Thursday, May 12, 2011
Easter and beyond
Well I cannot believe I haven't posted since Palm Sunday.
Suffice it to say we had a very busy Holy Week and Easter. Last year, once Easter was finished, we didn't see a priest again for 4 months dramatically complicating our First Communion children who were looking forward to First Penance and First Communion. Consequently, this year we decided to do First Penance and First Communion during our Easter services, which were fantastic.
Fr. Bill Martin, once again, travelled from Vermont to be with us for Holy Week. Fr. Martin is a retired Air Force Chaplain who enjoys staying at the AUTEC base. He is also an avid fly fisherman so whenever he's not in church, he is wading in the surf looking for the elusive bonefish - and Andros is the bonefish capitol of the world!
We did 4 Palm Sunday services to kick things off, then I had a few days to prepare for Easter. This began with preparing for the footwashing on Holy Thursday (we only did one of those with all parishes coming together for that one). Then there were 3 Good Friday services (Fr. Martin did the one at AUTEC and did two, one at Cargill Creek and Fresh Creek. Then it was off to build the fire pit for the Vigil, prepare the candle that St. Timothy's in Norwood, MA had graciously donated, set up for an enlarged choir and prepare the oils for those who would be baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil. Oh, and don't let me forget that during the afternoon, we did a First Penance Service for the children.
When Fr. Martin saw the fire pit and the driftwood I had accumulated he commented that wood that has been saturated in salt water doesn't burn that well, creating a bit of anxiety for me, but when the fire was started it was the best we have had here. Literally, flames were 3'-4' high and it went off without a hitch. My singing the Exultet - not so much. Practicing that 5 minute solo was great, but real time my voice cracked once or twice, c'est la vis!
For me, the high point of the Vigil is conveying the sacraments on my RCIA candidates (yes I said MY RCIA candidates). We had 4 people in the program this year but 2 had missed so many classed due to the demands of their job we decided they should wait - but the other 2, a husband who was baptized and confirmed, and his wife, who was confirmed, were literally beaming! Then, 4 children joined them and all 6 recieved their first communion.
The Vigil took about 2 and a half hours and then on Sunday we were at AUTEC for an early morning Easter Day service, where another child recieved First Penance before the service, and then First Communion during Mass.
After AUTEC we headed south to Cargill Creek for another Easter Day service where, yet another child recieved First Penance before the service, and then First Communion during Mass.
This particular service had another great event for me, one of the children from the community at the northern end of Andros in Mastic Point was baptized and recieved First Communion. I was so thrilled to see the fruit of all those hour-long drives up north bearing fruit in this way.
So - Easter was a hit! He is risen, yes He is truly risen!
After Easter the Archdiocese has its annual Clergy Retreat, so I packed up for a week in Nassau and Ginni headed back to the US to get in some nursing time (late rent from our US tenants is creating a financial challenge for us). She should be back mid-May.
I can honestly say this was the best of my retreats here in Nassau. It is my 3rd Easter retreat and this one was quite good, focusing on the role of Clergy, our ministry, our call, how we work together (or not) - very real-world practical material from a Fr. Ron Knott from St. Meinrad's Seminary in Indiana.
Now that I am back on Andros (sans Ginni) it is CCD prep all morning, and CCD all afternoon. I do have a few marriage prep/baptism prep/RCIA sessions to fill my evenings - and then there is the ever-present need for homily prep, writing up the parish bulletin, Sundays' Prayers of the Faithful, and the financial reports - all those behind the scenes things that need to get done to keep the place running.
Well, enough for now - please keep us in your prayers - till next time.