Sunday, July 21
After the 7:00 am and 8:00 am masses this Sunday I will be racing away to Michigan for the remainder of the day. I know it’s not necessary for you to know my every move in this world, but just in case you were wondering, I will be in Stevensville, MI celebrating with a group of people I have known since I was first ordained. Today will mark the 24th annual Sunday Mass I have celebrated for this group of families and friends on this third week of July at a unique little place called The Chalet on the Lake. It’s outdoors. It’s a quick mass. And it’s something that I look forward to every year.
When I was first ordained back in 1993 and served at Most Holy Redeemer in Evergreen Park, I had the great blessing of meeting so many terrific families who welcomed me, not only into their lives but more importantly into the priesthood. Without their goodness and their friendship, I’m not sure where I would be today. I was a young priest in my mid-20s trying to transition into a life that was scary, unusual, and yet one that I had anxiously longed for through many years of seminary formation. By my second summer with them, a group of families invited me to their favorite vacation place, The Chalet on the Lake, a compound of little A-frame cottages nestled along the banks of Lake Michigan, just south of St. Joe’s. Having formed tighter bonds and what I knew were going to be life-long relationships, “they” collectively asked me to offer mass for everyone in 1995 as a way of kicking off their week-long stay at the Chalet, and a result I have been going there ever since. Our numbers have grown and I anticipate that we will have about 150 people for mass today in Stevensville. It’s great fun to be with this wonderful cast of south side characters!
What both fascinates and intimidates me is the fact that many of the parents today who bring their small children to Chalet are the ones who were kids back in 1995 when I began this journey with them. “Where has the time gone” is a common lament from all of us as we become more mindful of the aging process! How could those little kids of 25 years ago already be married with children and renting their own Chalets for the week?
Like many thoughts that go racing through my head today, the one that I always think about with respect to my friends at Chalet on the Lake is, how long will this keep going on? While I am grateful for my health and ability to sneak away on a Sunday morning in July to celebrate the Lord’s Day with them, what about 20 or 30 years from now? Will the next generation of families, parents, kids, and overall vacationers still want the parish priest to make the trek down I-94 for a unique experience of Sunday mass?
I’m mindful of those questions today as we consider Luke’s text about Martha & Mary. Mary invites us into a posture of contemplation. How will we nourish the soul? How do we help form the souls of the next generation? With the fast-paced world in which we live, that seems to be getting even faster, saturated and controlled by the gift of technology, where is there room for the contemplative life and the gift of pondering and praying?
Have a great Sunday here at Old St. Pat’s and a great week ahead.
Father Tom Hurley