Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Thumb

Last night I began a parish mission in Huron County, Michigan. Fr. Peter Nwokoye from Nigeria is the pastor of three parishes in that area of the lower peninsula of Michigan that is known as "The Thumb." The parish mission is part of 40 Hours of Eucharistic devotion in this cluster of parishes.

Fr. Peter began yesterday morning with Mass and Exposition at St. Patrick's church in Palms, Michigan. I flew to Flint where Fr. Peter picked me up and we drove about 100 miles to get here. We closed the Exposition last night with Benediction and Mass. The overall theme of the mission is "Seeking the Face of Jesus in a Busy World" and last night I talked about "Meeting Jesus in Word and Sacrament." My focus was on the importance of preparing for Mass by going over the readings ahead of time and then prayerfully participating in Mass by striving to pay attention to the great mysteries that are being celebrated--Jesus speaking to us in the proclamation of the readings; Jesus making present His eternal sacrifice on Calvary; Jesus changing the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood and coming to us in Holy Communion. Through Word and Sacrament we are transformed and better able to see ourselves as members of the Body of Christ and meet Him in one another.

Today there is Adoration at SS. Peter and Paul church in Ruth where Fr. Peter's rectory is located. Four other priests will join us for dinner this evening and then we will celebrate Vespers and Benediction. My talk will be on "Meeting Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation" and the six priests will be available for individual confessions after Benediction.

Tomorrow there will be Exposition and Adoration all day at St. Mary's church in Parisville, a town that may be the oldest Polish settlement in the U.S. Panna Maria in Texas was founded around the same time as Parisville and so there is some question about which is the oldest. We will celebrate Vespers and Benediction again and tomorrow's talk will be the one in which I share the spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer--"Living the Eucharist in our Daily Lives."

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