Saturday, August 31, 2013

Front Page

If you are reading this on Saturday, it’s still August.  Otherwise, it is September now and, Labor Day festivities to the contrary notwithstanding, time to get serious.   Sigh; August is always the stickiest page of my calendar.  But here’s some news you can use:
First of all, the boys are back in town!  Father McCabe and Father McDonell returned in time to begin the fall semester at Catholic University, both of them rested and ready, though neither seems terribly tanned.  Yes, that IS Fr. McDonell – he just got his hair cut.  And grew a beard.  No, he is NOT a fugitive from law enforcement trying to disguise his identity.  Like most of us, you’ll know him when he opens his mouth.  We know our sheep, and our sheep know our voice.
Secondly, we have been assigned seminarian from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, who will join us about eighteen weekends between now and April.  Deacon Corey Krengiel is from the Diocese of Peoria (in Illinois) and will be preaching, teaching, and baptizing here among us as he grows in grace, and moves toward Ordination to the Holy Priesthood.  I went up to the Mount to meet him this week, and am confident you will enjoy having him with us.  One thing that particularly delighted me was to learn that one of the biggest influences in his vocation is a priest of Peoria named Fr. Antonio Dittmer, who is a seminary classmate and old friend of mine.  Have no fear, the next generation is here!  How exciting. 
You will hear more about Deacon Krengiel, in his own words, in this space sometime in the coming weeks.  Look for him at Mass next weekend!
Speaking of looking for people at Mass, I look forward to seeing folks next weekend when everyone returns from summer travels.  But in the meantime, you may notice something odd this weekend:  you won’t see me at Mass.  For the first time since mid-March – of 2012! – I will not be here during the weekend. 
It is rather a busman’s holiday, of course, since I will be saying Sunday Mass in a big parish much like this one, and celebrating a couple’s Golden Jubilee of marriage on Saturday.  But the parish is the one where grew up, and since the couple is my mom and dad, I think it won’t be too onerous.
Not returned from vacation yet is our organ console.  Much of the rewiring of the pipes has been done for weeks, but the console rebuilding has taken rather longer than planned.  The good news is that it will be rather more beautiful and versatile than was first planned.  Trust me; you’ll know when it is back.
But we will hardly be returning to the status quo ante.  Richard Fitzgerald, our music director of four years, has accepted an appointment as associate music director of the Basilica of the National Shrine.  It is a more prestigious job at a more prestigious place, and will give him more work to do, now that he has achieved his doctorate.  He and Msgr. Rossi, rector of the Basilica, are being very gracious in giving us time to make the transition, and helpful in finding the right person to take over our liturgical music program here.  They know it is one of the best, if not the best, parish music program in the metropolitan area, and we look to build on all that goodness, of which Richard has been such a vital part.
He will be with us for another month.  By then, fall will be in full swing and so will all the other good things that happen here.  For now, savor another burger and enjoy those sandals for a few more days.  Then all together, let’s turn the page.
Monsignor Smith

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