Sunday, July 31, 2011

Seeing Things with a New Set of Eyes

Dear Parishioners,
As a high school administrator for years, I would instruct my fellow administrators to enter the school building each day with a “new set of eyes.”  I would try to do this myself as part of a morning ritual.  I looked around the school and asked myself various questions.
What did I observe today?  Is there anything that I had become so familiar with that I almost overlooked it or took it for granted?  Who was there?  What were they doing?  What was my overall impression?  What did I see?
Today I went through my ritual at the three Sunday morning Masses at St. Joseph’s Church.
What did I observe today?
First, I noticed how friendly, warm and welcoming you, my new parishioners, were!  I thank you for the greetings, the smiles and the kind words.  I was really moved by one comment in particular:  Father, we are here waiting to love you.”  Wow!  Thanks for that! The feeling is certainly mutual!
Second, I noticed the beautiful music at each Mass.  I love music and I love to sing.  For those who are stoic and non-participatory—you’ll just have to get used to me!  Oh well.
Third, I noticed the air conditioning was back, thanks be to God!  It appeared not strong enough, in my opinion, but then again I was layered with vestments.  Was it just me?  Some people were, however, fanning themselves during Mass.
At the 8:15 AM Mass, since I was not the celebrant, I stood in the back of church and I watched far too many people leave Mass early—many right after receiving Holy Communion.  I know I surprised quite a few since I was standing there.  Some avoided looking directly at me.  (Mental note:  We’ll have to work on that.  For right now I am just going to mention it.)
Next, I had the opportunity to welcome and to bless some parishioners who were hosting a family reunion at the 10 AM Mass and to renew the vows of a couple who was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary at the 11:45 AM Mass.  I’m glad to see that this is going to be an active parish!
I also noticed the decent number of young people at Mass.  To me this is a partial indication that there is hope and a future.  If we don’t reach the young, then our Church is going to be in some trouble in the days ahead!
I noted some other things, but for now I think that I’ve said enough.  This writing is looking too much like an all-too-familiar classroom observation and I certainly don’t want to be doing that again!
Let me just add that I am happy to be here and I certainly look forward to the days, months and years ahead.  I want to keep building on the wonderful foundation that Fr. Joe Wagenhoffer left me! 
Thanks Joe!  You, your associates and your predecessors established a beautiful parish family here.
Fr. Ed Namiotka

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