Spring in a Catholic parish is often a whirlwind. It seems to be a universal thing. Actually, I think I will take that back. From Advent and Christmas through spring is often a whirlwind in a parish. Well…..come to think of it we are always in the midst of a whirlwind! Those who volunteer and work in a parish know and understand what I am talking about. Sometimes it is hard to get the calendar set or to make sure this or that meeting or session goes off without a hitch. The life of a parish, while a whirlwind most of the time, is an awesome and an amazing ride!
The Catholic Church, warts and all, is a living organism. We all make up the Body of Christ in one way or another. Each part of the Body has its part or mission to play. I am thankful for all those at St. Mary who help me make it all work out. It can sometimes be very demanding. As our Lord said: “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.” By the time you read this column we will have passed from Lent and Holy Week with Holy Thursday and Good Friday, through the Easter Vigil and the Easter Sunday Masses, through First Holy Communion for our young children, and on May 14 (in two days) we will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for our high schoolers.
It is easy to read that – that Confirmation is on May 14 – and to think nothing more of it. In our fractured, factionalized, partisan, confused, and tormented times it is easy to think if it doesn’t personally affect me why should I bother? It is true that we cannot be at everything. We cannot make every event in the life of the Church. Even I have to say no at times. I think in making our decision to attend or not attend a Church event we must ask if our pendulum has swung too far in one direction. I have met some who use their attendance and participation in the Church as a way to stay away from a spouse or their family. That is a grave extreme. Another extreme is to only be the Sunday and Holy Day type. How has the pendulum swung in your life of faith?
Perhaps you might join us this Tuesday, May 14 at 7:00 pm as many of our youth receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Perhaps it is a time for you to ask the Holy Spirit to renew the grace of your own Confirmation. The Sacrament of Confirmation is a very misunderstood Sacrament. For years many have preached it more as a ‘coming of age Sacrament.’ Others have taken it to be a sort of ‘graduation from Church Sacrament.’ Still others could care less what it is and they only see it as a hoop to jump through to make their parents happy. The Sacrament of Confirmation is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the believer. The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. This Holy Spirit – this love – is divine and alive. It is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, and God shares that with us in our Confirmation. Surely this is a remedy for our times when the pendulum has swung too far! -Fr. W.