It was a beautiful Fall evening last Wednesday as I drove down to West Chester, PA to give a talk to the Catholic Young Adults of Chester County (CYACC). A Halloween Parade was scheduled to take place on the very street where I would be speaking a half hour before the time of the talk. Not ideal conditions for a speaking engagement.
I knew that the traffic would be horrible and that parking spaces would be at a premium. This knowledge did not prepare me for what I encountered in the quaint City of West Chester. The traffic in town moved at a snail’s pace. It was moving at a pace reminiscent of the pace of the Space Shuttle Endeavor as it was transported through the streets of LA recently. Hordes of families crossed the streets holding lawn chairs and leading children regaled in Halloween costumes. These superheroes and animated characters were having a lot more fun than I was at the moment.
After navigating the streets and pedestrians like a slalom course, I finally arrived at the parking lot of St. Agnes Church which was only a few blocks from the Knights of Columbus Hall where I would be speaking. I soon realized that the large lot was completely filled – except for the one space right in front of me that an SUV was backing into! I fought the urge to get out of my car to beg for the spot. Surely they would understand if I explained that many people were depending on me. In my heart I knew, however, that they got to the spot first fair-and-square and that they would probably think that Parade trumped Talk! Maybe they would be right.
A lady walking out of the Parish Hall came to my rescue. I followed her and was able to get her coveted parking space. I grabbed my large, framed picture of St. Therese and my bag of talk props and followed the throngs of Halloween revelers down the street. A very loud band singing from a flatbed truck donned outlandish costumes and belted out the song ‘Hot For Teacher’ by Van Halen as I rounded the bend toward the hall. This street appeared to be the staging area for the parade and varied groups of costumed children had frazzled adults barking orders at them. I felt a little out of place walking past these groups with my St. Therese picture and my First Class St. Therese Relic! At last I managed to arrive at my destination and entered the Knights of Columbus hall.
The talk entitled, ‘St. Therese and the Year of Faith’, was well-received. I conveyed the vision that the Pope gave for the Year of Faith about increasing our faith by getting back to the basics such as learning the Catechism, reading Scripture, and increasing devotion to the Sacraments, especially Holy Eucharist and Confession. I explained how much Therese loved each of these and about how she had incorporated each into her own life. The group asked intelligent questions about the Year of Faith and Therese during the Q & A time. The presentation ended with the group members being invited to venerate the First Class Relic of St. Therese that I had borrowed for the occasion.
I thought that giving a presentation on St. Therese and the Year of Faith would be a good way to kick off the Year of Faith which officially commenced on October 11, 2012 and will conclude on November 24, 2013. I hope to give this same presentation at other parishes and will be turning it into a pamphlet in the near future. Are there any special things that you will be doing for the Year of Faith? I would love to hear from you.
I want to wish my brother, Brad, a very Happy Birthday today!