The last few weeks have been very busy ones here at St. Pius X Catholic Church:
We heralded the visit of Auxiliary Bishop Luis Zarama when he came to confirm 30 of our teenagers on March 25th.
We also had an extremely beautiful Sacred Triduum (April 13 – 15):
On Holy Thursday, we priests and deacons washed the feet of 12 prominent and representative members of our congregation and celebrated the institution of the Eucharist and the Priesthood.
On Good Friday, we listened to the faith journey recountments of our parishioners at the Seven Last Words (in both English and Spanish), we prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in both languages, prayed the Stations of the Cross in both languages (quite notably in a very special way with the bilingual Outdoor Stations of the Cross) and venerated the crucifix upon which our Lord hung for the eradication of our sins.
On Holy Saturday, at the Great Vigil of Easter, we welcomed 16 people into full communion with the Catholic Church (3 baptisms included). It was wonderful on all accounts.
This past weekend we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday.
In every celebration, the work of our co-head Sacristans, Charlotte York and Jennifer Rhoads, made every celebration gorgeous with the changing decorations of the church and chapel. Iris Grant made the church windows and Narthex wreaths bloom with bright spring flowers. I cannot thank them enough for their tireless dedication to the worship environment and integrity of the several Services. The same is true for Kevin Klein, our Director of Operations, who helped them every step of the way. The same must also be said of our Altar Servers and their adult directors. I also want to thank Jessica Garcia, Director of Hispanic Ministries, and the Young Adults Ministry for making the Good Friday Outdoor Stations so realistic and moving.
I also owe thanks to Rita Salvador (Administrative Assistant to the Faith Formation Department), for composing and printing our worship aids for the Triduum services, and to our parish secretary, Barb Roberts, for coordinating so many of the behind-the-scenes details.
We thank Nick Johns (son of Deacon Fred Johns) who returned to his boyhood parish to play the organ and direct our St. Cecelia Choir for us at the Great Vigil of Easter. And, lest I be found remiss, I thank the members of that Choir for their lovely voices at the Vigil and on Easter Sunday, as well as the worship leadership services offered by our Folk Music Group and our Hispanic Music Groups.
I have also to offer a bitter sweet gratitude to Austin Tupps, who has been our Coordinator of Youth Faith Formation for the last year. Austin has jumped feet-first into his role of shepherding our middle and high school youth since August of 2016. His work has deeply affected the lives of dozens of young Catholics. Alas, it also produced much disruption to the life of his family, especially so of his Autistic son, Daniel. As such, Austin has decided that it is too much for him to handle in his present position. He submitted his resignation to me last week, but he has vowed to remain a committed member of the Core Team for our high school program, Life Teen. I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his dedication and love of the teens and I wish him every success in his next endeavors. We will be fielding applications for his full-time bilingual replacement immediately.
Regarding the vacant Director of Music & Liturgy position, we have conducted an exhaustive search to fill the position left vacant by our late and beloved Alex Rodriguez. Seven applications were received from all over the world, and three finalists were chosen by the parish Selection Committee. Last weekend we auditioned/interviewed Joe Messina. This week will do the same for Steve Jannetti and next week, once again, for Christopher Chandler. All three are musicians in the immediate southeastern area, all are bilingual, and each one comes to us offering extensive parish musical direction experience. Once the auditions/interviews are completed, the Selection Committee will meet again to discuss which candidate will be offered the job of parish Director of Music and Liturgy. We hope to have a new Director on board by the end of May.
As I write this, I am awed and inspired by Chris Smith, who has served us as Interim Music Director since the death of our dear brother, Alex, in January. Without even being asked (I was headed to Israel on pilgrimage when Alex died) Chris offered to coordinate all aspects of the parish music program, and played his awesome guitar at three Masses each weekend. Additionally, he rehearsed with the St. Cecelia Choir every Thursday and directed them every Sunday. He has also played for several funerals and weddings with great aplomb. We owe Chris a tremendous debt of gratitude for all of this and for many more things that I have not detailed here. Please offer him your cards of thanks for his unprecedented service to our SPX community.
I and Fr. Garcia, our deacons and the entire Parish Staff wish each of you and your loved ones our sincere prayers that you have a continuing blessed Easter Season. We are looking forward to the First Communion Mass Saturday, April 29th, the conclusion of Life Teen on Sunday, May 7th, and the Closing Mass for our parish Edge and Elementary Faith Formation classes on Wednesday, May 10th. Vacation Bible School is scheduled for June 12 – 16; registration information for same can be found elsewhere in this bulletin. The same is true for early registration for next year’s Faith Formation classes. Parents: please be sure that every one of your children are registered in FF classes next year. We have so little time with them and it is imperative that every child in your family continues annual formation (scholarships are offered), as is also true of each of you in our adult FF classes.
In Christ Jesus, Our Lord, I am your faithful
Brother on the Journey,