|Newman Catholic Chapel – late last night/early this morning|
Looking at my watch it’s about 1 am… The last of our cleanup crew left a couple of hours ago (not that we’re “done done”… we were just done by then) and I had stopped back in our chapel. Earlier in the day, we had temporarily moved the altar, pulpit and presider’s chair outside to the tent we had raised for the 50th Anniversary Celebration – and at one point when I was leading Cardinal Tobin out to the reception, I watched as several of our “kids” carefully brought the altar back inside. In a night that was filled with many, many, many beautiful mental snapshots – that one hit me stopping back in here to offer a simple prayer of thanksgiving. It kind of is a perfect mental image for me right now.
So many of our “senior alumni” who I had just met for the first time this evening – some from as far back as the late 1950’s didn’t stop raving about “your kids.” How welcoming they were… How interested they were to hear stories from their time here at Newman. At one point earlier in the evening, one of those “kids” said to me “Father – you look like you’re shining” – which I laughed and dismissively said “it must be the medication…”(I’ve been a little stressed with all these preparations the last few weeks) but truthfully – I was glowing with pride and joy. Just to see so many people who had very deep, profound memories from the past (I remember when a friend of mine died back in 1972 how this was the place we came to grieve, to pray for her… I can’t explain what an impact that has on me to this day) to hear from them how happy they were to see the “Newman of today” — to in a sense validate what I know to be true and I’m privileged to be a part of each and every day – the unique opportunity it is to share our faith as a community – and to nurture the faith of these young people.
That reminder… this whole celebration… not even the Yankees losing game 7 could diminish this joy 🙂