From the Pastor: Excitement for the Week
This last week was filled with all sorts of excitement. The first and most important thing was our Chant Camp. We have been holding this absolutely impossible week for a number of years now and proving that the impossible is not only possible, but so well received that not only do the youth come back year after year, but the adults (and not just parents) constantly want to join in on the fun. Why do I say it is impossible? Because that is what I hear all the time. “Chant? Latin? Tradition? No way! If we want to reach the youth we must give them guitars and generic Christian ‘praise and worship’ music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. That’s the real classical music, the true tradition of the Church. Nobody under 87 will ever show up for a summer chant camp.” Don’t think I am exaggerating. Go to any diocese-wide or even parish-based youth group, holy hour, vocation gathering, or large Mass (in any diocese—ours is not unique) and you will not have silence, organ music, or Latin a cappella chant. You will have some old codger (like me but with a ponytail) strumming a guitar singing, softly and sweetly, Father, I adore You and encouraging everybody to close their eyes, raise their arms, and sway to the music, followed by Open Our Eyes, Lord and maybe Glorify Thy Name because they claim that that is what all children, teenagers, and adults really like. If there is a whole band, somebody will undoubtedly bring out her rainstick for a rousing edition, complete with full-body motions of wriggling fingers raised high and then brought down low, of Rain Down. There will be absolutely no time for silence, never a thought of using organ music, and certainly no Latin. There is no doubt in anybody’s mind that what Epiphany offered once again at chant camp would make children flee to the nearest protestant Vacation Bible School for something “relevant.” But, as before, we proved the naysayers wrong. It was a smashing success. Many thanks to all those who worked so hard to teach our obviously not-normal (thanks be to God!) young parishioners the beauty of Traditional Chant.
I also had a nephew’s wedding on the calendar. His new wife (I assume the marriage took place on Saturday!) has a brother who is a priest in the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio. He stayed at the rectory for the week and was able to spend time with his family before witnessing his sister’s vows of Holy Matrimony. How he managed to get time off to come here is beyond me. Look him up on the Steubenville priest page and you will see, “Father Nicholas S. Ward. Parochial Vicar - St. Ann, Chesapeake; St. Joseph, Ironton; St. Lawrence O'Toole, Ironton; and
St. Mary, Pine Grove; Assistant Director of Vocations.” Yikes! I would never even remember how to get to that many parishes, let alone work at so many. Plus vocation director? Nope. It’s a good thing he is young, energetic, and holy!
Tying those two things (chant and a visiting priest) together was an expected demonic intrusion, as the dark ones try to bring chaos wherever Faith is being strengthened. I was at the VA with my dad on Tuesday afternoon, immersed in incompetence that only a Federal agency can muster, when I got a text message: “No water in neighborhood for 4-6 hrs...pipe break across the street.” Yep. We had a chant camp with what seemed like a hundred children plus adults and no water for either drinking or flushing. Our great hospitality for the visiting priest no longer included showers or restroom facilities. At least this time it wasn’t the AC that went out! When I finally got home that evening there were papers taped to every door and sink of the rectory stating, “Precautionary Boil Water Notice, No Water. Your service was interrupted 6-6-23 from approximately 12:30 pm until approximately 7:00 pm. Blah, blah, blah... two consecutive days of satisfactory bacteriological water samples...” Fortunately, the water was already restored by the time I read it. I went around opening up the outside spigots to let the nasty, rusty water gush until clear. Then inside to do the same with the sinks, showers, and toilets. Then over to the school and church, following the same procedure. After everything was “fixed” I headed back to the rectory to find a can of food of some sort for dinner. But before I could even do that I got a message from the social hall that the handicapped bathroom toilet was making such terrible noises and was spluttering so violently that the water valve had to be turned off. And the kitchen faucets were not flowing. Back over to the church I went. There was, once again, nasty, rusty, or grey water at every faucet and toilet. I went back outside to open a hose nozzle and it wouldn’t even squirt. Opening up the outlet without the hose allowed me to hear sounds of air movement in the pipe, followed by an explosion of misty spray, alternating mist and air and spluttering nasty (the word “nasty” does not even begin to describe it), rusty water with full force for a split second, then pause, splutter, gush, pause, repeat. More than five minutes went by before the water came out full force without air. But it was still nasty. Ten minutes later it was still nasty. I opened up another spigot with the same result. Then inside to open every faucet. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Sploosh, woosh, splash, gurgle. Then the toilets. Yech! But after 20 or so minutes, water was running clear everywhere. By the time you read this, it should even be drinkable!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka