Whew, what a wonderful whirlwind weekend! I returned from Boston late last night after two jam-packed days with family. I hope your week has started off wonderfully.
Yesterday, at the 11:00 A.M. Mass at St. Robert Bellarmine parish in Andover, Massachusetts, my sister and brother-in-law's marriage was convalidated (which means that their marriage was "blessed" by the Catholic Church—they are both baptized Catholics who chose to marry outside of a Catholic ceremony fifteen years ago). Photos of the interior and exterior of the church can be seen above.
I was very proud to be the "best man" at this ceremony. The pastor, Fr. Rick Conway, preached a moving homily and told my sister and brother-in-law that they were signs of God's call to holiness.
This is a unique parish. When you walk into the foyer, there are hundreds of name tags hanging on hooks, all in alphabetical order. When the people arrive, they find their name tags and don them. And the vast majority of parishioners do this. The feeling of hospitality here is overwhelming, and, in my own experience, quite unusual for a suburban parish. I am so grateful that my sister and brother-in-law have a newfound Catholic community like St. Robert's.
We were asked to stand in the rear of the church after Mass and I was amazed at how many people greeted my sister and her husband. When I left yesterday, I had a strong sense that their faith journey is in good hands.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.