It’s with great happiness that we welcome parishioners back to celebrate the Mass in church this weekend. For now, we will be celebrating our parish Masses at the church of St. Cecilia, but soon enough we will return to celebrating Mass together at the church of St. Gabriel as well. These past several months have been marked with great difficulties, but it has also been a time of grace and I pray that through this ordeal your faith has grown, your appreciation for our parish community and the Church has increased, and your desire for Mass and the sacraments has intensified.
As we welcome parishioners back to the church, we also welcome one of our catechumens into the Church. Rhiannon will receive the Sacraments of Initiation this weekend, becoming an adopted child of God, a full heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. All the treasures of our faith, the patrimony of the saints, and a full share in the life of grace will be hers. During a recent conversation with another person who was preparing to enter the Church this year, he was telling me about his hope to visit his daughter who would be studying abroad in Rome next year (if all goes well). It dawned on us during that conversation that all that Rome is and represents would be his with his entrance into the Church. St. Peter’s would be his. The Sistine Chapel would be his. The pieta of Michelangelo would be his. And not just those treasures of art and architecture, but also the lives of the saints who would become his family – his brothers and sisters in Christ.
In my life I’ve had the privilege of traveling to different countries. There were times when I was travelling alone and felt the loneliness that comes from being by oneself in a foreign land. In those lonely times I always found comfort by making a visit to Catholic churches. There, I’d see the familiar images of the saints, as well as the confessionals and the baptismal font. But most comforting was the red glow of the tabernacle lamp that indicated His Presence. I knew that Our Lord was there, and that home is wherever He is. With that in mind, it seems truly fitting to welcome you home this Sunday, when we gather to celebrate the great Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the feast on which we remember that Jesus has made His home here with us in the Eucharist, to help us on our way to our eternal home in Heaven.