Happy Mother's Day, mothers, mothers-in-law, and to all grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Sons and daughters, I hope you got to have a good conversation with your mother(s) and female role models today. May God through the Son of Mary bless all the maternal figures who have shaped our lives. May we honor our parents in flesh and parents in spirit by the quality of our lives.
Backtracking on the bulletins from Babylon....
Today: Sojourning at my parents' house in West Babylon, N.Y. Morning prayer in the guest room facing the east window, and an abbreviated meditation before being picked up by Nicholas for church. There, we both practiced sitting in silence amidst the dull racket of the gathering congregation. Eight o'clock Mass at Our Lady of Grace in a full church. Immediately after, visited St. Charles Cemetery in Pinelawn, north of Babylon, to pay respects to our late grandmother, Adele Zuba. Went to Nicholas' apartment to spend the day. Made blueberry pancakes and read The New York Times together over breakfast. Watched the Sunday morning news programs, then took a walk around Argyle Lake and the fine old family homes surrounding. Watched the Mets blow their lead twice against the Marlins while preparing Mother's Day dinner for our parents. Sat to roast chicken, asparagus, and wild rice early in the evening, and cheesecake for dessert afterward. Returned to parents' house after nine to pack for seven nights and seven days in Boston.
We would have done this meal at my parents' house, but my Mom and Dad have no kitchen right now because of their home renovations! My brother Nicholas managed most of the dinner preparations on his own, with only a little assistance from me. My brother acquitted himself very well as host. I was very proud of him. Without a doubt, so was our mother.
Yesterday: Sojourning at my parents' house in West Babylon, N.Y. Morning meditation in the guest room, facing the east window. A ride from my parents to the Babylon train station to catch the 8:23 local train to Jamaica. Said morning prayer en route. From Jamaica boarded a bus in lieu of the J train to East New York. Arrived at St. Michael Friary near ten-thirty. A quick breakfast, followed by a two-hour car trip to St. Joseph Parish in New Paltz, N.Y. There, at two-thirty, the Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Mary celebrated the perpetual profession of Bro. Michael Ramos.
Brother Michael took the solemn vows, which are the vows for life. It was his wedding day, as we would put it! The most beautiful part of the liturgy took place after Provincial Minister Fr. Francis Gasparik, accepting Brother Michael's vows, received him into the order. Then all the friars come forward to embrace the solemnly professed brother. It is a moving experience, to see a new brother-for-life be hugged by one friar after another. Truly, every day in the life of religious men is Brother's Day, but none more so than those days when brothers take vows.
A reception followed downstairs for the dozens of friars assembled. Stole off a little while for a conversation with Bro. Salvatore Patriccola, who is only one of fifteen Capuchin friars worldwide to be a permanent deacon. As the rules stand presently, once a man begins initial formation with the Capuchins, he may remain a lay person or seek ordination to priesthood, but he may not pursue ordination to the permanent deaconate. But Brother Sal was a permanent deacon before he became a Capuchin, and that is the only way one can be a permanent deacon and a brother. Canonical obstacles notwithstanding, we talked about my discernment of a call to the preaching ministry and examined the question of whether I was being called within that call to an ecclesial ministry of word, liturgy, and service in the holy order of the permanent deaconate. Good conversations arose, and are arising, around the following queries: how would ordination to the order of deacon make me a better brother? Could I fulfill a calling to preaching ministry without holy orders? These are queries for the long retreat of novitiate....