Notes from Deacon Yanish
Since retiring recently from my job as chaplain at Talahi Care Center in St. Cloud, I have had the blessed opportunity to attend Mass in my own parish. After spending almost all of my Sundays for the last 20 some years leading services at the care center, it is truly a blessing to be “home.” The past two Sundays were First Holy Communion Sundays and the liturgies were very special.
The excitement and chatter before Mass of all of the First Communicants, the proud parents and grandparents and other attendees filled the air, the church was packed. I was glad I came a bit early. I had the chance to observe a truly vibrant faith community. To be honest, the folks at the nursing home were not always that vibrant. The wonderful music and such appropriate lyrics provided also by members of this faith-filled parish gathering was inspirational to say the very least. The powerful words of the Scriptures and the homilies by Father Tim and Deacon Pareja were so meaningful for everyone present; young and old alike.
I loved seeing the little second graders coming up with their parents to receive the Holy Eucharist for the very first time. I loved seeing the little ones so dressed up, many of the girls in their white dresses and the boys in a dress shirt and many with neckties. So Awesome. It was apparent to me and probably to everyone else that they had been taught the “special-ness” of the day; again by dedicated members of the parish who taught the classes and led the young ones to this day. We have a wonderful staff at the school and in our religious education catechists. On seeing the children well dressed and on their best behavior, I took a moment to look around at the adults in attendance. For the most part they were not wearing their everyday jeans and t-shirts, and yes most of them were pretty well behaved too.
But unfortunately not all adults seemed to be all that happy to be there. Even as they went forward to receive Christ’s Body and Blood in their cargo shorts, t-shirts, low cut and tight blouses and worse, it seemed to be almost a boring routine. I felt kind of sad about that. That same day this bulletin came out with an article written by our parish’s Pastoral Minister, Deb Rudolph. In the article she outlined the importance of reverence in receiving Holy Eucharist. I pray that those folks who needed a reminder would take heed and take another look at how they approach Holy Communion. In today’s gospel when Jesus says to his followers: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Let’s take the example of our First Communicants by consciously and intentionally showing the proper love, respect, and reverence each and every time we come forward. Let’s act like it is our FIRST time EVERY time.
Peace, Deacon Steve