Tonight at St. Mary's we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the erection of our parish as an Anglican Use parish under the Pastoral Provision of the Catholic Church. On June 12th, 1994 the entire parish was received into the Catholic Church. On June 29th, 1994, Fr. Hawkins was ordained as a Catholic priest. We've picked the closest Friday night for the celebration.
Mass will be a 7 p.m. I heard the choir practicing their special music last night--the Te Deum. It sounded like angels singing! We have a guest preacher, an ex-Anglican now-Dominican from New York. I know I SHOULD remember his name, but hours of party preparation have left me too tired to remember.
After mass, a sit down dinner for 181 people! Yikes! The parish hall is crammed with tables. Pray that the air conditioner stays healthy.
This is a wonderful milestone for us.
Thanks be to God for the vision of the parishioners brave enough to take the step to Rome long before I ever got there. To them I owe a debt of gratitude I can never repay.
Thanks be to God for Pope John Paul II and his Pastoral Provision.
Thanks be to God for our Bishop, Joseph P. Delaney, who welcomed a small parish who wanted to be a part of the Church. Other bishops have not been so welcoming or understanding. In a time when I find it easier to bash bishops than to praise them, I am thankful today that our bishop saw St. Mary's as something to be welcomed, not something to be feared or squashed.
Thanks be to God for Fr. Allan Hawkins, who saw what needed to be done and did it, at the risk of his worldly security, retirement and benefits. He put his faith into action, when others have chosen to wait until some mythical "appropriate time." A true father in the faith to me and my whole family.
And finally, thanks be to God for the current parishioners of St. Mary's who continue the road to the final Promised Land together. A rag-tag parade of pilgrims squabbling, laughing, weeping and working together until we reach the place where we can finally rest in peace, joy and happiness.