Fifteenth Sunday of the Year – Pastor’s Reflection (July 10, 2016)
This past weekend brought me a quiet joy that I had not known in a year. I was able, comfortably, to be present at the end of each Mass to greet the people. From my decade of residence in our parish in Cincinnati I observed this to be a fruitful practice, and when I came to St. Vincent’s in 2010, I was happy to embrace it as a discipline that truly grows the Community of the Parish. On Sunday my various journeys between St. Catherine’s and St. Vincent’s netted me three miles of walking, which comes as a welcome side effect.
Our Mass schedule gets the credit for facilitating a higher level of pastoral presence, but the Community of the Parish made implementing this new routine the most gracious of transitions. The Friars, Sisters, staff, and parishioners contributed invaluable insights to this unified structure of our Masses and Confessions. Innumerable parishioners changed their patterns of volunteering to make it work. Finally, many Mass goers accepted, with great patience and generosity, a shift in decades old rhythms of life. I would like to extend to all of you my deepest gratitude.
A community’s patterns of gathering manifest its spiritual life and give expression to its organic unity. To change such things asks a great deal of the group. I know this from my own membership in a religious community. That knowledge helps me realize how generously I have been treated by so many in recent weeks. Again, thank you.
The new schedule also allowed James Wetzel to begin directing the music in both churches. When we reassemble after Labor Day, I will ask James to introduce himself to the parish. In the meantime, I trust that the skill he brings to his work of playing and directing will become evident very quickly. Let me add that in making our new plan of worship a reality, collaborating with him has proven to be a real pleasure. James now faces a daunting task as we prepare for a new choir season in altered circumstances. I hope you will encourage him should you have the chance.
To James we owe fine singing of Michael Maliakel, who has come aboard as our principal cantor. Our expanded emphasis upon the sung “propers” of the Mass showcases his skill at joining clarity to beauty in the rendering of a text. I hope that Michael’s gifts will lift your spirit and nourish your prayer.
With the Liturgy and schedule taking shape it will be time now to look toward other aspects of completing our merger. Updates will follow through the summer.