Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Respect Life Sunday relfections

I started to work on this a while ago in October and just remembered that it was here in the edit pile, so I'm attempting to see what I remember out of it.

This past Sunday was Respect Life Sunday, it also happened to be the annual Communion Breakfast for the Rosary Society of which my mom is a member. So when she greeted me with, "but it's Fr. Geno" I couldn't really say no. Fr. Geno was the priest who ran the youth group while I was in high school and he has been quite influential in my life. FG, as he is more commonly known to me and others, happened to be saying the 8:30am Mass so I opted to go as breakfast followed Mass.

FG began Mass by talking about Msgr. Joseph Brestel, who served St. Anthony's as pastor and the Diocese on some level as well, though I am not 100% sure in what capacity he served on the Diocesan level. Msgr. Brestel who as Fr. Geno said "no matter how he felt or what his health was would get up and say Mass, this Mass each week." I had the privilege of becoming a reader and read at the 8:30 Mass and even in high school noticed how traditional Msgr. Brestel was, as in he was "old school" and said "pray brethren vs. pray my brothers and sisters" and even back then I liked that. Now I can see the graces that God gave me by placing this man in my life, and maybe I should start asking him for some prayers for the success of the new translations.

Knowing it was Respect Life Sunday, I was interested to see what the priests were going to talk about. Fr. Geno surprised me as I was expecting the classic younger priest with a soft hitting homily, and that is not what I got. I don't know if it's because FG and I have gotten older or if I just pay attention more to what is said than I did in high school. Fr. Geno's homily did focus on marriage and that is between one man and one woman. I don't remember the homily anymore, that's what happens when you let 2 and a half months go by with out blogging.

I picked up a fellow young adult and brought her to the Rosary Society Communion Breakfast, we were a touch annoyed that seats were assigned so that we couldn't sit next to each other but we worked around that. Fr. Geno was the guest speaker and spoke of how looking around the room he was reminded of how many people had lost loved ones since he was last at St. Anthony's. He mentioned that it is always hard for a priest to come back to a parish he has been at, as you're worried about who will be offended if you show up to something or not show up to something. He spoke about his new project that Bishop Serratelli lined up for him. It was a good explanation of the vow of obedience. Long story short Papa Arty sent Fr. Geno over to Rome for his doctorate and now Fr. Geno is in charge of the Diocesan office of Evangelization and the first and only Catholic evangelization center St. Paul Inside the Walls, a nice play on St. Paul Outside the Walls.

During his speech Fr. Geno reminded me of why I was attracted to him and youth group in high school. He knows how to reach out and bring someone to the Church. Maybe not in the traditional manner, but it works. More on FG in a later blog.

I might have been on as Extraordinary Minister at the 6pm Mass so that could explain why I was back for a second Mass. At the 6pm Mass Fr. Brian gave an excellent homily and I told him as much after Mass too. Fr. Brian had typed his homily and did not seem like his normal self, but that didn't stop the usual homily. (i know now why, all I'm saying is say a prayer for his overall health, nothing major, just a few extra prayers. Said health issue has been resolved, but he could still do with some prayers.)

Fr. Brian focused more on the marriage aspect than respect because as you know with marriage brings kids. Both priests mentioned the two becoming one though I think Fr. Geno focused more on it than Fr. Brian did. Fr. Brian does win for best line: "it's like chocolate and peanut butter, you put two different things together and get a resses peanut butter cup... chocolate and chocolate is still chocolate, it doesn't change or make something new" I paraphrased, but you get the point. He gave a few other similar examples. I thanked him after Mass for his homily and said, it's nice to hear it from the pulpit. He responded with something that I can't remember now, but it was along the lines of being a heavy hitter with the truth vs. being soft.

What stayed with me is that Fr. Geno seemed stronger in his defense of the Church than I would have expected from him while I was part of youth group. Granted he was newly ordained back then and I wasn't nearly as don't mess with the Church as I am now. Fr. Brian has only been ordained 5 years or so to Fr. Geno's 16, but both are around the same age and maybe that's the difference. We're all older, I tend to pay attention to what the priest had to say and making sure it's correct. ;) Either way I was happy with what I heard on Respect Life Sunday. :)