Monday, February 23, 2015

So much snow and an insidious cold, but the warmth of community, on the 1st Sunday of Lent...

"You kind of set off an eternal winter, everywhere!"

Yes, that would be my family standing on the snow beside our driveway, and that thing behind their heads is our ROOF. That pretty much sums up the state of things over here in WNY right now. I usually enjoy winter, but this year has me very weary. And now I have caught Anne's cold, so you can just imagine the level of crankiness I bring with me this morning. Aren't you delighted to be here? ;-)

So I'm feeling all stuffy and weak, and I'm not happy about this at ALL. I just brewed some tea, so hopefully that will help. But anyway, you're not here to dwell in cold misery with me, let's focus on the positive, shall we?

As I mentioned on Ash Wednesday, our parish has a new pastor. There was a retirement elsewhere in the diocese, and thus some subsequent priest shuffling to accommodate for that. The kids and I really liked our first impression of the new guy, Fr. Joe, on Wednesday, so I was excited to see how he handled his first Sunday Mass with us. After all, that would be the first time many parishoners saw him.

I know that I remarked on Wednesday that he was a good homilist, and he only reinforced that yesterday. As we all sat down following the reading of the Gospel, he paused, then said:

"I've been thinking about what I'd say to you all right now...for the past two months."

Immediately, we were all rapt with attention. :) He talked about how happy he was to be with us, and how he wanted to get to know us all. He said that he loves sports and if we let him know when the kids had games, he would come watch. He wove in humorous anecdotes from his own life to let us know how he planned to structure his homilies for the foreseeable future, and how we can try and grow in holiness together throughout Lent and thereafter. He made some jokes and mentioned that his favorite drink is a Manhattan. I love this guy! He was done about 5-7 minutes later, and here's the thing - he didn't need to go on for any longer. What he said resonated with the group, and everyone was hanging on every word. It was a very effective and engaging use of time. When he stepped down from the lectern, there was the slightest pause of surprised silence before the congregation gave him a round of spontaneous and hearty applause. I'm not normally a fan of clapping in Mass, but this time it fit. He made us feel wanted and special, and we wanted him to feel appreciated and welcome. It was lovely.

During the Liturgy of the Eucharist I just felt all warm and glowy. I was worshipping with my family in faith, and I'm very excited about where we are headed together. And we have two people from our parish receiving the sacraments this Easter Vigil and coming into the Church! *tears!* We did a little send off for the Rite of Election as part of the liturgy.

I could hear people talking about Fr. Joe as we all exited the church following Mass, and everyone seemed pretty chirpy and happy about the whole thing. We paused to talk to a sweet teenage girl who has taken a shine to Anne, and to our favorite usher, and I really feel like we're becoming a part of the community. I will grant, we've been members of this parish for about 7 years, but when you're an introvert, these things take time. ;-)

I feel very blessed this Lent. How was your first Sunday of the season, dear reader?


  1. Totally OT, but I thought you'd like to know that we tried that crockpot baked potato soup recipe you posted here. It was Friday, so I just used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omitted the bacon. It made a lot, but I froze half of it to pull out again sometime when we're having a crazy day.

    Oh. my. gosh. SO GOOD! Even my super-picky DH inhaled a bowlful of it, so I'm definitely adding this to the recipe rotation. Perfect, especially with our bitter temperatures here in Texas this week--it actually got down to the 30s! Can you imagine? (*ducks various objects flung at her head by more northern bloggers and readers*)

  2. Katherine, I'm so, so glad! And perfect idea about substituting the vegetable broth for a Lenten Friday.


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