You get used to the summer. Most of it, I liked. The phones rang about one fifth as often; the doorbell, about a third. Evening meetings were a once-a-week thing. I got some reading done, and even watched some DVDs I had hoped to catch.
Other things, though I may not prefer them, I also got used to. Weekend Masses are emptier and quieter. But you get used to the summer.
Labor Day weekend I thought, wow, look at all the people here – I guess nobody went to the beach after the hurricane. But last weekend I was astonished. The crowds were amazing – the nine and the eleven seemed big as Christmas, with my summer-expectations still going. Five o’clock and seven-thirty were big too. It was great to see everybody. I hope you thought so too. Welcome back, everyone!
My mother’s family used to spend the whole summer at their lake house when she was a kid; I thought that was a thing of the past, since we got maybe two weeks. I am amazed at how many people here go away for all, or most, of the summer. What a privilege and gift to be able to do that.
Also, I couldn’t help but notice all the new faces. I could not keep up with them, much less the names. Welcome, welcome to you as well. Please remind me once or twice so I can learn your names, and if I missed you this time, please catch me some time soon.
I hope all you who have grown to love being part of Saint Bernadette will join me in greeting and welcoming our newcomers. You are one of the best things they will find about being here!
Not only that, but was it not great to have the choirs back? Richard and the cantor(s) of the day do an excellent job of keeping us singing even throughout the summer, but nothing can beat that rich, strong joy of the choir leading us and sustaining us in the power-prayer that is song. Thank goodness you are back, and thank you for your service!
Last week also marked the beginning of religious education, and what a crowd that drew as well. Our new Director of Religious Education, Richard Budd, had everything in place and a great crew of catechists ready to greet all the families and students. If that is how well things go his first time out of the gate, I cannot wait to see what happens when he really comes up to speed.
Now that we are all back to work and ready to get serious, this weekend marks the beginning of our preparation for another big upgrade in our life and worship here at Saint Bernadette, and around the world, in fact. Everywhere that Mass is celebrated in the English language, a new translation of the texts and prayers will be introduced. Everything we do will be just as you are accustomed, but some of the lines you say, and a lot of the lines we priests say, will be improved and enriched by changing some wording.
Change is hard. We will be talking about this lot over the coming weeks in anticipation of implementation on 27 November – First Advent, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. You can get used to anything, like we get used to summer. But when the time comes to step up and make it better, you will always be glad you did.