From the Pastor: Monstrance Update and More!
Earlier in the year, Ash Wednesday, to be exact, I took up a special collection for the purchase of a new monstrance. The monstrance, in case you don’t know, is the metal object which holds the Sacred Host during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic processions. When the monstrance is shaped like a cross, which is the most common but not exclusive shape, the Blessed Sacrament is held by a circular receptacle where the vertical and horizontal beams meet. Often there are rays of light shown emanating from the Host (obviously made of metal) signifying that Christ, who called Himself the Light of the World is truly present. The round Host with light rays shining around it looks like the Sun whenever kids draw it, a fitting image, for the Son is truly there. No matter how many jewels or images or gold or silver make up the monstrance, the attention is always brought to Our Lord. The beauty and dignity of the monstrance is there solely to show reverence and respect to Him Who is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Sacred Host which it holds.
I did not have a particular monstrance in mind to purchase but the one we use now, and we use it daily, is worn down to the base metal and, though functional still, is no longer as worthy a vessel as our parish is capable of using. So after seeing how much we collected for a new one, I started searching for the best within our means. It is no easy task, as there is no shop with hundreds or even just dozens of monstrances sitting on display to choose from. Shopping is done by looking at tiny photos in a catalog. But then some parishioners said they were taking a trip to Rome and there are indeed shops like that there! They spent a good amount of time and energy going from one liturgical store to another, evaluating the quality and beauty of those items in stock and pouring through even more catalogs. They sent photos and suggestions and, when all was said and done, they ordered one for us! Thank you, faithful family!
And yet, we are still using the old monstrance. Why? Because the monstrances are each custom made after they are ordered unless you are able to get one right off the showroom floor. The manufacturing is not done as the order comes in, either. Only once or twice a year do they gear up the machines and then produce all of those which have been paid for. So we wait. The same process is used when purchasing tabernacles and other expensive but long lasting sacred objects. So now you know that your donations were used as you desired and the monstrance will arrive when it arrives.
The next little bit of information is about what females reveal or don’t reveal about their birthdays. Little girls let you know how old they are to the nearest half-year, as in “I’m not five, I’m five and a half!” Give them a few more years and they want to be older, so a 16 year old may try to pass herself off as 18. After a few more years, they stop telling their age and cringe when the kids blurt it out in public. Then, for the longest part of life, women fudge the numbers downward, so that they rarely leave a particular decade but stay at the _9th year. But there eventually comes a time when they start bragging about their age. It can be announced to one and all with a smile rather than a glare. My mother has reached that stage of her life. She turned 80 last week and doesn’t mind if the whole world knows. In fact, she wants the whole world to celebrate that milestone with her! She is now part of the group that can joke with the “young” women, “You’re 74? Why, you are just a kid. I have bloomers older than you!” We celebrate parishioner birthdays at the parish potluck every third Wednesday evening, so if you want to come join her for a birthday celebration this Wednesday, August 21, we begin to eat at 6:30 pm. And guess who bakes the birthday cakes and is doing so even this time? Yep, Mom. And, for newcomers to the parish, you probably already met her if you stay after the 10:30 Sunday Mass or attend the 8:00 am daily Mass even if you didn’t know it. Her name is Carole and she tries to greet all the people she doesn’t recognize and welcome them to the parish (which she has been attending for nearly 30 years). She also bakes fantastic desserts for most of our parish functions, too. Happy Birthday, Mom!
Don’t wear her out with too much partying, though. I need her strong and healthy in a couple of weeks. We are traveling together to Madrid, Spain, to witness the Perpetual Vows of Sister Rachel Maria. We fly out the evening of September 4 and return the following Wednesday evening. Fr. Mangiafico has graciously agreed to take over in my absence.
There is one more thing to put on your calendars, too. The first full week of October is our diocese’s annual Priest Convocation and, to make sure you don’t miss the priests while we are gone, I have arranged to have Fr. Sean Kopczynski, MSJB, a priest from the Missionarii Sancti Joannis Baptistae order, give a parish Mission that week! More information will be showing up soon.
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka