Sunday, January 7th 2018
By: Father Tom Hurley
JoAnn O’Brien, our long-time, extraordinarily gifted and outrageously kind Wedding Coordinator here at Old St. Pat’s, came back to work this week and discovered what she always discovers every year after Christmas, a voice-mail box filled! As you can imagine, Christmas is a pretty popular time for guys to get down on their knees and “pop” the question with a ring ready to go. Likewise, couples will rush to the phones and start inquiring about potential dates with Old St. Pat’s and our availability to have their weddings. God bless JoAnn, and the countless phone calls and emails she handles on a daily basis! Wow…
In case you ever wondered how us clergy find our way into the wedding scene, what normally happens is that we receive a call or an email from the couples asking us to preside on their special day. No matter how many weddings we do here at Old St. Pat’s, each one is unique and special and I am always honored by the invitations to play a special role in the nuptials.
That was certainly the case this past week with two exceptionally beautiful email invitations by some young adults whose weddings will be taking place here at Old St. Pat’s in this calendar year. One email came from Bill and the other one came from Nicole. While unique in their own way, both emails from this aspiring bride and groom were two of the most delightful reflections about their experience of finding Old St. Patrick’s as their spiritual home. You would think that some bride or groom could just easily write, “Can you do my wedding on such-and-such date?”, but to Bill and Nicole’s credit (and by the way they are not a couple…just two separate individuals who wrote to me!), they both spent a lot of time crafting and being extremely intentional about their emails and their way of inviting me to preside at their weddings. I was so impressed with their deep sense of spirit and their desire to seek out a church that would both welcome them and challenge them to be better disciples and people of faith. Common to both emails from Bill and Nicole were young people who were very conscientious and deliberate when it came to finding a church that they could call their “spiritual” home. Old St. Pat’s wasn’t just the “pretty” church to have a wedding, but both of these couples searched diligently a few years ago for a place to enrich their spiritual lives. Each of them spoke of the encouraging, inspiring experience they have received when they come to this place. They highlighted the special atmosphere of hospitality and the profound sense of belonging they felt as they continued coming into this community, and from their experience of calling Old St. Pat’s their church, both Bill and Nicole expounded on the fact that they have felt a deeper sense of mission (my words, not theirs) in living out their faith on a daily basis.
I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to receive such emails from people for whom church is an extremely important part of their life’s journey, especially some of the young adults among us. Being intentional and finding a place where the gospel comes alive and it connects with our spirits is a great sign of life and hope for the church.
On this Epiphany Sunday as we contemplate again the ride of the Magi, let’s continue to be aware of the travelers who come in to our midst. Like the Magi, we seek Holiness which is expressed in so many ways, including a place of welcome and challenge. Like the Magi, once we’ve discovered a place of nourishment, it’s then time for us to bring the gift of God’s life and love and be on our way, back into the world which is waiting for us. Like the Magi, we may travel far and wide to find the kind of reception they found. May the Spirit of God keep guiding us gently on our path and lead us deeper into the Mystery of Love.
Happy New Year. Be well and be blessed in 2018.
Father Tom Hurley