Pentecost arrived a little early for me yesterday. The day started off with my nephew Jack’s First Holy Communion. I love First Communions. The kids are always adorable, and they really believe in the mystery of the Eucharist. Kids have a way of believing even when they don’t understand everything. Perhaps that’s why Jesus tells us we need to be like little children to enter the Kingdom. Jack’s pastor, Father Tom, is a great priest (I had the privilege of assisting him last year at my nephew Brian’s FHC), and he has a great rapport with the children. Father Tom graciously allowed me to administer First Communion to Jack, which is a special blessing for any priest or deacon.
By mid-day, I was making my way back to my parish to officiate at Kim and Dave’s wedding. I met Kim two years ago when she joined the RCIA class that I oversee. She’s a wonderful young lady with a heart of gold – always concerned about everyone else. It was a blessing then to journey on the road to Confirmation with her, and an added blessing this past year to meet Dave and prepare them for marriage. Officiating at their wedding was the icing on the cake – and I love the icing. Everyone was happy, their families and friends were fun to be with, the bride was beautiful and the groom cleaned up pretty nicely himself. In a word, it was perfect!
Since I was already in my Sunday best, I decided to assist at the 5:30 vigil Mass after the wedding. To my great surprise and delight, Deacon Bill, our retired deacon who recently returned from his annual pilgrimage to Florida, assisted at Mass as well. I haven’t seen Bill or his wonderful wife Mary for 6 or 7 months, and haven’t assisted at Mass with Bill for longer than that. It was so nice to see Bill and Mary, to hear Bill proclaim the Gospel and to see him administer communion to the parishioners he served for more than 20 years. Bill is a great Deacon. His ministry has touched so many people in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and Haiti. He was an inspiration for my own vocation (he’s not solely responsible, so don’t blame him), and he introduced me to one of the most rewarding ministries I perform – prison ministry.
When Father Tom heard that I was going home to officiate at a wedding, he asked where I got the energy. Well, the short answer is: from the Holy Spirit. Christ sent his Spirit to us on Pentecost so that God’s grace would live and breathe in and around us all the time. The Sacraments blessed me with a trifecta of grace yesterday on the eve of the Solemnity of the Pentecost. While I was physically tired at the end of the day, I was spiritually renewed and invigorated. It was a very special day that I will long remember. May God bless Jack, Kim and Dave, and Bill and Mary.
Click here for Pentecost in Two Minutes