A time and a place for each

Last week my column took a brief sabbatical. Actually, because of the full special edition for Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, it was an editor’s decision to pull the column. Oh wait. I am the editor. Let’s just say I benched myself for a week for the good of the team.

Despite the fact that Bishop Emeritus George W. Coleman’s thanksgiving Mass in August and Bishop da Cunha’s installation Mass seem like ancient history already, I’d like to share some reflections on both, including the receptions following each celebration.

Regarding the special Liturgies, both were beautiful, inspiring Masses — celebrations worthy of taking place around Christ’s table, the altar.

While the celebrations were to acknowledge the end of one man’s episcopacy and the beginning of another’s, the focus in both Masses was where it should be — on our Heavenly Father and the great Sacrifice of His Son.

In both Liturgies, both men thanked God — one for what he has experienced, and the other for what he will experience as shepherd of the faithful of the Diocese of Fall River.

The Eucharist was the center of attention — of that there was no doubt. The time to celebrate the men would come later. In both instances the large congregations and faithful across the diocese were invited to descend upon White’s of Westport for the “human” part of the festivities.

In both receptions at White’s the guests of honor beamed with joy and thanksgiving for the great gifts bestowed on them from the Father, and that joy was magnified by the hundreds who made an appearance to share in that gladness.

I had the privilege and honor to cover for The Anchor both Masses and receptions, to help give those who couldn’t attend the events a feel for what took place and to include them in this large family of the Diocese of Fall River.

My coverage concentrated on the Liturgies and I must admit there was a method to my madness. While there was always a camera at my side at the receptions to capture on disc the sights of the day, my colleague, Ken Souza, was in full reporter/photographer mode at White’s.

That gave this newsman the opportunity to schmooze.

It was great fun at both celebrations to encounter dear friends from across this great diocese whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

There were dozens and dozens of priest and deacon friends with whom I hadn’t met face-to-face in far too long.

There were comrades from Cursillo and Emmaus retreat weekends with whom I had the opportunity to catch up and reminisce.

There were dear friends and former fellow parishioners with whom I had the great pleasure to get reacquainted.

There were a few diocesan colleagues who had recently retired after years of dedicated service to our local Church whom I thankfully met, giving me the chance to wish them well and express that they will be missed. (All the best Nancy and Bill Jalbert, and to you as well Sister Catherine Donovan, RSM).

I took the occasional photo at the receptions to uphold my image as a staunch reporter and photographer (right, Ken?).

But I think my favorite encounters were with those fine people whom I didn’t know. So many approached me having recognized my mug shot to the left, to let me know that they enjoyed my columns. It wasn’t so much the accolades, although those are always greatly appreciated (instead of the more common complaints), but it was getting to know even more great people from this great diocese. To those of you who introduced yourselves, thank you and it was a pleasure meeting you.

In consecutive months, the faithful from the diocese gathered for inspiring Liturgies and delightful receptions. I’m going to miss that.

But the beauty of it all was that the Liturgies and the subsequent revelries each had its time and place, and everyone knew and respected that. That’s what makes me proud to be a member of our great diocesan family.

Dave Jolivet can be contacted at davejolivet@anchornews.org.

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