Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Healing Mass and Another Anointing with People and Places from My Past

One Saturday morning, Kevin went out riding his motorcycle fairly early.  I decided to go to the healing Mass at St. Mary Church at 10am.  Some years back, Kevin, John, and I had gone to a healing Mass there, and it had been a powerful experience for the three of us to share. 

I was delighted to see Monsignor Shreve, the priest who presided at our wedding and who has been a family friend for years.  I had no idea he would be there.  I’d asked him to pray for me back in December when I was having surgery, and I hadn’t seen him in person since all of that transpired.  As the Holy Spirit would have it, Monsignor Shreve was the one assigned to administer the Anointing of the Sick to those sitting in my section.  

The Mass was beautiful, and I was grateful for the opportunity to be anointed for the fourth time since September as I face some ongoing health challenges.  Only a handful of children were in attendance.  Mostly, those gathered were elderly.  Once each of the priests in attendance had anointed everyone else, I watched them anoint each other. 

It will probably always feel strange to be in that worship space after years of our family going to Mass there before the new church was built.  My memories seem a bit disjointed when there. The church isn't the same or the pastor, but, then again, neither am I.  I was surprised to see the priest concelebrating who had been the pastor there when I was in fifth and sixth grade at St. Mary School.  So much has happened since then in the parish, our Diocese, and certainly in our family.  

The suspended stained glass Crucifix that hung in the old church is now hanging in the Chapel. I'm glad they didn't get rid of it.  It's actually quite beautiful.  I like going there for daily Mass, sometimes.  Seeing the familiar faces of the Human Concerns Minister, Pastoral Associate, and Coordinator of Liturgical Ministry along with some of those pillars of the church among the congregation feels somewhat comforting.  

Fr. Michael Renninger presided at Mass and gave the homily.  He spoke about a short Irish woman named Irene who would always proclaim the dry bones coming to life reading from Ezekiel at the Easter Vigil each year.  She had a very convincing way of reading that particular passage that allowed people to feel what the prophet was experiencing.  I loved this personal story about a cherished parishioner.  Fr. Renninger is also a very good storyteller and speaker.  

That period of time in May was full of Sacraments.  I'd had the privilege of going to daily Mass a number of times.  I went to Reconciliation, received Anointing of the Sick, attended an ordination, and witnessed a number of First Communions.  

Lord, thank you for the gift of the Sacraments to bring us together and closer to You. Amen.
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