Those of you who hear me preach on a regular basis know that one of my perennial themes is that every now and then you can see and feel a foretaste of the Kingdom of God. When I use that word, I mean that universal condition when everything and everyone does the will of God. Our experience of life is that, while good in itself, it is marked by struggle with that which Jesus came to conquer: sin, death, Satan, injustice, and a world where power supports the “first” and the “last” are powerless. Remember how often Jesus says “the first shall be last” and “the one who is great among you is the one who serves.”
That kingdom began in the death and Resurrection of Jesus but will not be complete until Jesus comes again on the clouds of glory.
Still, there are moments in life, short bursts, when we can see and feel the way life should be lived. Anyone who sees an Emmaus weekend will see an example. This past Sunday we had another glimpse of what the kingdom will be.
A team of about 18 people came together to celebrate Fr. Joe Palacino’s 21 years with us. It was a perfect day. The Mass was joyful, the food superb, the hall looked elegant (no small miracle in itself). The committee did all this out of love for Fr. Joe and his goodness, holiness, and generosity. Who they were as a community mirrored Fr. Joe. If you looked and listened you could see people creating community with no self interest involved in any way.
I am especially grateful to all who worked on the day. Special thanks goes to the kitchen crew: Tom Bennett, Bill Groener, Kevin Harrington, Lee L’Archevesque. They were ably assisted by so many others such as the whole Russo family, Vilmarie Bennett, Anna L’Archevesque, MaryAnn Holowinko, Jeff Kress, Tom and Lorraine Larkin, Phil and Carol Carragine. Andrea Licek, Dan and Florence Loch, Jack O’Melia, Dick and Annette Maiberger, Kathy Crosby, Jen Prescott, Alex and Cornelia Sgoutas, Bob DeSimone, Ginny Konkowski, Tom and Sheila Rietano, Linda and Luca Piacenza, and so many others. This is a parish that is blessed in abundance.
Best of all, Fr. Joe and his family were deeply moved and grateful. Great job everyone especially Lee L’Archevesque and chef Tom Bennett.