One Heart and Mind
Pope Francis, in a tweet in February of last year, wrote, “Do not underestimate the value of example, for it is more powerful than a thousand words, a thousand “likes,” retweets or YouTube videos! ! The power of example was palpable this past week as our parish celebrated the wake and funeral services for our beloved pastor, Fr. John, followed by the Triduum observances of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil…and Easter Sunday of course. All these liturgies in the same week would strain the resources and emotions of any parish, but the parishioners of St. Anthony’s rose to the occasion each day and moved forward with grace and reverence, inspired by the example of the one who led us for the past 16 years. Fr. John taught us, among many other things, the power and beauty of ritual, and modeled, by word and symbol, how to engage one’s religious imagination in contemplating our mysterious God and imitating the example of Christ.
I can’t help but think that those who visited our parish during last week’s services could feel Fr. John’s presence, through the welcome and participation of the parishioners. Our first reading this Sunday begins with the line: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind…” Indeed, from my perspective, that sentence describes our parish to a “T,” particularly last week. Fr. John is so proud of you all.
Thank you to all who participated in the preparation and execution of the beautiful services…from those who cleaned the church and distributed programs, to the ushers who helped people find seats, to those who proclaimed the readings or distributed the Eucharist. Thanks to the musicians and composers, the director of music and the director of all else, to the firemakers, candlelighters and those who decorated the church so beautifully…and to all who attended and participated in the services…to all who played a role in helping our parish celebrate both our pastor’s life and the Mystery of our salvation.
It takes all of us to make the parish work, and when we all are of “one heart and mind,” even the impossible…carrying on in the face of our sorrow… becomes possible…!