Living our Mission, Fall 2021
In reflecting on the theme of celebrations, many events come to mind, some religious, some patriotic, and some just for fun.
During the summer, we celebrated the wondrous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on about 120 people, including the Apostles, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other men and women who believed in Jesus and who were gathered in the upper room praying for “the gift of the Father” that Jesus had promised to them. This event is regarded as the Birthday of the Church.
On July 4th, we celebrated Independence Day commemorating the signing and publication of the Declaration of Independence by the members of the Continental Congress. It is regarded as the Birthday of our nation.
Also in July, we celebrated Employee Appreciation Day with deep gratitude for our committed employees who give of themselves daily to extend the healing ministry of Jesus to our residents and our whole community. It has been a very stressful year for everyone. Some gave up; some went elsewhere; many remained faithful, and we celebrated them.
Celebrations usually include rituals, particular actions or behaviors that somehow embody the event being celebrated. For example, Independence Day observances often include parades and fireworks, reminding us that our freedom required, not only in the Revolutionary War, but in many that followed, the commitment of men and women who fought for our freedom in the armed services. Parades remind us of soldiers marching into battle and fireworks remind us of the explosions made by cannons and bombs. Concerts of patriotic music move our souls to renew our own commitment to be faithful citizens.
The Catholic Christian tradition is rich in ritual and the use of symbols. When we come to worship God through the celebration of the Mass, we are recalling the Last Supper, the death of Jesus on the cross and his glorious resurrection on the third day. Our recalling is not just a remembering of past events, but an entering into those realities by the power of God’s grace.
We celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the opening of The Village at Incarnate Word on September 8, 1988. Although Covid protocols and repair projects hampered some of our usual rituals, we most certainly gathered in prayer to thank God for 33 years of blessings upon our thousands of residents, co-workers, volunteers, and benefactors. Though we have had moments of sorrow, times of struggle and challenges, these were outweighed by experiences of great joy, of generosity, of community and of God’s presence in our midst.