Joining in the 7 Quick Takes fun at ConversionDiary.com!
I learned yesterday that our associate pastor is retiring at the end of the summer. He has been serving our parish for 11 years. I’ve been there for over 8 of those years, and in that time I have learned a lot–thanks to him. Here are some highlights:
At every baptism and wedding, Father H. reminds the congregation that these sacraments are not private family moments but joyful occasions for the whole parish and the whole Church. And he exhorts the assembly to offer not only prayer support but the support of a true community to these families, because these sacraments are not only for a moment, but the beginning of a lifetime.
On “Fear of the Lord:”
God is not someone we are to be terrified of, like something in a horror movie. That’s not what fear of the Lord is all about. We can practice growing in the virtue of fear of the Lord by wondering at the mystery of God and all that He created. He said that the more you grow in this virtue, the more awesome you understand God to be.
One Sunday, for the Responsorial Psalm, we sang: “I will praise your name, my king and my God.”
When the psalm concluded, the silence was broken not by the lector jumping the gun on the second reading, but by a toddler all the way on the other side of the church: “YAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!”
Everyone chuckled, of course: how cute!
Father looked at everyone, smiled, and said, “Amen!”
Father celebrated Mass the Sunday Little Brother made his altar-serving debut:
That was July of 2011.
Every Advent, Father begins by asking us to contrast all the decorated, brightly-lit houses we’d passed on the way to church with the minimal decoration (Advent wreath and Jesse tree) in church. He makes a good point–is not going to rage against those who get into the Christmas hype early, because so much of our economy and so many people’s livelihoods depend on that. BUT he encourages us to remember the reason for THIS season.
Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. What a model of graciousness and generosity! Not even the lowest slave or household servant would be expected to do such a thing, Father H. explained to us. In fact, he said, it was scandalous that Jesus would have dressed as a slave and done a thing like this.
Father is a brilliant scholar who frequently shares his vast historical and cultural knowledge about Jesus’ world. His other specialty is women saints of the past 3 centuries, particularly those from North America.
And the most important thing I have learned from Father–something that will stick with me always: Father very deliberately tries to slow down the Lord’s Prayer. It’s not because he is being ornery. It’s because he wants everyone to take the time to listen to each and every word that we are praying. Father has said on more than one occasion that we must not race through the Lord’s Prayer–we must savor every word, as that is the ONLY prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.
I am grateful to Father for his service, his example and all that he has taught over the years.