddings, and one Mass a weekend, but my new title will be Coordinator of Youth Ministry and Child Protection. Like most ecclesial titles, it says very little about my actual duties.

I am looking forward to nurturing these young people and getting started in my new parish. Still, I must say that I don't know if the readings for next weekend should be a comfort or a sign of impending doom.

Jeremiah 20 is one of favorite scripture passages of all time because it describes vocation. It's never as easy as you thought it would be. It makes you want to pull your hair out. But you do it anyway because it is such a part of you that you can't imagine life any other way.

Still, I have a feeling I may be very much like Jeremiah (someone preaching a message which opposes the status quo).

Severl months ago someone asked me what I planned to do when I graduated and I said I would go wherever God sent me. I just didn't want to do anything with religious ed or youth ministry. God defiantely has a sense of humor.

In that regard I quote from the 2nd reading next weekend.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this agebut be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Rom 12:1-2.

So, I go out into service to where I am called, not where I planned or chose to be.

My first day went very well and I think I will enjoy this very much. Yes, it will be a challenge, but the opportunity to help form young people in the faith is a essential task.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

This Shouldn't Have to Happen!

I am heartbroken! Another church in my city has been torn down. Our Lady of Health was a parish where I worked on a semi-regular basis. The small church was beautiful in a simple sort of way. It had a polished wood ceiling, many niches which held statues, and a beautiful marble sanctuary. The church was renovated only a few years before the closure was announced.

Even more than the physical beauty of the building was the spiritual beauty. It was where countless people celebrated baptisms, weddings, and worshipped on a regular basis. In 1924, when the church was built, for the community of Portuguese immigrants, the church was the center of their lives. Sadly, most of their children and grandchildren do not have the fervor of their ancestors.

Despite that, there were still many faithful members of Our Lady of Health, but the parish was finding it increasingly difficult to cover expenses. In addition, with falling the numbers of clergy (especially Portuguese speaking clergy, it was difficult to staff the parish with a full time priest.

The Herald News has an article about the demolition here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Boston to China To Australia

In the past I have mentioned on this blog that one of my cousins is a priest of the Neocatechumenal Way who had served in China, Macao, and Hong Kong for many years before returning to Massachusetts.

This week, he was chosen to write about his trip to World Youth Day with 50 young people to on Cardinal Sean O'Malley's blog. They took a roundabout path to Australia via China! Fr. Tony's anecdotes about the Chinese Church are fascinating as are the photos.

While in there, the pilgrims met with several bishops, including the ever cheerful Cardinal Zen, and learned their vocation stories; visited historic churches and pilgrimage sites; as well as engaged in street evangelization.

You can read about it here.