Much as I had hoped, last Sunday was marvelous. Simply Sunday, no feast, no season, just green-old Ordinary Time, it was a delight. And from my seat on the bus it seemed to me that I was not the only one who was relaxed and happy. Everyone had a little more time, a little more energy, and a little less pressure. That’s what I was getting from you, anyway.
I really do see a lot of you when I am celebrating Mass, and preaching. I see your faces and your expressions, and of course whether you are singing. I love seeing your reactions – subtle or otherwise – as I am preaching. I get a lot of “feedback” right there, on the spot. And last weekend, I was getting how happy people were to be there, at Mass, together, with nothing pressing on the calendar.
There was a streak of sadness, though, too, in the midst of and because of how good it was to be together. After the first morning Mass, a longtime parishioner who weeks before had let me know that he and his wife would be moving to a new state for their retirement, told me that this was their last weekend with us. Dang.
At the nine o’clock, I saw a young couple come in whom I knew were here for their last time, too. After a few years with us during graduate school, they were setting off to the wild Midwest to begin their career. Sigh.
I saw a few others around I knew were getting ready to leave, too: a military family transferring in July, and a choir member leaving that month for school. Fie.
Just because I am the one up front with the microphone does not means that I am what makes Saint Bernadette, Saint Bernadette. Or the priests, or the staff, or even the Tuesday Club! That is why I so enjoy seeing you, and just being with you – because you make up the love of my life.
So, it is sad when someone moves on, even for the best of reasons. The Eucharist brings us together, no matter how great the distance (or the time) between us. But really, it is more fun when everyone is actually here.
So, if you are moving on to another place in your life, please stop to let me know, and say goodbye. I probably know you better – and am more fond of you – than you realize. I would hate to wonder whatever happened to you! And when I am at the altar and think of you, and miss you – I will pray for you.
What cheered me up after all those goodbyes last weekend was the Religious Ed year-end picnic. Hot enough to melt a Chinet plate, it was authentic summer weather, but everyone seemed to be having a great time together. And the hot dogs were just what I needed after a long Sunday morning. I hope everyone has a terrific vacation for at least a few weeks this summer.
Just as long as you come back. God bless you with safe travels!