From Our Pastor ~ July 6, 2014

Dear Good People of Saint Mary,

Hope everyone is having a great 4th of July holiday weekend. Usually about this time of the year we reach our lowest attendance point, so many people are traveling. If you do the math, with about eight vacationable weeks in the summer, if everyone takes two weeks of vacation, that means that as much as 1/4 of the parish could be gone at any one moment throughout the summer! According to my estimate, we are about 1,500 people short all summer long. No wonder there are so many seats, latecomers are getting spoiled!

I love hearing about everyone’s travel plans. I don’t have any this summer except for the occasional meeting and overnight trip. But later in the year we do have a couple of trips in the planning stage, and we’re wondering if you are interested:

Trip idea #1.
Some people have wondered if we might be going to Italy this fall. I had originally considered going to Rome for the diaconate ordination of our parishioner, Joe Farrell, and now that our current seminarian Rich Miserendino is also waiting for the call, we have double the reason to go. My time is limited, though, so I would be with you for part of the trip. Here is a possible itinerary. Starting around September 22, there could be a motor coach tour starting from southern Italy. There are so many treasures to be found in the area around Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast and Naples. I
would be able to meet up with you in Rome early in the week of September 29, and tour Rome for a few days. We could attend the ordination at St. Peter on Thursday, October 2, and I would return on the 3rd. You, of course, could take advantage of the weekend and spend a day or two in Orvieto in Tuscany, or Assisi. If you are interested in a trip like this, we need to talk quickly. Call Margaret Ford (our parish tour coordinator) at 373-6900. Flights are steep right now and we would need a good group to try to secure a good rate.

Trip idea #2.
I’ve blocked off the days March 3-14 in my calendar for a parish trip to the Holy Land. In order to see all the things we normally see on our trips to Israel/Palestine and Jordan we would need a few days more than this. We propose that the trip start a few days before I arrive. The group can visit Tel Aviv, Acre, the Dead Sea, Masada and Qumran, and I’ll meet up with you in Galilee (sound familiar?) where we will see all the holy sites surrounding the sea, Nazareth, Cana, and Mt. Tabor. Then wego south together to Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem for several days, before crossing into Jordan to the baptism site, Mt. Nebo, Petra, the desert and other favorites. If you are interested in this idea, also please call Margaret and let her know and we can start planning now.

In the meantime, I invite anyone who would like to join me in visiting the HOA NGHIEM Buddhist temple at Ft. Belvoir on Saturday evening, July 12. We are invited to join the community for a light vegetarian meal together, then view a screening of the American opera “The Tale of Lady Thi Kinh.” This opera is about Quan Am Thi Kinh, the Vietnamese Avalokiteshvara who is revered for her forbearance and compassion. Critically acclaimed, and written by Vietnamese music professor Dr. Phan Quang Phuc at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, it has received great reviews. Don’t worry, subtitles are in English.

Let me know quickly if you want to go.
May God bless you.

Fr. Don