Greetings and good pre-Lent wishes to everyone from the Liturgy Commission. I’m Rory Cooney, and at the beginning of this month, I began my 26th year at the parish. This means that I’ve been consistent at something for the longest time I’ve done anything in my life. So, thank you, Saint Anne Barrington, for putting up with me. It’s been fun so far.
I’ve spent a lot of time and ink in these pages over the years explaining why we do what we do in the liturgy here, and how it’s supposed to represent – does represent, when we do it right – the rest of our lives as Christians. It’s this living sign that God is empowering us from before we were born to do-for-others, to make our way through this world by love, and trust, and collaboration. What we’ve been hearing the gospels this month from the Sermon on the Mount is about nothing other than this. Love made and sustains the universe. The only way to be genuinely happy in life is to cooperate with that sustaining love (the Church calls it “grace”) and do for others as we would like others to do for us.
We trust that the Holy Spirit of God, the fountain of all that loving grace that moves the universe in all its parts, moves among us to help us give each other what we need. Saint Paul tells us in the letter to the Corinthians, and again in Romans, that this all happens in a divine economy of mutuality, of give-and-take. We have gifts, and the world has needs. The Church community is the place where we learn to give our gifts and find what we need in order for everyone to have what they need, to be happy.
When I came to Saint Anne, I was in my early forties; now, I’m in my late sixties. I’m different than I was twenty-six years ago. So is the rest of the parish. Our ministries have changed dramatically. Look at, for instance, how House of Hope has grown from what started out as a big yard sale once a year back in the day! Kids are grown, they have kids of their own, some of us are starting to show our age (no one who is reading the Clarion, you know, but certain others.) In the choir, we’ve watched some of our friends move to warmer climes as their lives have changed; some have stayed and found other ways to give their time and talent, some have even gone to God. You know how that is.
And yet, we still have active ministries, and we still are able to do our work in the neighborhood as well as give thanks and praise to God every Sunday and every day of the week while doing our own work and raising our families. I believe it will always be this way. But sometimes, I discover, we have to ask for the help we need in order for people to know that there comes a time when everyone needs to step up and take a more active part so that others can take a step back after years of ministry.
So as you watch people do their ministry – Communion ministers, lectors, choir members, ushers, greeters, servers, instrumentalists and all the ministries both in and out of the liturgy – think about how you can maybe step up and help out expand our ministries to include more of the parish. Ministry is contagious. The good kind of contagious, so if you catch it, pass it on. This is a really good time to get involved with the choir as we ramp up to Easter. Call me if it might be your turn. Anytime I can clear things up, answer a question, send me an email or call me in the office. Number’s on the back of the Clarion. Thank you for giving us a home and a place to grow.