I knew it had been a while since I last blogged, but when I finally bestirred myself to look at the last date, I discovered it had been exactly a month. When I wrote last, we were still in the depths of Lent, and now we are celebrating the 50 days of Easter. It has been a very busy month for me. At long last, I made the last payment on our 30 year mortgage and have the joy of knowing that the house is fully mine! The reconstruction is truly almost finished; while I was away for almost a week, my reconstruction agent painted the studio upstairs, so now everything in "Chapter 2" has been painted, I have new windows which make a huge difference in keeping the 90+ degree heat from a brutal Santa Ana outside all through the addition, and I'm slowly reorganizing files, making new cards, learning Adobe Elements and writing.
I was able to play for all the special Liturgies of Holy Week and the Triduum, and I even took my French horn down to visit a priest friend recovering from a knee replacement and played "All Glory, Laud and Honor" for him for Palm Sunday since he couldn't go to Mass. We sang a Tenebrae Wednesday night, and I played for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday. It was a time for remembering the life, death, and Resurrection of our Lord, but also for thinking of my own personal journey with my dear husband, who began his own passage toward death on Holy Thursday two years ago and drew heavily upon the graces won for us by our Messiah.
On Tuesday, my son and I drove up to LA together and stayed with my oldest daughter's family. She made my favorite meal, Cuban Chicken, and I went to bed early since we had to make a 6:30 AM flight from LAX to Philadelphia the next morning. For my daughter, who is a night owl, it was an even greater sacrifice, but there was no traffic, an extremely short security line, and a relatively smooth flight. When we landed, my nephew Zach picked us up, and took us to the Cathedral where he had celebrated the Rite of Sending earlier in Lent. Back in the fall, he had contacted me and told me that the way my husband lived his faith had inspired him to look into the Catholic Church, and he asked if he could call me each week to discuss his lessons and read the Readings for the coming Sunday Mass. So we had had many meaningful discussions and I came to know him much better through them and was brought myself to deepening my Faith as we wrestled with the questions and issues brought up along his journey.
He showed us his new parish church that serves 5,000 families! I guessed right on the statues--St. Therese, St. Patrick, and St. Anthony, though I wasn't as sure of St. Anthony. They have very old and beautiful stained glass windows brought from another church that were made in Germany. The parish gave a dinner for all those coming into the Church that evening and I was happy to be able to meet his pastor and the DRE and quite a few other parishioners.
On Thursday, his wife took us to Longwood Gardens, an astonishing showplace even in early spring when most of the fountains were still empty. There were huge beds of tulips and daffodils, and the Conservatory had an almost endless variety of rooms filled with exotic plants, many of which I had never seen before, and hibiscus in colors I've never encountered in California.
On Friday, my son wanted to go to Valley Forge, and my sister-in-law took us there. It was very moving to walk over the ground where Washington and his troops suffered during a brutal winter in order to protect the newly fledged country's chances at independence.
Saturday was the big day. In this parish, those who are entering the Church but not being baptized come in during the weekend of Mercy Sunday. My youngest daughter had driven up with her one year old daughter so she could be there as well. We had front row seats as Zach professed his Faith in all that the Catholic Church proclaims, was confirmed, and received his First Communion as a Catholic. His Confirmation saint was Moses the Black, whom my son had wanted to choose for his Confirmation until I told him that they would only use "Moses" when he was confirmed. But Zach wanted the saint who had started out as a robber, and he had done a lot of research into his life. He was also confirmed as "Moses," but we all knew which Moses it was! We had a wonderful dinner with the family afterwards, and my son and I flew back to California with beautiful memories of time with family and Zach's beginning journey in the Catholic Church.