Monday, June 2, 2008

In Recovery From the Church Picnic

Sunday was the church picnic. Yesterday Herb and I could barely escape the covers of our bed. We literally felt our age.

My dilapidated state came from hefting cases of canned drinks. Herb's was from playing softball all afternoon.

Four teams of men competed. Father S. played and kept "real score", according to Herb. I guess Herb was trying to emphasize the seriousness of the recording. Father does take baseball seriously. Actually, he probably takes all sports seriously. He loves to compete. At a picnic last year, Fr. was up to bat and was about to get walked. The next ball zinged in high and far from the plate. Father leaped up and out, cassock and all, and whacked that ball. I shan't soon forget that one.

Father goes to bat for our souls, too. He teaches from the pulpit, but he also constantly plans activities that teach us the traditional Catholic way to do things. For Corpus Christi we always have a procession. This year we had 13 flower girls strewing petals before our Lord. Father carried the monstrance under the gold canopy and was followed by 19 first Communicants, then the Schola, choir, the parishioners, and all the visitors who were there for the First Communions. We stopped for Benediction twice. I couldn't help but think of the powerful testimony this gave to the visitors. Before I began attending the traditional Mass, I had only read about Corpus Christi processions.

The best teacher is the Mass, and Father takes full advantage of this by planning high Masses for important feast days, sometimes having the choir learn a Mass by one of the great composers like Byrd or Palestrina. This week, for the Feast of St. Boniface, we will have a German festival with a German band, German food, and German dances performed by the girls of the Academy. For St. Joseph's there was a corresponding Italian day; for Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mexican Day, etc. On Laetare Sunday we have a dinner theater. We have regular chess tournaments. After the most recent one, Fr. realized that there were a lot of parents milling around without anything to do. So the August chess tournament will be rounded out with a family square dance. All of this is done to offer us an alternative to the world, to teach us the Catholic way.

For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline, think on these things.

The things which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these do ye, and the God of peace shall be with you.

Philippians, 4:8-9

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