Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eufaula Week 5: Baptism and More


This post will be somewhat backwards with regards to chronology and thematic consistency. But...we could all use some variety right?

This past Friday and Saturday, Father Shoemaker gave me time off to travel down to New Orleans for Connor's (my nephew's) Baptism. My sister and her husband Jeremy asked me and Chuck to be Connor's Godparents. As Godparents we would pledge to support Courtney and Jeremy as they raise Connor in the Church. We would pledge to do our best to be good examples of Christ's love in his life. It was humbling to be asked to do such a thing. However, knowing we must rely on God's grace and wisdom, we accepted with great excitement.

Furthermore, who doesn't want have claim to the name "Godfather????"

Pretty sweet life I am living now hunh? If only I could grow a darker mustache.....hahahaha

So all the family headed down to Nola for the weekend. It was a blast seeing Connor again and the rest of the family. Here are some shots from our weekend together.

Chuck/Godmother-to-be and Conn-Air

Victor Corleone and Connor

In preparation for becoming Connor's Godfather, I groomed Connor in the ancient art of Peak-a-boo....using my shirt to cover his head.

This is St. Francis parish in the West Riverbank neighborhood of New Orleans. This was the first place where Courtney and Jeremy went to Church upon moving to New Orleans. At Mass that day, a young deacon preached a memorable homily. At the end of Mass, the pastor thanked the deacon for his help over the summer and mentioned that he would be leaving shortly to continue his studies in Rome. Courtney immediately spazzed in her seat...realizing that he probably knew me from school. After Mass, she dodged her way to the deacon discovering that he was Peter Finney. Peter is a close friend of all the Mobile guys in Rome. Small world hunh?!! Peter was ordained a priest on June 11 at the Cathedral in New Orleans. Congratulations Peter!

Here is a short article I found about Peter and his Ordination> CLICK HERE

St. Francis is also the first place where Connor ever went to Mass---this past Christmas Eve--peacefully slept through the whole thing.

(L-R) Jeremy, Courtney and Connor, Fr. Jeff, Me, and Chuck

Fr. Jeff has been ordained for about 2 years now. He went to College Seminary at St. Joseph's Abbey in St. Benedict, Louisiana and then studied Theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. A number of the Mobile seminarians studied with Jeff through the years. I have only ever heard good things about this guy. It was a blessing to finally meet him. Humble...simple...and unpretentiously very intelligent. He really made it a special occasion for everyone.

Fr. Jeff was stationed at St. Francis when Courtney and Jeremy arrived in New Orleans. He came to visit them in the hospital a number of times bringing comfort, prayer, and peace while Courtney struggled to give birth to Connor a month early. God's Providence is amazing--surrounding Courtney, Jeremy, and Connor with such great people (who happened to be my friend and friends' friend) at such a crucial time.

Connor is wearing the same gown I wore for my baptism. Solid.

Wally (aka Shaq aka my Mom), like most Grandmothers I know, can't stop looking at her grandkids

Finally getting to meet the famous Fr. Jeff

The Two Grandmothers: My Mom and Jeremy's Mom Sandi

Jeremy, Courtney, Connor & Baptismal Font

Like Father like Son

Dad and his wife Terre with the Con-Man

Jeremy's parents: Sandi and Ed. It was so good to be with them again after a two year hiatus due to my studies in Rome. Salt of the earth folks from Ocala, Florida...Courtney is lucky to have In-Laws like this.

Happy Baby

All in all, it was a great trip with a great purpose spent with great people. Connor is baptized now. I am a Godfather now. We welcome this new life...claimed for Christ into our midst. We shower him with our love and prayers so that Christ may come and dwell powerfully in Connor....that he may become a great Man of God...a Saint....a bearer of Christ's love in this world.

Shoemaker Strikes Again:

So you think you have Fr. Shoemaker figured out hunh? Think again....

His bag of tricks simply cannot be exhausted.

A couple years back, Father colloborated with some of his "Santa Buddies" to found the "Clan Claus." It is an officially recognized Scottish Clan vested with its own special Crest, Tartan, Membership, and Motto ("Believe").

Below, you can see Father sporting their official garb.

Here is the website if your mind is not satisfyingly blown already: CLAN CLAUS SOCIETY

House Blessing:

A Catholic Priest is invested with the Power to give a special Blessing of Christ to people and things. There are many reasons and many motives for a priest to bless...always though it is done to strengthen God's people to be able to love better and to be protected from all forces working against the growth of God's love in their life.

One common practice is the House Blessing. Normally when a Catholic family moves into their home, they will ask their pastor to come and pray with them in their house, blessing it with holy water all throughout. This is especially a very celebratory practice in India. An Indian family in our parish invited Father to come and blessed their home this past week. They are just moving into their first real home! Before they have always lived in apartments. So this was very exciting for everyone!

They told us that in India, when a family moves into a new house there is a BIG Celebration. The whole neighborhood is invited to come by and eat and see the new home. The priest comes and blesses everything and everyone around. It was neat to see their special excitement about the Blessing of their home...and to get caught up in that excitement.

What a great reminder for us to be so Thankful for the blessings in our lives.

Hand at Teaching:

At the beginning of my time here in Eufaula, Fr. asked me to teach a course over about 4-5 weeks about the Mass, the Eucharist, and the upcoming changes in language in the Mass. Every Tuesday after Mass I have been offering this class for the past month. It has been a great opportunity for me to apply some of the things I have been studying over the years and to practice teaching. You know Jesus is called "Rabbi" (Hebrew word meaning "teacher") more than any other title in the Gospels. So as a priest, one must be ready to teach others about the Gospel of Love.

Thanks to all of you who have been coming. It has been a real honor and blessing to spend those times with you. Remember, our concluding class with be this Tuesday August 3rd at 9AM in the Parish Hall. All are welcome, even if this would be your first day. I always start each class with a RECAP so anyone can be oriented for class that day.

In Conclusion, Enjoy this exchange of Joy:

This Sunday's Gospel:

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”

This Week's Links:

Peter Finney's Ordination---newest New Orleans Priest

Photo Album of the Baptism--Check out more of Connor's big Bash

Keytar Catholic

Meet Steven Vrazel--another Mobile Seminarian and good friend of mine. He recently started a blog so that people can share in his journey to Priesthood. "Vraz" as we call him...will be ordained a Deacon at St. Peter's Bascilica in Rome in early October and a priest on June 10, 2011. Amongst many other talents, Vraz is famous in many circles for having sported a WELL-groomed handlebar mustache for about a decade now. Here is a little inspiration:

The Legend of the Mustache:

This is a new comedy series coming out called "The Good Guys: The Legend of the Mustache." You will quickly see how men like Vraz are impacting this world we live in. Brace yourself....

Signing Off:

May this week bring many blessings into your life. May special prayer for anyone who may read this Blog this week...is that they will experience deeply the tender love that God the Father has for them...and that they would be moved to open their hearts more widely to his Love, Mercy, Healing, and Forgiveness...and thus into the Fullness of Life...and Fullness of Happiness.

Pretty basic request I figure...


Have a great week! Let's pray for one another.

Peace, Love, Joy, Freedom, and Handlebar Mustaches

1 comment:

  1. Nice. If only you could get a certain youngster (that I won't mention here) to turn off her cell phone on Tuesdays. You know some young people just don't have the old timey respect. lol. She had a cell phone before I did --gee, kids today.