Tom and I are becoming regulars at St. Ferdinand’s parish. We agreed that once our commitment to Super Bingo at St. Gregory’s is done next June, we’re probably going to officially join this parish.
Last night we sat in our usual row in the back at the 4 pm mass in front of the same people we’ve been seeing there for the past two years (since Father Bob left St. Gregory’s). We usually get to mass 20 minutes before the start, so many of the people around us are chit chatting quietly. This week, the lady behind Tom leaned forward and started to talk to us. She had been talking to two other parishioners who had just come back from Seneca Alleghany Casinos in New York. Tom and I had just gotten back from Niagara Falls in Canada and my view from the hotel room included the Seneca Alleghany Casino on the American side. Tom and I smiled at each other and she must have noticed. She had probably been looking for an opportunity to talk to us.
Anyways, it felt really good to talk to someone from this parish. And it gave us the opportunity to tell her we were members of St. Gregory’s parish. Now, when we attend this mass, we can truly say hello and continue to get to know them.
Father Ed was the priest for this mass. He’s now retired, but I love listening to him. He’s so fluent and soft spoken — his voice is patient, kind and loving. I’m so glad that he still does mass, even in retirement. He has so much to offer. And he gave us a great message for the coming week. When Tom and I got in the car, I said to him, “it sounds like his sermon was right out of my blog,” and we laughed.
He wanted to know what the hurry was all about. We rush everywhere in our lives — we rush to work, we rush home, we rush the kids to dance class or football practice, we eat fast, we even pray fast. Do we even know what we’re saying when we pray, or are we just getting the words out as fast as we can? Are we even making time to pray? We are in such a hurry — and if we get in someone’s way who’s in a rush — they certainly let us know about it. He related it back to the reading about Jesus healing the 10 lepers and only one samaritan came back to thank him. Do we take the time to thank God for all the blessings in our lives? Do we even take the time to notice the blessings in our lives?
I noticed people nodding everywhere. We all could relate to every word he said. And then it was over in five minutes and we were standing, reciting the Creed. I wouldn’t have minded if he had talked longer! In contrast, last week at our parish, we had an 18-minute sermon by a Deacon. And it wasn’t a real-life message — we were being “preached at,” something that I loathe. There’s nothing worse than going to mass and leaving frustrated.
And then there’s wonderful, delightful, unassuming and humble, Father Ed. Who can simply relate the readings to today’s world so that we can all receive a message to put us on the right path for the coming week. God Bless you, Father Ed. You are truly inspiring and strengthen my faith.