Father Illo leaves us at the end of this month. His going away party is July 21st.
Our new pastor will be Father Mark Wagner, currently at Sacred Heart Parish in Turlock, California.
My only prayer, right now, is that he loves 12 Step Programs. There are a few movers and shakers at my parish that have been slightly hostile to the fellowship that saved my life (and countless others). If we do not have a pastor that loves 12 Step Programs, we could lose our space.
Well, we put this in the Hands of God and pray for the power to carry out His Will today. I will miss Father Illo. I don't know Father Mark other than he is orthodox and devout and that is good enough for me. Having a devout and orthodox priest at the head of the family always makes life within that family happier and healthier. With that in mind, it won't really matter in the long run whether Father Mark like 12 Step Programs or not. He will be my pastor, my priest and my shepherd and I will stay close to Christ and the Church HE founded by being as faithful as I can, one day at a time.
Of course, I have this attitude because of my own personal conversion story. After being away from the Eucharist for years I vowed to never EVER separate myself from Him again. I don't care if we have altar rails, wear veils, speak in Latin or say 'consubstantial'. If they tell me the newest rubrics for the Mass require me to hop down the aisle with one hand over my heart while holding a sparkler in order to receive Holy Communion I will do it.
I guess that is called the virtue of obedience. I call it The Third Step. I have accepted the Authority of the Magisterium and I no longer have a problem admitting when I do not completely understand the reasoning behind something or acknowledging that someones secular argument might make sense. What I will not give up, no matter what, is The Eucharist. So if that means women cannot be priests, then women cannot be priests or my parish wants me to dress better than I would to a beach barbecue when attending Mass then by golly I am going to try and do that too.
This virtue of obedience seeps into all aspects of my life today. It means being obedient to spiritual principles even when it would be so much easier to rebel. It means doing the deal when it is tough and causes pain or fear.
Ryan, my soldier nephew, has re-enlisted in the US Army. Part of me is very proud of him and another part of me wants to hop a plane to Germany, drive to where ever he is, tell him to get in the flipping car and stop all this nonsense. For Heaven's Sake, wasn't combat duty in Afghanistan ENOUGH FOR YOU???? Why not become a high school history teacher and be done with it.
That's my 'mother's heart' talking. I did not give birth to him but I am his spiritual mother and I want him safe, sound and dying like Andy Griffith - at home, in bed, in his sleep. Well, that may or may not happen. Plenty of men and women have fought wars and returned home to 'normal' lives. What I have to remember is my life, and Ryan's life, belong to God. We are stewards of our lives. We need to do our best to live that life which God intended for us at the moment of our creation and makes possible by never, ever turning His attention from us. Our call is to be faithful and holy, not successful or rich or good looking....just faithful and holy.
And that's tough enough.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone! And welcome, Father Mark!