Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Warm Welcome

I received a hearty and warm welcome from the parish on Saturday evening; also on Friday afternoon; again on Sunday morning. For the Saturday mass, we heard first confessions of the children who will receive First Communion at the Pope's Mass in May. The children were well prepared for the sacrament and some were very fearful. Most of the time we spent calming the children down as they made such a memorable step in their faith.

The greetings of everyone was very warm and we enjoyed chatting with one another. I was only gone one weekend, but the welcome was so very nice. I heard confessions while another priest said the mass, which gave me pleasurable time to just get to know parishioners who walked outside to let their children run around. I felt so relaxed and mass went on quite beautifully.

The choir is singing very well and the cantors are working out great. It is a relief to have a nice liturgy where everything comes together so easily. We are finally breaking the bonds of tradition that have held the parish in an awkward state for many years.

After mass, I waited for everyone to catch their taxis and then this young gentleman came up to me to ask if we could talk about vocations to the Jesuits and priesthood. We walked along Paris Circle and through some of the quiet side roads of Jebele Weibdeh and many people stopped to say hello. We stopped by a few shops and interacted with the locals who were glad we stopped by for a visit and then we passed through a book fair. It was great to see. I felt like an "uncle priest" to so many people this weekend. The grace of being a priest is just to hang out with one another.


  1. John, this is a testimony of how God is making a difference in your parish and community through you. What a joy it must have been to speak with someone about a vocation. Blessings to you.

    1. It felt so good. God is certainly at work here and the people hunger so much for the nearness of the divine in their lives.