On Saturday, April 29th, I was blessed to preside at my first wedding of the year! It happened at Saint Catherine of Siena Church and it just happened to be the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena. Rachel Segrue married Sean Lewis, the bride and groom seemed quite happy.
Last year I presided at 12 weddings. This year there are not as many scheduled weddings but I hope and pray that this past years couples and this years couples will find themselves in a strong union with the Lord and one another. Let us keep them in our prayers.
The month of May finds us with other sacramental joys! On Wednesday the young people from Saint Catherine of Siena and the Church of Transfiguration were confirmed at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Gathering with the Confirmation candidates were not only their families and friends but several folks from both our parishes music ministries. How wonderful to have all these voices gathering in praise of the Lord as the Holy Spirit came upon our young women and men. Let us keep them in our prayers as well as they grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit which they received.
This very weekend we will welcome children from both parishes to the table of the Lord. You, like myself, probably recall many fond memories of our First Communion. These young people have been preparing for this beautiful grace to come and receive their Lord in Holy Communion. May we share their joys this weekend at our masses and pray for them and their growing relationship with Jesus.
We have so many wonderful things and people to keep in our prayer. The beauty of prayer is that it can be expressed in so many ways. We may have a favorite prayer or even a favorite way to pray. All prayer with the Lord is good. No one prayer or way of praying is better than another. Prayer is not about competing that one way is better than another. Prayer, and all the different ways it can be expressed is to bring us closer together with Jesus and each other.
Our faith communities celebrate prayer in all our sacraments. The gift of our Eucharist is certainly one to cherish as we welcome the Lord Himself into our very selves. We are blessed with Baptisms, Anointing, Reconciliation and as some of us witnessed this past week weddings, Confirmation and now First Holy Communions. Prayer comes in the way we give voice to the various settings of music. We have the Ignatian Exercises in our parishes, Spiritual Direction, prayer chains, Earth Angels, our prayers of petition, seasonal prayer gatherings, and so many other possibilities to be in communion and conversation with our dear Lord. And, the beauty of prayer is that we can pray in more than one way if we wish. I am grateful that both our communities of faith share the many ways we can pray in community or in private. Praise the Lord we have so many options to come before Him and one another.
How often we hear those words “Let us pray”? May we be attentive to the time we give the Lord in our prayer.
Finally, regarding prayer. I shared with you last weekend (Deacon Eric did as well at Sunday mass at Transfiguration) about a young man, Jack Tvrdik, who is quite ill. Jack is twenty years old and asked for me this past week. He is quite ill as I said. Jack wanted to pray, be anointed, receive Eucharist and share his peace and thoughts. He wondered what my favorite scriptures are. I shared some and asked him what were his. Jack asked that we would pray for him at Saint Catherine’s and put his name on our prayer chain and as well on the screen at weekend liturgies. He asked that we pray for him at Transfiguration too. I shared the weekend style is different than that at Saint Catherine’s but I would put out his name at every mass I am honored to celebrate.
Jack reminds me of how to pray and how we are to pray. No one form is more powerful than another. There is no competing. There is only the desire that we do pray and especially when a brother or sister calls upon us in their petition before the Lord. If you can, I am asking you not only to pray for Jack but perhaps you could do another thing. Would you consider sending him a card? Maybe share what prayer you find strength in? Perhaps tell him even if you do not know him, you are bringing him to your prayer and celebration of the Eucharist? I know this would be, will be a powerful prayer and support for Jack. You may bring or mail your cards to the St. Catherine office, and we will be sure he receives them.
I appreciate your considerations and of course prayer. I have so many times said we come together as community not always knowing what prayers are needed among us. But, we come not always having to know, but come to pray for the sister and brother who is among us.
Again, with faith, hope and my prayer,