Saturday, April 05, 2014

Windows of the Soul

It's been in the eyes of our eighth graders for at least six weeks now.  It's becoming harder and harder to ignore in any high school or college seniors we know.  I can't say I've seen it in the kindergartners, but I know it's there in all fourth-year seminarians:  short-timer syndrome.
Tall and winsome as he is, Deacon Corey Krengiel is "so short he could dangle his feet off a dime," as my active-duty military coworkers would have said it back in the day.  An assignment here he began last September right after Labor Day is already completed.  He has a few more weeks of classes, a good-sized vacation at Easter, and a few exams.  Then he will give his ivory Oldsmobile her head and let her take him home to Illinois.  There, on Saturday May 24, God willing, Bishop Jenky of Peoria will ordain him Priest along with three other men who have been his classmates at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary. 
He got his completed evaluation from me months ago, and his review by the seminary faculty and even his Call to Orders are both submitted.  Nonetheless, he has continued showing up here, bringing his service and his homilies for the past weeks - every weekend in March, and Confirmation on top of that.  So he has been a big help to me despite the fact that he would probably much rather be planning his ordination or daydreaming about his first Mass.
But I could see it in his eyes.  He is ready to move on.  Indeed, he should be.  There's a saying in the clergy world that your worst day as a priest is better than your best day as a seminarian, and there is something to that.    But as he enters the priestly ministry to which Jesus called him, he will take a bit of all of you with him.  You helped him uncover and hone that identity that ordination will unite with Christ the High Priest. 
This is Deacon Krengiel’s last weekend.  Over in the rectory, we’ll be feeding him as well as we can as “food for the journey.”  Please take the time today to seek him out, thank him for whatever was your favorite thing about his time here.  Promise him your prayers, especially on the weekend of his ordination.
Speaking of a look in the eyes, all of us, every human being in this parish and possibly all of Washington, went absolutely wild-eyed when we beheld, once again, snow last Sunday afternoon.  Unpredicted and improbable, it came despite Father McCabe’s assurance that a generous donation to the Winter Expenses collection would guarantee no more of the sloppy white stuff this year.  For many folks, it was the last straw.  I heard a vast, collective primal scream ringing from the houses and alleyways as I made my way home for exposition, adoration, and benediction.
That impudent outburst of a fading winter was no indication that there is a failure of fidelity in this parish.  The preliminary numbers on the special collection are quite good – more than half of the $15K by which our snow-removal costs exceeded budget.  I am confident we will get a huge boost when we add to that amount follow-ups from folks who weren’t here or weren’t ready, and whatever comes in through Faith Direct, which is how many of our most consistent givers make their offerings.  So, thank you all.
But it’s April at last, and at long last the air has a different fragrance.  Winter wouldn’t dare do the unspeakable to us again now.  We are done.  You can see it in our eyes.

Monsignor Smith