CYCLES—Last week I wrote of the grand year’s liturgical cycle now complete. I got some pleased comments from that, and I repeat it below. I’ve also just finished a more personal cycle, and as it has to do with my priesthood and parish events, I’d like to describe it.
May 20, a couple of weeks ago, was the anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. I celebrate it every year by looking at pictures, talking with friends and family, and being amazed at how God has led me through the years. I of course couldn’t have envisioned all that would be entailed in this vocation; but I do know God has been faithful to me, I’ve met many marvelous people, and I’ve done my best to be faithful to the demands. I’ve personally grown in ways that I couldn’t have known. That anniversary day, too, I was called into a thorny issue in the school which took some time, but seemed appropriate as an exercise of the priesthood I was celebrating. A good echo of my ordination was concelebration the ordination of our Brother/Deacon Ben. A particular feeling was added because this was at St. Pius V Church on South Grand, where I grew up, and had my own First Mass.
The next day was Pentecost Sunday, and I preached about how the Spirit had led me through seeming failures in recent years to the appointment at St. Monica, a special phase and honor to my priesthood. Then began a week of schoolyear ending activities—hold on:
Monday I talked with the 8th Grade to get a sense of their character and personalities for the Graduation Mass. Tuesday morning this class had their awards given in the church, and a parade-type exit and farewell to the school. Wednesday morning was the Preschool “graduation”, complete with caps, in the gym; and Wednesday evening was the 8th Grade Graduation Mass I led and preached, telling the stories I learned on Monday, fol- lowed by a lovely evening reception with dinner and video slideshow. Thursday morning was Kindergarten graduation in the church. And finally Friday the 28th, at 11:00 A.M. I led the final Mass of the school year, parents and some grandparents in attendance, with dismissal after. I used again a battery-operated torch to express the “passing of the torch” in school leadership. I also had meetings the nights of that week including marriage prep and Parish Finance Committee.
I share all this because it’s been an intense experience of the observance of my priesthood that started with my anniversary and places me firmly here. And in fact the next day after all this, last Saturday, to cap it all off was the Ordination of six new men to the priesthood at the Cathedral. That is always a strong renewal of our priesthood to those who attend, and a good experience of many brother priests. It felt like a fitting end cap for this period to celebrate and exercise my priesthood in the parish and diocese.
With that cycle completed, my Memorial Day weekend began. I had 4 visits with friends and out-of-town family who came in, and preached the Trinity Sunday Masses on us as children of God. I also did a lot of yard work on the family property. And I’m edified by the Scouts’ work to put flags at the graves of veterans in our cemetery.
Below then is a reprise of my comments on the completion of the liturgical cycle, and entering “Ordinary Time.” The work of the parish goes on as usual this summer, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store during this “ordinary” time.
Now our major liturgical cycles are over for this year. We were born (again) with Christ, we suffered with him, died with him; we rose with him at Easter. We were taken into heaven with him at Ascension, and now gifted with the Spirit so that we, too, can live a new kind of life. Take some risks! Tell someone new about our faith—maybe one of your children you’re worried about. It’s never imposing on someone to tell them what God has done for you. So this week we entered back into “Ordinary Time”—of which there really is none, in God. After the final two special Sunday feasts, Trinity and Corpus Christi, we’ll go on hearing just a slice of the gospel each week to reflect on. Other churches, instead of Ordinary Time, call this extended season “Kingdomtide”, because Jesus unfolds a new view of living in God’s kingdom each week, while we’re still on earth.