Sunday, October 24, 2010

Church re-Dedication

I tend not to be very public about my religious feelings. I'm catholic and we tend to be quite like that. One of my favorite Bible passages is Mathew 6:6.

We belong to St. Callistus. The church had fallen into bad repair, and it was becoming out right dangerous. Our Pastor Jimmy rallied the parishioners. During a time when many people are trying to keep from loosing their homes, they came up with the all the money needed. That meant that we did not need go get a loan from the Diocese of Oakland.

Today was the re-dedication of our church. While we have had more than our fair share of issues; one area that Catholics excel is tradition and ceremony. Today was truly inspirational. When I entered the church, it had that "New Church" smell. This would soon be cured by a lot of incense.

The ceremony started with a procession of flags. There was a flag from 38 different countries, including Peru (my wife's family) and Germany (the place of my birth). After the flag procession completely left the church, the was a knock on the door at the rear of the church. The door was opened, and in entered a procession of alter servers, priests from all over and our bishop.

There was not an empty seat in the church. The church is large. There are four masses every Sunday weekend. A Saturday evening mass, and three on Sunday. We always have a very good turnout. One thing I have always been very proud of is how diverse we are. At one point in the mass a small prayer was said in a number of different languages including: English, Chinese, Tagalog, German, Spanish, Nigerian and more.

Lila sings in the choir. They did a fantastic job. The church looks beautiful. I remember talking to a priest one time when I was working at the Marriott hotel. He was there on a conference about church designs. He told me that it is important that a church is inspiring. Well, ours certainly is and this mass was amazing. I said a prayer about someone very special to me.

At the very end of the mass they recognized the "Pioneer" parishioners that were part of the parish when the original church was built back in the 1950's They were each presented with a special present by the bishop. Some special recognition was given to those who had gone above and beyond to make this happen. One very special thanks was to Father Larry Burns. He had said mass at our church for over 30 years. Today he is retired and in a rest home, but Father Nick was good enough to bring him. Our parish gave him a standing ovation that lasted quite a while. Afterwards there was a long line of parishioners to wait their turn to thank him, and wish him well. Both Lila and Ceci had served as alter servers for Father Larry.

Thank you Father Jimmy, you really hit a home run. A Grand Slam Home Run!

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