In his latest “From the Chapel” blog, OSV publisher Scott Richert writes that “the Ascension…
From the Chapel — May 23: Welcome home
“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.
Mass resumed this evening in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and coincidentally the gray skies of Ascension Thursday gave way to sunshine, fluffy white clouds and deep-blue skies. Most of our family will be going to 8 a.m. Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul, while I will be ushering at 5 p.m. tomorrow night. Somehow I’ve made it to age 52 without ever having been an usher, but we’ve had to expand the ranks in order to comply with the rules both Bishop Kevin Rhoades and Father Tony Steinacker, our pastor, have put into place.
This afternoon, as I was slogging my way virtually across Tennessee in (for the first time this year) seasonably warm and humid weather, my wife and younger children joined Father Tony, our seminarian for the summer and other families in decorating the sidewalk and the concrete steps leading up to the front of the church with chalk drawings and greetings welcoming our parish family back home.
For the past two months, I’ve ended every run in front of St. Mary’s, our other Catholic church here in Huntington, just a block away from Sts. Peter and Paul, and a couple of hundred yards down North Jefferson from our house. But today, I ran up Cherry Street to see what they had done.
Huntington Catholic is a relatively small school, and the children haven’t seen one another since the diocese closed the schools for what everyone had hoped would be a few weeks, but turned out to be the year. Working together, they created some fine works of art — chalk versions of stained-glass crosses and hearts, welcome messages and even a big thumbs-up under the caption “Church Rules.” Some of these children, such as our daughter, Clare, were supposed to make their first Communion this month, but now will have to wait until November. (Father Tony has rescheduled it for All Saints Day.)
But in the art they drew with sidewalk chalk, there’s no sadness over school plans interrupted or sacraments delayed. There’s only the joy of anticipation, of the church reopening, of seeing friends once again on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.