Dear brothers and sisters,
As I conclude my time at Our Lady of Grace so many joyful memories come to mind: worshiping as God’s family on Sunday, welcoming our new Catholics through RCIA, hearing the beautiful sounds of children laughing and playing on our campus, greeting you and your relatives and friends after Mass, getting ribbed by Father Kevin and giving it right back, visiting your homes, bringing the sacraments to the sick, listening to your stories of how Christ has touched your lives, introducing my parents to you each spring, ministering with our parish staff, meditating together on the word of God, and so many more.
On this final weekend at Our Lady of Grace, I want to say thank you. Thank you for your faith, your love, and your devotion to Jesus. My own faith journey has been helped by being part of yours. I also want to say I’m sorry. Jesus is perfect, but we are not yet perfect – myself definitely included. Please forgive me for any time that I might have treated you with less than the dignity and respect you are owed. Lastly, I want to say I love you. You are a wonderful community of family and faith, and I treasure each of you. Even as I go forth to my new flock at Pax Christi, I will always hold you all in my heart, especially at the altar of God.
One of the phrases of the altar we hear is: “Do this in memory of me.” Every time I celebrate Eucharist I say these words. And for the last two years I have been privileged to utter these sacred words with you and for you at Our Lady of Grace. In that moment of the liturgy, the fruit of the grape becomes the Precious Blood – the wine of the new covenant. As I hold the chalice, I often marvel at how Christ unites all of us by his love. You may never have noticed this, but when the cup of salvation is lifted up in my hands, all of us are reflected in the metallic mirroring of its lustrous metal. The base of the chalice captures a kind of 360° panorama of the assembly. To me this little occurrence is actually a grand symbol of Christ – in lifting up the One who was crucified for us, the Many are made righteous and sanctified as a people united in Jesus’ love.
May all of us rejoice to “do this in memory of him”, as we continue our pilgrimage together toward the kingdom of God!
Father Marc Paveglio