Monday, April 18, 2011

Then and Now: Faith, Love, and Our Vocations

Going to the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral this evening was an interesting blend of the past and the present coming together. As those who know about my husband’s reversion/conversion story likely recall that it was during Holy Week our second year as a couple that he was named “the patron saint of boyfriends” by the priest for Hollins Catholic Campus Ministry at the time, Fr. Remi Sojka. Ever since Kevin came with me in spring 2000 for the Easter Triduum plus, as he referred to it, the Catholic faith in which he was raised began to make more sense in his head and in his heart. It was after that amazing weekend that he began going to Mass and participating in the sacraments on his own when he returned back to Rochester, NY.

Susan Grettler, the campus minister Hollins University shared with Roanoke College when I was an undergrad, came to town for the Chrism Mass with other members from St. Gerard’s, the parish where she now works and where I went to Mass the year I was working on my Masters. She recognized Kevin when he was walking around looking for a new friend who was hoping to sit with us. Susan had first met him my Freshmen year while I was still in the throes of discernment, and before he’d had his Triduum transformation.
Seeing so many people we know and love that have been involved in our faith journeys was quite wonderful for both of us. I saw one of the sisters from Little Sisters of the Poor, where I volunteered in high school and where my grandmother currently lives. It was actually during a return visit to see the residents at Little Sisters my Freshmen year of college that I felt God might be calling me to the religious life.
Kevin and I saw many priests and deacons we know as well as several of the friends we’ve made through Cursillo, some of whom are now in the diaconate program, others with whom we serve at our parish, and a handful of people we’ve met who work at the Pastoral Center with my mom.
Monsignor Thomas Shreve, the current Vicar General and the priest who presided when Kevin and I got married on September 4, 2004, introduced the priests who were receiving the blessed sacramental oils for their local cluster of parishes. They had the parishioners of the parishes stand as they were called. There were a number of parishes in Richmond and many in Roanoke where I’ve attended Mass a number of times. It was definitely an affirmation of Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo’s message that the priests are called to “prepare and unite” the faithful to have so many people from all over the diocese in attendance as the priests renewed their vows and the sacramental oils to be used through the next year in each church throughout the Richmond Diocese were blessed.
This was my husband’s first time going to a Chrism Mass, another neat first for a week that towards the beginning of our relationship held many firsts for Kevin as he made his way back into the faith. We sat with our favorite brother in Christ and an amazing prayer warrior who’s become a good friend.
Lord, thank you for the many men and women, those who are consecrated religious and the laity, who have been such wonderful vessels for Your love, wisdom, peace, healing, and joy for Kevin and me over the past twelve years. Help all of us be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that we may discern and live out the vocations to which You call us to bring others closer to You. Amen.
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