It’s hard to believe it’s June already! I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day holiday with their families. I’d like to especially thank our local VFW and American Legion posts for walking through another wonderful service at each of our cemeteries. Every year I’ve been here, I’ve been blessed to be able to go with the group as we visit each of our 5 parish cemeteries, say a prayer, and have a short service to honor all of our fallen veterans. It’s good to see the support in our community for our fallen veterans. If you didn’t get a chance to see it yet, we took a drone video at some of the cemeteries that’s posted on the parish’s Facebook page.
Speaking of our parish cemeteries, this has been a very busy week for our cemeteries. This Thursday we finally managed to get our new section marked at Mount Carmel Cemetery, so we’re prepared to begin selling plots in that new section. It’ll be right next to the existing section at the bottom of the hill across the road from the altar. Similarly the word seems to be out in town that since I’m going to be moving, now is the time for everyone to get their cemetery plots all settled. I think we’ve sold more plots in the last week than any time since I’ve been here. Of course, I’m happy to work with any of our parishioners or folks who grew up here who would like to purchase plots. It’s also nice for all of us to work through these things now as it’ll be one less thing for Fr. Mark to worry about in his first few weeks. So if you’re considering getting a plot at one of our cemeteries, give us a call and set up a time. Although I will admit that it’s a bit disappointing that I never got to put out an ad that said “buy your cemetery plot today, it’s the last thing you’ll ever need!”.
Meanwhile, on Memorial Day, I had an unpleasant experience that I wanted to let everyone know about. Over the last few years, there have been all sorts of scams out there. Most of us are familiar with the regular calls about extending our car warrantees. This week, I had a few parishioners contact me that they received text messages from an unknown number claiming to be me and asking the person to purchase and mail them gift cards that would be used for shut-ins. This is something that’s happened to a number of priests in our area over the last few years. If you receive a similar message, please know that I would never ask anyone to purchase and mail gift cards. If anything ever sounds suspicious and you’re not sure, please just call us at the Church office, and we’ll let you know if it’s something legitimate going on, or if it’s a scam. It’s better to call and be safe than sorry.
As far as my departure, we are going to be having a joint welcome/going-away party for myself and Fr. Mark on Sunday, June 27th so please mark your calendars. We’ll have more details in the next couple weeks.
I think that’s all of the parish business I needed to share with all of you this week, but I can’t end this week without mentioning how important today’s feast day is. Today, Corpus Christi Sunday, celebrates the most holy body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Of all the parts of the Catholic Faith, the Eucharist is the source and summit of the faith. It’s in the regular experience of the Eucharist that we encounter Jesus on a regular basis. Right now, as we’re emerging from the Pandemic and life is returning to normal, the whole world is having to come to terms with what can remain virtual and what really has to happen in person. I think this is a good time for us to remember, even though we can hear a sermon on TV or over a live-stream, the one thing we can’t do is receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We can’t receive food online. That has to be done in person. At some very basic level, that’s why it hurt so much to have the Churches closed back in March of 2020. It meant that we were separated from the Eucharist. That’s why we bring communion to those who are unable to attend mass. Eucharist given to one who is dying is called “viaticum” literally, food for the journey. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is Jesus who sustains us, who gives us life. So now, this week, as we celebrate the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, let’s all take some time to realize and appreciate the amazing gift that we’ve been given every single time we come to mass.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.
Prince of Peace