Monday greetings from the home office here in Franklin Park.
Yesterday morning, when I checked the presider's schedule on the web site of Old Saint Patrick's Church, I noticed that Archbishop Blase Cupich was listed as the celebrant for the 9:30 A.M. Mass. I found it odd because at the previous Sunday's Mass, there was no mention of a visit from our new Archbishop.
I arrived about twenty minutes early to a nearly packed church. As a matter of fact, later at Mass, the pastor told us that there were over 200 people in the hall in the basement, where the Mass was being live-streamed.
Our pastor told us that he received a text message from the Archbishop's secretary on Wednesday, saying that the Archbishop's schedule had suddenly opened up on Sunday morning and he was wondering if he might celebrate the 9:30 Mass at Old Saint Pat's. Kudos to the parish for pulling all of this together on a few days' notice.
The choir was quite large and the music was superb; I just love having lots of people around me singing away. And it didn't hurt that much of the music was published by WLP! And to watch Archbishop Cupich enthusiastically singing Ed Bolduc's setting of the Gloria from his Mass of Saint Ann really made this publisher smile!
The archbishop is a strong celebrant. When he chanted the prayers, he did so with conviction; he has a pleasing and strong singing voice. He prayed the preface (which, at least to me, is worded more like a theological treatise than a preface, but this is one of those so-called "idea feasts," isn't it?) quite well. His preaching was challenging. Do you ever have those experiences when it seems that the homilist somehow knows the nitty-gritty of your life and he seems to preach right into your own situation? Yesterday was one of those days. I am struggling currently with ways that the Lord is calling me to embrace what the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy will mean in my own personal life. Archbishop Cupich helped me along that challenging road yesterday and for that I am grateful.
I did receive an email from a member of the parish staff this week, inviting me to a new parishioner information evening, which consists of a tour of the historic church, a cocktail reception, then dinner with the pastor. And I am free that evening; certainly a nice way to reach out in welcome to those who are interested in joining.
I will keep you all posted as this "joining journey" unfolds.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.