Celebrate Life! Goldfish Style!
Saturday, 10 August 2019
Last Sunday at the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Hope on the Isle of Hope (we celebrate mass there every 1st Sunday of the month at 8:00 AM) at the end of mass, I was walking back through the front door and something caught my eye. A split and crushed goldfish was on the floor (not a real fish, the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish snack we all know and love!). My heart filled with joy! My soul soared! I was so happy!
In this state of joy, I took my phone out for a picture! Those who know me intimately know that I do not often take pictures even though my camera is always with me on my phone! I joined Instagram just to keep up with my sisters and my sisters-in-law for family news. So, now you know how moved I was! The picture was taken and then posted on Facebook.
Why, you ask, is your pastor taking a picture of a crushed snack in the back of the Chapel? Well, I’ll tell you! When I saw this, I immediately thought, “This is a sign of LIFE!” Here in our church is a child who needs snacks during mass. This child was PRESENT! This child was at Mass! His parents brought him to Mass at the age when he needs snacks and I was so proud of those parents! In fact, they not only brought their Goldfish-snacking toddler to Mass, but they also brought their 2 week old baby! I couldn’t contain my joy!
I know that it is difficult for parents to bring their children to Mass. You feel as if you get nothing out of mass. You miss everything and don’t hear a word of the Gospel or the Homily and are lucky if you get to the Our Father and realize that we are near Holy Communion. Then, you doubt whether or not you should go and receive Holy Communion because your attention was diverted all during Mass. Please come forward for communion! You are doing exactly what you are called to do – raise your child in the faith! You have received your child from Almighty God and you committed to raise your child in the faith. Bringing them to Mass fulfills this commitment.
The sound of children’s voices (even when they scream after hitting their head on the bookrack!) are sounds of life in the Church. When we hear those sounds our response should be one of joy! There is life in our parish! We are alive!
So, when a crushed Goldfish needs to be cleaned up in the back of the church or a Cheerio is on the pew cushion, I am happy to clean it up! It is a sign of life, a sign that our parish is ALIVE! (Bulletins left in the bookrack are a sign of something else…) I want to thank this young family! Thank you for bringing your children to church! Thank you for being a witness to life and faith! Your children and all children are part of our family. They are part of our life. What a joy they are and what a blessing our children are to our Parish Life!
Sr. Beth Bartholomew, IHM
Speaking of wonderful families and raising children in the faith and with a strong faith here at St. James the Less, on Saturday, Sr. Beth Bartholomew made her First Profession as a Sister Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary! She is a daughter of this parish. Her faith was nurtured here at St. James on Sundays and during the week and at our wonderful School! Please keep her in your prayers as she continues her life as a Religious Sister! What an honor it was to represent St. James with Sr. Lisa Golden and Sr. Carolyn Braun at her celebration at the Motherhouse in Malvern, Pennsylvania!
May the Lord bless you and your families this week!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin