From the Pastor: Celebrating Epiphany!
Last Sunday we celebrated our big Epiphany Luncheon and it was a tremendous event. The tables in the hall were decorated absolutely beautifully, although that beauty also kept quite a few families from staying there during the preceding Mass because the parents were afraid that they would spend all of their time policing their children’s hands to keep them out of the salads and dining utensils! That certainly made for one crowded church as so many people decided that it was easier to stand for the Mass! It seems to me that it was worth it to be in the church, though, as the choir outdid themselves (no small feat, for they are always superb). Plus, there is just something special about seeing such a prayerful yet excited crowd of fellow Catholics joining together to pray the Mass before celebrating our parish feast day with a feast. On the downside, I did have a report that several pregnant women were standing the whole time and none of our men got up and gave them their seat. It is possible that there were gentlemen who made the offer and were politely turned down but it is also possible that men are no longer taught the simple courteous act of sacrificing a seat for a lady. “Women’s lib” has certainly wounded our sense of chivalry in many such areas. I put this out there not so much to scold anyone but rather to remind the men to be gentlemen and treat all women, especially the elderly and those with special needs (pregnant, or carrying two infants while corralling 4 others, or hobbling on crutches, etc.) as if they are “ladies” rather than just “one of the guys.” Now, for the sake of those who may be reading this online and are not part of Epiphany parish, please let me explain that “pregnant women” at Mass, although an anomaly at many other parishes, are a common feature around here.
Now, back to the feast. After the big Mass, the choir led the congregation in singing Christmas Carols while the last of the festive preparations were being made. The classrooms were all set for fine dining, the hot chocolate booth was loaded with plenty of mini marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauces, and sprinkles, the catering tents were staffed and supplied with copious amounts of lasagna and gluten-free spaghetti. I didn’t know that the spaghetti was gluten-free until near the end of the day but once I found out it explained why so many people didn’t even know that spaghetti was an option! I hadn’t been through the food line so I had just assumed that the trays were side by side and people were given a choice. Instead, those who had specified that they wanted/needed a gluten-free meal when they purchased their tickets were given the “secret knowledge” of the hidden food. I never did find out if they had a secret handshake or special code word they used but somehow they figured it all out. There was also an option for a vegetarian (maybe vegan?) meal but I only saw one person who got that. It looked like we had just enough food to feed the volunteer workers, who gave up sitting down and enjoying the meal so that they could serve the rest of us. They really deserve a lot of thanks and extra prayers! Those who set up the tents, tables, chairs, and other things also took them all down again by the end of the day. It was a lot of work done by a lot of workers and they made it all look like it wasn’t work at all. What a blessing to have such a great group of people here! Thank you all.
Last week I let you know that I will be gone for a vacation during the month of March. Since I don’t know what to do or where to go where I don’t need jabs or a suffocation device on my face, people have been making suggestions. Two families have suggested Utah. I checked online for the weather. Whereandwhen.net was the first search result for “weather in Utah in March.” The red banner across the top said boldly, “very bad weather.” It said to expect 19 days under 32 degrees with a mean temperature of 38℉. No thank you! I didn’t need to bother reading further about why the weather was listed as bad. Freezing bad is bad enough. Yes, I am a spoiled Floridian. Somebody, knowing my desire for good weather and the ability to breathe freely, said that I should go to Texas. That is a good choice. But I don’t know exactly what to do in Texas. I have only been there one time, in the heat of summer, visiting my sister who was working on a Master’s Degree somewhere near Dallas. I only remember a few details. First of all, it was extremely hot. (Yes, I complain about heat as well as cold. Go figure.) I remember the oak trees having stunted growth, and seemed to be only about 8 feet tall. And the only lakes were man-made. What else is there in Texas? Anyone know? Finally, one of you suggested that I go to Richmond, New Hampshire. Teens and twenties for overnight temperatures all month long with 1.6-3.5 inches of rain and/or snow during the month. Hmm... That sounds lovely. Not! That actually made Utah look pretty good! Keep the suggestions coming, though. I have already have said, “It’s too cold. It’s too hot.” Maybe in response to the next suggestion I will, like Goldilocks, say, “This one is just right!”.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka