It has been said that variety is the spice of life. Well, get ready to spice up your life, people! Summer is over and there is a whole range of newness and difference here Soubirous Central.
First, I would like to invite you to welcome our newest priest in residence, Fr. Greg Markey, from Connecticut – the Diocese of Bridgeport. Fr. Markey is beginning his studies in Philosophy at Catholic University, much as Fr. McDonell did while he was here. How fitting then that he live in the same rooms!
Fr. Markey attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, making him somewhat familiar with the Washington area, and he knows a number of priests here. But he and I had never met before August, nor ever even heard of one another. As we have become acquainted over recent weeks, it has become clear that we have many friends in common, so it is a happy fruit of providence that he should come and live here. He has been a priest almost as long as I have, and a pastor as well. Shifting gears to get going academically will be his first challenge. He also has made it clear that he is eager to celebrate Mass with and for you, the people of the parish. That is what puts spring in our step, for us parish priest types.
Usually this week is when I announce and introduce our new seminarian from the Mount. However, much to my surprise, I learned that due the smaller-than-usual size of this year’s deacon class, we will not be assigned a deacon this year. I know you have enjoyed helping a promising pre-priest along the path to homiletic and pastoral proficiency for the past eight years in a row, and you are good at it. But maybe it is not a bad time to take a year off; if only to sharpen your skills for the fellow we get next year.
Not that you lack for new homilists in your life. Father Gallaugher moved in just two months ago, and while he is no rookie priest, he is new to the mix here, so that makes two out of three of your possible celebrants who are walking through the Scriptures for the first time in your hearing. That is a tremendous relief to me, who have been through the three-year Sunday lectionary cycle four times with you! I do worry about sounding like a broken record.
Speaking of repetition, I cannot repeat it too often that the end of summer and the beginning of the school year is the perfect and necessary time for the Sacrament of Penance. My summer vacation is already a distant memory, and most of the all-too-short season of summer is already beginning to fade, perhaps due to too much exposure to bright sunlight. I assume the same is true for you. So before you forget, get those sins of omission and commission out there where Jesus can DO something with them. Make a good confession and be done with it, ready to start the fall with a clear conscience, fresh notebooks, and maybe even new school or office shoes.
It’s off to the races here at Four Corners. Sunday starts a ten-day countdown to Mass with Pope Francis just a few miles from our parish home. Now that’s something that doesn’t happen every Sunday, even in our cosmopolitan Archdiocese!
With all of the new faces and voices here, if variety is indeed the spice of life, then beneath its calm, orderly exterior, Saint Bernadette is one spicy place! This is the place for you if you are one of those people about whom it has also been said, that some like it hot.