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May 14, 2017

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

JMJ

Anniversaries

This week’s bulletin article was composed last Monday morning, on the road, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, home of the Brandywine River Museum.

After a very busy Lent and Easter, I felt I was due for a little time off so I went to visit relatives and to go on some adventures. Last Saturday evening, I concelebrated Mass in a little town that is named after a Russian prince who gave up his prestige and his fortune and became a priest. Fr. Demetrius Gallitzin was one of the first priests ordained in this country. That day was actually the anniversary of his death in 1840. Sadly, I think I was the only one in town who knew of this landmark date despite the fact that he is being considered for sainthood. It was also the anniversary of my father’s being buried there at St. Mary’s Cemetery in May of 2001.

I continued on Route 22 across that beautiful state, passing over, around, and through many mountain ridges, all the way to Philadelphia where I took a selfie with one of my favorite saints, Joan of Arc (her feast day is later this month). She is next to the art museum and there’s another famous statue there. Far more people have their picture taken with Rocky Balboa than with Joan.

But the thing that really inspired me to take off, however, was an invitation to participate in a special event near the little town of New Hope, an hour north of Philly. It was another anniversary. George Nakashima is a famous Japanese American woodworker who was a hero to many of us back in the day. This was the 50th anniversary of the opening of his studio, which is now a national landmark. He died in 1990, but his daughter Mira continues to maintain the Studio and the business. I learned that the Nakashima family is Catholic. I found this a bit surprising; I thought he might have been Buddhist. But many people attended the gathering and admired the many beautiful pieces of wood and furniture on display. One of the aspects of his legacy is the crafting of several “Peace Altars” made from thick slabs from a very large walnut tree. The slabs were opened up like a book to make for a very, very wide altar. The wood pieces in our activity center lounge area were inspired by this style which he made famous, that of the book-matched surface with natural edge. (Remember, that wood was harvested from our grounds when we built our school).

This weekend we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima. I’ve included a picture taken at her garden shrine in the little town of Loretto, the town actually founded by Fr. Gallitzin. It shows the three shepherd children venerating Our Lady in front of a background picture of the beautiful Allegheny Mountains. I’ve made many visits to these grounds over the years. Loretto has always been one of my favorite places to visit. It’s so peaceful there.

 

Addenda:

Our First Communion children crowned Mary this weekend. We did, however, use another statue and a different crown. It was the image of Mary as she appeared in 1917. This statue will be used throughout the next six months.

Congratulations to our Confirmandis who received the sacrament of Confirmation last Wednesday.

 

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