Holy days

I’ve been neglecting this blog for the last few months, writing more on my Hermano Juancito blog, but today I want to note that these next few days will be holy days for me.

I know that my Jewish sisters and brothers Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year a few days ago and that my Orthodox brothers and sisters celebrated the beginning of the church year on September 1. But yesterday was sort of a new day.

Yesterday, our parish celebrated the feast of our patron, Dulce Nombre de Maria, the sweet name of Mary. We had a procession and Mass.

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Today, I have no special responsibilities and missed a whatapp message to get the fertilizer for the parish coffee fields. Oops! I will probably go to Santa Rosa later today to get some food and supplies. The refrigerator is fairly empty. But it is a good day to reflect. Today would have been my father’s 102nd birthday. Born on September 13, 1916, he died on September 15, 1999. He was a good father and it was a blessing to be able to care for him in the last years of his life.

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Tomorrow is the feast of the Holy Cross, one of my favorite feast. The second reading is the famous hymn from Philippians 2: “Christ emptied himself.” The good news of the kenosis of Jesus, his becoming one of us, emptying himself for us, has been important for me. Many years ago, responding to a meditation which urged the reader to consider his epitaph, I prepared this tombstone, with the words of Philippians 2 in Greek – “he emptied himself” – and with the Spanish words – “he handed himself over,” sometimes translated as “he committed himself.”

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Saturday is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is the day my father died in 1999. It also reminds me of an inner city parish in Philadelphia, Our Mother of Sorrows, where I volunteered one summer in the mid 1960s, a place where I found myself working with a teacher and her African-American kids.

Saturday, I am scheduled to baptize two men in San Agustín, one of whom will be married later that day. I am also considering going to Dolores for their evening Mass, celebrating their co-patron.

Sunday, I’ll be going to Delicias, Concepción, bringing the Eucharist. They have a new extraordinary Communion minister but don’t yet have a tabernacle. I want to ensure that the people can received Communion that day from the hands of their neighbor.

Monday, I have a meeting with youth. I don’t know how many will show up.

But Monday is also the feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, recalling the day he received the marks of the crucified Christ in his body, making visible what he had been trying to live since his conversion at the little church of San Damiano.

These are holy days, when God is made present. May I respond with love.

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