Remembering to be present

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | May 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

We remember. We remember all those who have served in the Armed Forces and gave their lives for our nation. We remember all those who have died after serving others in different ways. And we remember in our prayers all those who will be visiting the graves of loved ones this Memorial Day weekend.

Father Charles Lachowitzer

Father Charles Lachowitzer

Each year, this time of remembering the dead coincides in the Church with a season of remembering the living with first reconciliations and Communions, confirmations and ordinations. In the celebrations of the sacraments, there are of course many people involved in catechesis, preparations and all sorts of details. For sure, there are parents, godparents, sponsors and witnesses. It is a good time to remember them and offer our prayers of thanksgiving for their support during key moments of our lives.

There are also all those outside of the immediate family who take the time to attend these central celebrations in the life of the Church. I remember all the parishioners who made it a point to attend a wedding, baptism, funeral or ordination to be a sign of support and prayers.

I remember a baptism class where a couple new to the parish had just become the new parents of their first child. They announced at the class that they were moving again because of a job transfer. The parish’s date for the celebration of the sacrament of baptism was in the middle of their move, and I agreed to arrange a special time for this family. The entire baptism class showed up for the baptism.

At baptisms, first Communions, confirmations, weddings and ordinations, I like to thank all the aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends and parishioners who attend these celebrations and, by doing so, give such a beautiful witness to the importance of “being there.” In contrast, it does not take much effort to show up just for the reception.

I remember greeting people before a Saturday evening Mass while the associate priest was in the confessional hearing confessions. A little girl came up to me and asked, “Why are those people standing in line to go into that room?” I explained that they were going to confession — a special time when Jesus forgives our sins. The little girl asked if she could stand in line. I said, “Not yet, but some day after you make your first confession.”

That celebration of her first confession came and went, and so too did her first Communion. It was a regular Saturday late afternoon when I saw her standing in line for confessions. She waved to me, smiled broadly and gave me a “thumbs up.” I would like to thank all the people who wait in line for confessions each week. You never know who is watching your example.

In hospital rooms, nursing homes and home hospice, there have been those times when nurses, doctors and caregivers step out of their busy schedules and make themselves present for the anointing of the sick. Their pause in prayer gives me pause as I hear them praying aloud with me. So too, I am always moved when I see uniformed first responders in attendance at a funeral.

Shortly after my ordination to the priesthood, I had no way of knowing that there would be dozens of cards from people I did not know. From that point forward,
I remind seminarians that after ordination: “There will be people who will send you cards whose name you will not recognize and whom you will never meet.” To this day, I have not met all the people who have prayed for me.

To all who are blessed and privileged to have received the sacraments in this Easter season: There are people you do not expect or do not know or will never know who are praying for you, encouraging you in the practice of the faith, and sitting in the pews celebrating with you the mystery of the person and real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacramental life of the Church.

Let us offer our prayers of gratitude to God for all those who have remembered us in their prayers and supported us by being present in the sacramental milestones of our lives.

Recordando estar presente

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Category: Only Jesus