A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Goodbye to a Special Priest

We found out that we are losing our wonderful Priest. We've just got to know him, as he's been here a little over two years. He will be going to a Parish in my old home town. They are so lucky to get him. It was as much a surprise to him as it is to us. Our Bishop is retiring and so are many Priests...so many changes are in the wind. Father Nnaso planned an evening called Taste of Nigeria, before he knew that he was going. Our committee was asked, at sort of the last minute, to do the decorating. The Nigerian Nuns were doing the cooking...So, this past week, we have been getting our Church ready for this event. Friday I spent many hours, with others on our committee, making the fellowship hall look like Africa. Ladies were hauling huge palm trees from our Altar to the hall. Up and down stairs with plants and baskets. Father brought over some African artifacts and others brought things from home that looked like they were from Africa. All the tables in the hall were decorated with white and green cloths...each had an African type centerpiece. Palms were placed at the doors and against the posts in the hall. While this was going on downstairs upstairs the Altar was being decorated. It is Pentecost Sunday, so the Altar had to be switched from Easter to red colors. So all the Altar cloths had to be pressed and white put away and red put on. This involves bringing totes up and down the stairs with the Altar materials that we needed. The four doors had to be adorned with wreaths. When I finished upstairs, I went down and worked on Africa. All of the plant pots had to be wrapped in burlap and fastened with raffia. We made an arrangement in one corner of tall and short plants. When it was finished...no one had thought to bring a camera. I'm so mad at myself for this...we were just so busy that no one thought of it.

Then last night, when Joe and I went to Mass, we were sitting there waiting for the Church to fill up. We saw a couple of Nuns come in the door, carrying what appeared to be a big silver jar of some kind. Then others followed...maybe ten, some with African musical instruments. They went over and sat where our little choir usually sits. We noticed that there were no hymns on the board...what were we going to sing? As the Church filled, African instrumental music started. The Nuns were swaying with the music...then they started to sing. They were joyful singing in their native language. We found our toes tapping. When Father came down the aisle...his vestments were of bright red embroidered fabric. Programs were passed out and they were all in the African language. Each part of the Mass had a heading in English and the following words were in their language. It was possible for us to follow this way. As Father said...the Holy Spirit was with us making that possible. The congregation was swaying and keeping beat with this music, by the end of the Mass. I am not a "cradle Catholic" and sometimes I feel that there should be more joy in our Church services. We seem to sing the same hymns over and over...singing with little emotion moving not a muscle. "Remembering the 100th Psalm...Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord."Looking around, some of the older folks didn't move with the music, but for once...I found joy in the Catholic Church.

We are sad to lose this Priest. He's taught us so much about tolerance and love. I wondered, when he came, how a black man would be welcomed into our midst. He's been welcomed with open arms. We've listened to his homilies (always memorized and spoken...not from up on the Altar, but down at our level in the aisles. He has a special little smile and a nod of his head, that I feel comes from trying to teach us a lesson about our sinful ways. We've listened to him sing little children's songs with his homilies. We've seen him Baptist little ones and call them "our little angels." He's blessed the sick and is especially caring to the old people. Last summer found him with a super soaker at a Totus Tuus get together. He was there to assist Joe in the building of his Grotto. His office was opened and he was very accessible to Joe. He was my Priest when I had brain surgery. He prayed with me before, during, and after..at the hospital and in our home. He has a special place in my heart...because of this. I'll miss his Spiritual guidance.



Zoey said...

I am so sorry to hear that you are losing a priest you are so fond of. The same thing has happened to my husband several times in the past few years. He finds it difficult to adjust to a new priest.

I hope his replacement is someone you will eventually be equally as fond of.

Margie's Musings said...

Maybe the next one will be special too in his own way, Balisha.

Balisha said...

I've had four Priests in my life and I've liked them all...for different reasons. The first Priest married us and planted the seed about Catholicism. The second one brought me into the Church.The third one taught me about the Rosary, parts of the Altar,the importance of prayer and the seasons of the Church...He was only here for a short time too. Then the last, Father Nnaso taught me through scripture...how to be a person who tries to live her life like Christ.It's a struggle sometimes, but in going to Mass he taught me that if I fail...I can start over.I'm wondering now what the new Priest will teach me.

acorn hollow said...

It is so hard to lose a spirtual leader someone who you are fond of I am hoping that his replacement will be come as beloved as he is.

Sue said...

You're lucky to have had such special spiritual leaders in your life, Balisha. I hope that your next priest will be able to offer you whatever you might need.

Barbee' said...

Oh, no! At least this will permit him to spread his goodness and abilities. What an interesting post!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Balisha, thank you. This is a very special post. I pray his replacement will grow to be just as special.