Hello and welcome to the second of the new weekly pastor’s posts. I’m still looking for inspiration for a geeky title for this thing, so if you’ve got a neat name idea to share, please let me know!
For the second time in two weeks, I have had the delight of spending time with parishioners at their home – we had dinner, swapped stories, and generally had a blast late into the evening talking & laughing. When talking with folks, I’m always surprised at what new facets there are for us to discover about each – hobbies, history, thoughts, and so on. This gathering was no different, and not least for a story that involved a hike up a mysterious mountain, a secret door only found through friendship with mysterious strangers, a trek to dangerous heights, and finally a return to home & safety. I’m not saying I’m pastor of famous hobbits…..but I’m not not saying I’m pastor of famous hobbits either!
It occurs to me that perhaps I don’t make the offer often or publicly enough, so I want to be sure to say that if you’d like to have your own dinner hangout with the pastor, I’d be happy to get to know you a little better, share a meal together, and enjoy each other’s company. It may take a little scheduling, but give me a call if you’re interested!
You all know I’m a Star Trek fan, but I’m also a fan of good music of both the secular and sacred variety. Among my favorites are chant, folk music, and poignant soundtracks from television, movies, and video games (among so much more out there!). The gift of music & song is a source of great joy. When this last week’s musical episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (‘Subspace Rhapsody’) dropped, I was prepared to be disappointed even while holding out hope that it would be good. I’m happy to report that was an absolute banger of a good time – excellent Star Trek storytelling, a smattering of musical styles (sung well, no less!), and clever lyrics that developed the characters and showcased some real talent among the actors. The whole series is worth watching, but if you enjoy even a bit of Star Trek and appreciate music of various types, this is an episode you should watch!
Back here in regular – or at least, differently geeky – space, we’ve got a few neat things coming up at the parish. I’m especially anticipating our penultimate ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions this Thursday. There will be a brief presentation (“Marriage in society and in the Church”) followed by an open period for questions asked in-person or anonymously. I hope you’ll come enjoy food, fellowship, and an opportunity to learn more about the faith together.
Be sure to also mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 15th – the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a holy day of obligation for all Catholics and we’ll be offering two Masses here at Saint Mark parish – one at 9:30 am and the other at 6:30 pm. If you’d like to prepare a little in advance, Pope Francis’ angelus address from 2022 on this mystery of our faith is a brief but lovely reflection that you may enjoy.
This last week also marked the memorial of Saint John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. One of my brother priests pointed out that he is the sole saint canonized from among that demographic. A humbling reminder of our need for holy parish priests, both those already in ministry and those yet to hear & respond to God’s call. Please join me in prayer for our current clergy and those whom God is inviting to serve as priests in our archdiocese.
May your week be a blessed one. Know of my prayers for you all.
Yours in Christ,
Some neat Catholic tidbits from the week ahead:
Sunday, August 6 – Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. I had the privilege of visiting here in 2006 while on a study abroad pilgrimage at seminary. Of all the places we visited, this was perhaps the most impactful to me personally – something about both the church and grounds filled me with a sense of peace. I could understand why Saint Peter wanted to pitch tents and stay there forever! But the Transfiguration serves not only a place to visit, but a foretaste of the transformation the Lord desires for us. Check out Bishop Barron’s 2017 homily on this very idea and how it is meant to spur us closer to Christ.
Tuesday, August 8 – I sometimes joke that the Dominicans here in Seattle are just the worst – they’re intellectually rigorous while also being down-to earth, have their own special liturgical rite, dedicate themselves to ministry across the world, wear awesome habits, and otherwise make the rest of us look bad!
But serious, the Dominicans – particularly the men serving at Blessed Sacrament parish and the UW Newman Center – are an extraordinary blessing to the Church at large and in our archdiocese. If you are ever in the area, their parish church is worth a visit to both see and pray in. If you know one, be sure wish them a happy feast day and to pray for them & their ministry this week.
Thursday, August 10 – ‘Turn me over, I’m done on this side’ is perhaps Saint Lawrence’s most famous quip. This was offered as he was roasted to death for defying the prefect of Rome. The prefect had previously demanded that Saint Lawrence – deacon of Rome and steward of the material goods of the Church & responsible for giving collected alms to the poor – turn over the treasures of the Church. When the deadline came, Saint Lawrence showed up with the poor of the city, proclaiming that they were true riches of the Church.
We, too, ought to take care to attend to the needs of the poor in our midst. I suspect I am not alone in often overthinking my response to those who ask for my help – potentially to the point of avoiding the poor altogether. May we take the time to not only respond, but to meet, care for, and unite ourselves with the poor in our midst.
Saint Lawrence is also the patron saint of deacons. Let us be sure to pray for our own deacon, Deacon Kirk, and for all those who serve as deacons across the archdiocese and throughout the Church.
Friday, August 11 – Speaking of the poor, we are reminded this week of the ‘Poor Clares’, founded by Saint Clare, whose memorial is today. Inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, she voluntarily embraced poverty and a life of radical dependence on the Lord, focused on meditation & prayer. A community of women – many of whom were also former noblewomen – sprang up in her stead and so was founded the Order of Saint Clare. Read about her life & work at Loyola Press.