Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Being the unrepentant Anglophile that I am, my alarm went off at 5:00 AM on Saturday, May 6th so that I could watch the entire Coronation ceremony of King Charles III. I watched (and listened) with awe as the two-hour ceremony unfolded. It was an impressive display of pagentry in which the British people are such experts.
There were several significant moments which will remain in my memory, one of which was the young chorister from His Majesty’s Chapel Royal who, at the very beginning of the ceremony, stood before the king and said in a very confident voice: “Your Majesty, as children of the kingdom of God we welcome you in the name of the King of kings.” To which the king replied: “In his name and after his example I come not to be served but to serve.”
Later on, following the crowning of the king, he was handed the Orb, representing the world under Christ, and a Sceptre with Cross, representing earthly power and representing spiritual authority exercised chiefly in mercy. You can see these regalia in the photo to the right.
Later that same afternoon, I participated in the Liturgy of Confirmation at the Cathedral of St. Joseph during which 31 of our young parishioners were anointed with the Sacred Chrism as they received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Archbishop Blair.
During the liturgy, I had a perfect view of the great West window of the Cathedral which depicts Christ the King, holding an orb and sceptre. I was immediately reminded of the statement said by King Charles: “In his name…I come not to be served but to serve.”
It is now one week later, and this weekend we are celebrating the First Eucharist of 26 children of our parish. This, too, is a very significant event in the life our parish, and especially for those who will receive the Body of Christ for the first time. This event always evokes memories of my own First Communion some 62 years ago, and I hope it revives memories of your own.
Today, we welcome our children to the Table of the Lord. This further step, following Baptism which made them “children of the kingdom of God,” brings them closer to the heart of Jesus, who came, not to be served, but to serve. In another six or seven years, these same children will be Confirmed in the Spirit, fully initiating them into the Christian faith.
It is so appropriate that our First Eucharist occurs this weekend on which we celebrate Mother’s Day, for it is through the faith of our parents that our Catholic traditions are handed down to us. Their love and example have brought these children to this moment, which should be treasured and renewed through the course of years. Jesus is our constant source of nourishment and we must allow ourselves to be fed at His Table of Word and Eucharist on a weekly basis.
At the same time, however, I am mindful of those mothers in our world and in our country, whose children will not be sitting at the family table today because they have been lost to violence and war. I think of the mothers in Ukraine, Sudan or Haiti; in Allen, Texas and so many other cities in our nation, including our own, whose children have been taken from them far too soon because of military conflict, gang warfare, gun violence or bullying.
May Mary, our Blessed Mother, who knew deeply the pain of suffering, be with all those mothers who grieve the death of their children. Let us continue to pray, and work for, an end to the manifold needless suffering that continues to afflict our world and nation.
May God’s blessings and love come upon all our mothers, grandmothers, and those who are like a mother to us.
Blessings on your week ahead!
Fr. Tim Shreenan, O.F.M.Pastor