The big thing to hit these parts(around Abita Springs) has been the recent parish mission at St. Jane's. This past week we had Fr. Thomas Sullivan, from the Fathers of Mercy, offer a beautiful parish mission. I understand it was so faithfully received by our parishioners. I managed to attend the Tuesday night session and so glad that I attended. Someone asked me last night why I missed the majority of the mission?? The answer is simple; for me my ministry goes beyond the physical boundaries of my parish. Don't get me wrong, I pour out myself for my parish; I love St. Jane's and our mission too for that matter. But I love my ministry to the men at Rayburn and any other opportunity I have to be of service to the Church by serving others. I had an incredible experience Wednesday night at the prison; after almost 10 years of going to Rayburn, we had our largest single attendance for our normal Wednesday night gatherings; 80+ men! And after a robust, spirit-filled communion service, the men asked me to lead them in the Stations of the Cross; another first! Needless to say it was a soul-lifting evening. I also enjoy the opportunities as a Deacon to prepare couples for marriage. It is truly a journey that I get to walk with each couple as we pray and discern along the way all the way to the wedding day, and then beyond. Another opportunity I experience as a Deacon is to share the gift of this ministry with those discerning their own vocational call. I had one such opportunity this week and I pray that my words and my witness always are helpful to the discerning!
Today is Saturday, it is the Feast of the Annunciation. On this feast day the big event is the Abbey Youth Fest up at St. Joseph Abbey. The monks are now a little more than one year past the devastating flood that caused $ 30MM in damages to the historic Abbey and Seminary College. The event is an incredible witness every year as about 4K youth and their chaperones attend the day long celebration of faith, culminating in Mass and evening Adoration and Benediction. Today the rains came; I mean they came. From what I've been able to understand from following friends and deacons on the ground, the event was postponed for awhile and resumed in a large auditorium on the Abbey Campus. I hope they can get going again as the rain has slowed down. There is so much hope emanating from this event; I wish every Catholic could witness such a mass of Catholic youth freely giving themselves in praise and worship of the Triune God. I am always inspired when I have been able to attend. Tonight Wendy and I will attend a wedding over in New Orleans. I realized just today that this may be the first Catholic wedding I attend where I am not on the altar. I pray the wedding is beautiful and the couple have many blessed years together.
So it looks like the rain is going away and hopefully the youth can continue the Abbey Fest and the wedding is blessed with some rays of sunshine.