...and it isn't half finished yet.
Sunday afternoon the parish hosted an open house for me to allow the parishioners to wish me well before things became too chaotic (for which I am very grateful now).
The above picture was taken before the last 9:15 a.m. Sunday Mass I celebrated in the parish. The lector and I must have just exchanged a humorous comment when the picture was taken.
It was a very touching afternoon, filled with many tears and much laughter. I will miss this parish immensely. You can see a few pictures from the reception here.
With the preaching of my farewell homily at two Masses prior to the farewell reception, the day was very emotional and quite exhausting. The day ended with dinner with two families followed by the beginning of my packing.
Three of the high school students came by to help begin packing my library. After an hour and a half of packing, we were almost halfway through my books. Another group of students and I worked a bit more on the books last night and tonight, and are now almost finished with my books; I think we have only the ones in my office left. The books are requiring a lot more boxes than I anticipated. The students have proven both good company and good helpers, and for their generous help I am very grateful.
As all of this was happening, the health of my pastor's father continued to decline. Today he was placed in hospice care and is with us in the rectory, together with my pastor's immediate family, who have been with us for several days now. Please keep his father, and all of them, in your prayers. His family is a delight and it is always good to have them here, even in these difficult days.
I taught my pastor's classes at the high school Monday and Tuesday and had a funeral yesterday, as well. He has a funeral tomorrow and I have another funeral on Saturday while he has two weddings that day.
I wish that there was more I could do to ease his schedule, but I'm not sure what else I can do, since I have my own pressing duties to attend to. You might be able to guess that these past few days have been filled with much chaos, as the exceptional circumstances are tended to at the same time as the usual daily work.
Consequently, we are both very tired and, at least for me, a bit stressed. I've slept precious little the past three nights and have had only a few moments of "down time" each day. I'm in need of a holiday, but cannot possibly take one. Please keep me also in your prayers.
I leave the parish next week Saturday and hope to be able to find time to pack up my belongings before then... At the rate things are going that seems less and less likely, but it must be done.
On a happier note, a much awaited package arrived for me on Monday from the land of rainbows:
Inside the box were contents that really brightened my day:
Pineapple shortbread cookies! Thank you, Sarah!!!