One of the great things about being Catholic is that we have great festivals – Holy Days, and simple holidays. We know how to celebrate, because we know what to celebrate: Jesus Christ the Only Son of God; and everything we have in common with Him, that is, everything truly human, except sin. So we have a lot to celebrate!
Easter is behind us and Christmas far away. Corpus Christi is in late June this year, and Assumption always in the doldrums of August. Graduation will cause no little joy, and some good parties to boot. But we have something bigger than graduation here!
Our year is marked with the milestones of these intersections of our lives with the life of the Savior. Our birthdays: He had one, too. Our marriages: He brought very good wine. Our friends: He rejoiced with His, too.
I have discerned that we at Saint Bernadette have a special gift for celebration. I think that is a special grace from God. Remember, in the book of Revelation we learn that Heaven itself is described as resembling a wedding feast – a really big party, for a really good reason.
Fr. Nick has been here at Saint Bernadette for five years, living in our rectory while pursuing the doctoral degree his bishop assigned him to get. During that time, he has thrown himself into the life of the parish, and it has been great for us. He has been a huge help to our life and growth in Christ, and has given every one of us a great gift.
His new assignment is to be Dean of the seminary in his home diocese on Long Island, New York. We all new he was working toward an important job like this, and we all knew he would have to leave to do it. So it is with both sadness and satisfaction that we notice that that time, and that goal, have been reached.
Before he drives north, though, we have to have a celebration. So I invite all of you to set aside the weekend of June 10 – 12 on your calendars to join in FatherNickFest.
Fr. Nick has many names, like I have many hats. One of them is Father Golf – everyone knows that’s one of his passions. So the Holy Name guys are pulling together a golf outing with him on Friday 10 June.
Then, that Friday evening out on our field, there will be one of those difficult-to-categorize events that we do so well here. There will be fun for everyone in the family, games for the kids, food for families who want to make it dinner, and then it will morph into one of those summer evening specials that make visitors wish they were in our parish.
Sunday, June 12th, Pentecost Sunday, father Nick will celebrate the 11 o’clock Mass as his valedictory here. There will be a reception in the Monsignor Stricker Room between the nine and eleven o’clock Masses, and then after the eleven.
Don’t worry about Father Nick’s other nickname – Father Food. Saturday night is traditionally our night to dine together in priestly fellowship, and we will manage to come up with something good that Saturday. Trust me.
So write it on your calendars and get ready to celebrate. We have a lot of gratitude and a lot of joy, and we know how to use it. See you there!