I’m beginning now to recover from what was an exhausting weekend.
Saturday began with our first annual Bulldog Challenge (the bulldog is our high school mascot). The challenge consisted of a five kilometer walk/run/bike and was very successful. Around one hundred and fifty people came out for the challenge.
I hadn’t planned on joining the walk, but only on popping out to send them off. Once there, a good number of parishioners convinced me to join them, so I walked back to the rectory, changed my shoes, and off I walked. It wasn’t too bad, though the weather was exceptionally warm.
After the Saturday evening Mass our annual parish picnic commenced. It was held on the grounds of our high school for the first time this year. It worked out much better than at the grade school – where it is usually held – because it was on grass and not blacktop, and thus was both cooler and softer. It was almost much more spread out.
We were blessed with fairly good weather Saturday evening; it wasn’t what I would have preferred, but it was comfortable enough. Sunday was another story altogether.
In the middle of my homily at the early Mass – very close to 7:45 a.m. - the power went out, not only to the church but to the rectory, parish center, grade school and high school as well. In total, some four thousand people were without power and our picnic was to begin at Noon.
I paused for a few seconds waiting for the power to come back on, thinking it would only be momentary. It wasn’t. So off I preached, shouting the homily as best I could. Power was not yet restored at the end of Mass and it was getting quite toasty inside.
I then began to get rather concerned for the state of our picnic. After being informed that our excellent workers in the grade school basement were making noodles in the dark, our deacon told me they thought they put the right amount of pepper in, but couldn’t quite be sure; salt and pepper look very alike in the dark! He also said they were mashing potatoes by flashlight! I wish I could have been there.
Just before our second Mass at 9:15 we received word that “they” were going to try to reroute power from a city twenty minutes north of us and if it worked, we should have power just after 9:00. If not, we wouldn’t have power until 2:00! Thanks be to God the rerouting worked.
As all of this was taking place, local businesses were calling us offering the use of their facilities and parishioners began hauling in their own generators. It was great to see the people pulling together in such strange circumstances.
With the power outage I lost the homily I preached Saturday night because I forgot to save it, which explains why it hasn't yet been posted. I know. Sunday morning I preached a very different homily due to a high profile occurrence of underage drinking Saturday night. I am told it was the best homily I have preached. It has, of course, generated much discussion in the community.
I reminded all parents that they have a serious obligation which they accepted at the baptism of their child to do all in their power to help their child attain salvation. I don’t remember exactly what I said but I know I said that the thief had not broken into the house but was let in through the front door. And more, parents hadn’t kept their children’s hearts "free from the poison of sin" but gave them the very cup of sin from which to drink. I tried to remind everyone about the serious moral implications of such activities.
The parish picnic resumed Sunday at 11:00 and I returned to the grounds, spending most of the day in the “bank” where it was air conditioned. I wandered around the picnic about once every hour or so to see everyone.
We were very concerned about the picnic in the afternoon. It was so hot that very few people came out. Thankfully, it cooled down slightly in the evening and a large crowd turned out about sunset.
After drawing the raffles at 11:00 I returned home and finally got to bed about 12:30.
I bought two tickets for Pope Benedict XVI (I wanted to give him a new grill), but, sadly, I wasn't able to draw his name.
I'll post pictures from the weekend sometime tomorrow.
It was, all in all, an exhausting weekend, but a very good one. I haven’t heard a final report yet, but – considering it was 104 degree most of the picnic, we did extremely well.
Soccer practice began today at 3:00. It was only ninety-four degrees today... It went well, I think, but I do hope the temperature goes down soon.