Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Well, it's been the usual busy Sunday. Masses throughout the morning lasting until early afternoon, with the added bonus of having Fr. Steve's reception interspersed throughout the entirety of the day. The high school was either very smart or very stupid to host its rummage sale after all the masses, as well. They set up just outside the gym entrance on Bell Street; I can't help but think that they could've done better if they had "mooched" off of the Benbuck/Benfest volunteer recruiters standing outside the church main entrance. Hopefully some of the stragglers to Fr. Steve's sending off managed to catch the rummage sale as they entered/exited through the back door to the Ackerman/Social Center, where the reception was being held.

For my part, I didn't really get to talk much to either one of the priests here at St. Ben's today, and I didn't really help much at the receptions, either. I decided to pray Morning Prayer and the Daily Office in between one of the masses, so that naturally kept me busy and away from the partying. I caught the rummage sale after helping Luciano clean up after the noon mass, and that kept me from helping out with the clean-up for the reception.

The Choir was fantastic today, or at least as fantastic as we've been for quite some time. I know on my end I was actually subpar (I can now say with some certainty that I am NOT a tenor! Baritone, maybe?), but the choir as a whole actually got some compliments from parishioners after the mass; I've actually never seen that happen before, though I don't think today is the only day our little schola deserved it. Nonetheless, I was glad to be a part of the "farewell to Fr. Steve" choir. Too bad the "farewell" for me will likely be a quiet postlude to packing away boxes in his car when he moves out later this week...perhaps taking him out to dinner is in order! I can't wait to see what Anne has planned for him in the kitchen this week...

Anyway, the rest of the afternoon was spent with Luciano and Lauren, another cantor and friend of Luciano. We went to lunch at Giordano's, which was certainly well worth it (though I will admit I was a bit too gluttonous, as usual...and to think I just confessed that sin yesterday in confession...ARGH!), but the follow-up of having to endure the hullaballoo following the Gay "Pride" parade was much worse. Lauren lives close to the parade route, so trying to drop her off was a PITA. One particular awkward moment: some parade watchers were being dropped off at a curb in front of us after Luciano had just dropped off Lauren. These two ladies, once they saw us, immediately waved their rainbow flags in glee and cheered at us. I cocked an eyebrow in my confusion to Luciano, who was immediately to my left
(I was in the front seat next to him); it didn't occur to me until after we hit the next block that they might have (and gauging by their reaction, "probably" is the better term, here) thought Luciano and I were a gay couple! I snickered a bit, then thought about the potentially scandalous situation I was in. Now, I realize that two guys together hardly constitutes scandal, and it's not like I'm running off to the confessional to confess this as some mortal sin, but this definitely stands as a reminder for the future. It's an unfortunate side-effect of my vocation that I need to be careful of what I do and say even in what appear to be innocuous circumstances. It's the same reason why priests now have to be extremely cautious when they're working with youth. One wrong step and it's lawsuit time! A few bad apples really have spoiled the barrel for the whole bunch. Pray for priests, everyone! They need it!

After watching a bit of "24" at Luciano's place (I still don't get why people like this show, BTW), we made our way over to St. Sylvester's church, where I had earlier in the day reluctantly agreed to visit with Luciano. He had a gig there as a substitute music minister; he told me that the liturgy and the priests there were wonderful. Knowing Luciano's rather refined liturgical sensibilities, I was willing to trust him, and I forewent my Sunday afternoon to attend the 6:00PM mass.

Let's just say I didn't regret it! I had heard of St. Sylvester's before, and I quickly recalled why once I walked inside: the associate pastor there was an intern at my home parish of St. Leonard while he was a seminarian at Mundelein! He remembered me, too, I think, and he asked me if I'd like to serve mass. I declined, though, once again, in retrospect, I probably should have. I did manage to get a head start on my rosary (I LOVE saying the rosary during mass!), but there seems to be little point in avoiding serving the mass I will eventually have to "say"/pray (the latter is the better term, I think!). If the sacrifice of the mass is the essence of priesthood, I should naturally desire to be as close to it as possible. Avoiding it because of fear of messing up/looking silly/wanting to do something else is NOT conducive to my vocation.

I managed to talk to Fr. Jose after mass, and some of the other parishioners gladly handed out cupcakes, bulletins, and advertisements for Theology on Tap (!!!) at the parish in the coming months. They also have Eucharistic adoration on Fridays; looks like I have another alternative to Our Lady of Lourdes for my devotional life! W00t! Thank you Lord for priests like Fr. Jose and Fr. Paul! They will be instrumental in the fruition of what JPII called the "springtime in the church," I am sure of it! They will attract converts by the truckload!

After mass, Luciano brought along Eric, a Seattle native who recently moved to the city. He cantored for the mass at St. Sylvester's, and he appeared very happy to see St. Ben's and get the "grand tour" with Luciano. He seems like a fairly devout fellow; he gives off what I would call the "Franciscan University Catholic" vibe; it's similar to what I see in the Ravenswood Catholic Young Adults group. Basically, it's my euphemism for a young, devout, but not quite "mature" Catholic. I hope that doesn't come off as too a 20-year-old, I probably fit into this mold myself as it is. "Don't judge lest ye be judged" knows no better recipient than yours truly! I must do better to heed it; perhaps it will lead me to solve my problems with courage and humility (there were plenty of those opportunities with Luciano, Lauren, and many others today and on Saturday). For now, however, I'll say Night Prayer and catch some shut-eye...I won't have the luxury of 6:30AM mass for much longer, as Fr. Beaven is canceling it once Fr. Steve moves out.

Lord God, never let me forget how much You love me. I love You dearly in return. May nothing ever be as precious to me as You. Keep me forever in Your warm embrace that You gave to me on the cross. May I live my life in a way that attests to this trust. AMEN!

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