A priesthood anniversary to remember

| August 30, 2010
Archbishop Nienstedt

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt

It was supposed to be a quiet, uneventful gathering at a local rectory to celebrate the 65th anniversary of priesthood ordination for Msgr. James Lavin, now residing with the Little Sisters of the Poor.

When I arrived, the pastor and parochial vicar, two neighboring priests, a transitional deacon, three seminarians and Msgr. Lavin had already assembled. Half the crew was busy in the kitchen preparing beef stroganoff and layering asparagus tips on a pan to be warmed. With pasta ready to boil, we all retired to the living room to pray Evening Prayer.

A social hour followed, during which Monsignor was presented with gifts and cards marking the occasion. He began to tell stories from his days as a professor at the University of St. Thomas. He had the undivided attention of all in the room.

A startling surprise

Just as we were called to dinner and as final preparations were being made at the table, a sudden explosion occurred, a sound like the crashing of a huge crystal chandelier on a concrete floor. We re-entered the kitchen where shards of glass lay strewn everywhere.

Apparently, a Pyrex glass serving dish was positioned with one side next to the open burner and the other facing out onto the room. The difference in degrees, from one side to the other, it was reasoned, was enough to cause the whole dish to burst into a million pieces.

Glass was everywhere, as far as four feet across the room. But what was even more ominous was the presence of glass on every side of the cooking pot that contained the night’s dinner! What to do? The discussion began.

Well, we could try to strain the gravy laden mixture to see if any pieces of glass could be found. We could try to eat the meal and hope that no glass would be found. Ultimately, we agreed to dump the contents and call out for pizza.

The parochial vicar came up with a better suggestion: Let’s check the food pantry and see if we might find some spaghetti sauce. Sure enough, three jars were produced and the meal was salvaged.

Hearty laughter

As the Italian sauce and German noodles were being served, one of the seminarians asked when the asparagus would be served. The red faced cook admitted that in the mayhem caused by the explosion, the asparagus was overcooked and it, too, had to be thrown away. We all had a hearty laugh over that.

I am sure we will all be telling this tale years from now, no doubt with an embellishment or two. But for Msgr. Lavin on his 65th anniversary, it was a memorable evening.

Glass stroganoff, anyone?

God bless you!

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Category: Only Jesus

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