EASTER 2021: Beginning to turn a long corner
Most of us who are veterans at our workplaces or in our home life can read the pulse of these familiar environments almost from the moment we enter them. Based on these intuitive readings, we can usually tell if it’s going to be a good day at work or a pleasant family gathering…or not.
As we know, parish life has its own “vibe,” too. There is a particular sense of joyful anticipation that can be perceived in the worship space before a big liturgy. For many of us, it’s been all too long since we experienced this.
But for those of us who participated in the bilingual St. Joseph Feast Day Mass on Friday evening March 19, the “vibe” is back. Parishioners greeted each other warmly (and with appropriate distancing) at the doors, there was a representative mix of the entire parish and its leadership, and a lively overall spirit pervaded the church from front to back, in the look and feel of the church, in the music and in all the ministries.
There is no magic formula for vibrancy in a parish, either momentarily or as an enduring condition. There are also no shortcuts.
What parishioners experienced on St. Joseph Day was the fruit of a lot of teamwork, generosity and investment. A parish’s patronal feast day is one of those moments each year where the seesaw between local and universal celebration tilts more to the local. It’s also sort of a “test” of who is really dedicated to this parish and its flourishing, in this particular space and time, and not just as a generic “franchise” in a worldwide Church. And it was clear on March 19 that there is a lot of “will and want” in the parish for St. Joseph to thrive again. The reconfigured Parish Pastoral Council, just getting to know each other and work together, delivered in their coordination of the event especially well, as did parish pastoral team members and other ministers.
There’s more road to cover before we become a less fragile community, but for one night it was possible to believe that a corner is being turned.