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"It is our duty to prefer the service of the poor to everything else and to offer such service as quickly as possible. If a needy person requires medicine or other help during prayer time, do whatever has to be done with peace of mind. Offer the deed to God as your prayer.... Charity is certainly greater than any rule. Moreover, all rules must lead to charity."

St. Vincent de Paul

Last weekend both of my sisters were at my mother's. I was expecting a phone call mid-day Saturday but heard nothing until the evening when one sister called, basically telling me not to come over. I asked to speak to my other sister about all of us going to Mass together and was told they were going at 8:30 am because it was the traditional service. Hmmph, so much for charity beginning at home. I slept poorly, but got up in time for coffee and a quick mushroom omlette, braided my hair, dusted off some killer heels, found a suitable church dress, even wore earrings and mascara. I was getting ready for some religion, re-painted my toenails SinfulColors GOGO GIRL- bright red, (the other choices being SUGAR SUGAR-even brighter red with glitter, and matte NIRVANA, your basic Buddhist brown.) Left a note for the sleeping male mountains under sheets and thin blankets and hopped into my convertible with the top down.

Despite the heat, the morning was glorious, almost blinding. (This is not how I generally start my day.) I passed dog walkers and joggers and bicyclists, waved to everyone at the ungodly hour of 7:30 am. Before leaving the house, I had checked the church's website for the time. I had felt angry and left out until I read the statement below which calmed me down and got me in the right frame of mind. I knew how much it would mean to my mother to have her three daughters and one niece with her. To say I did this mostly for my mother would not be true; I've been feeling a hollow place where my faith usually rumbles and roars, dances and weeps, questions, becomes quiet. At the later contemporary service, this need is filled for me.

All are welcome here. The Gospel reminds us that the Lord came to seek sinners and to save them. If you are looking for the perfect church community we are not it. If you recognize that all fall short of grace and are willing to be compassionate, patient, forgiving, to love as Christ commands then we will try to do the same with and for you. Whatever your present status in the Catholic Church, whatever your current situation, whatever your past or present religious affiliation, whatever your personal history, age, background, race or color, whatever your self-esteem, you are invited, welcomed, accepted, loved, respected and challenged at St. Vincent de Paul parish to live as an authentic witness to Jesus Christ.

We have a faith based school, energetic youth programs, adult formation sessions, along with wonderful opportunities to serve the poor in our midst and further afield. We strive to live the life poured out on us in Baptism and are focused on the Presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the precious gift of the Eucharist. Connected to Christ in this way we seek Him who has called us to be a holy people, a priestly people, a people set apart for the greater glory of God. All are welcome.

Peace,

Fr. Richard

Copyright 2009 by St. Vincent de Paul Church

It was a bit strange to drive past the Methodist church where I'm a lapsed member, especially since one of my excuses has been 9:30 am was too early. Arriving at my mother's unexpectedly delighted my Mom but made gears crash in my one sister's head. She made a point of telling me I couldn't receive Communion, which considering my lack of sleep and my GOGO GIRL nail polish, wasn't exactly a smart move on her part. I chose my words carefully in deference to my mother, saying I had discussed it with her on another occasion, both of us in agreement what I did in church was between God and me.

At 8:15, my mother was ready so we took my car and I parked in the shade. My two sisters and niece took two separate cars, some convoluted backstory. July 4th weekend, summer schedule, the church was full enough. I looked up the hymns, not a patriotic one among them, nor any I recognized. I read the fine print which gives attributes to the composer, the year, whether it is adapted or copyrighted. I marked them with the yellow ribbons attached.

I sang anyway, stood, knelt, recited prayers from memory, and received Communion. All through the service, I couldn't help but notice a hummingbird who kept trying to get into church. One whole wall has a very modern stained glass version of The Big Bang and this poor little bird kept flying into the one clear corner. I guess it was attracted to the music, which failed to stir my soul. I tried to focus elsewhere, but I was beginning to get a headache on the hummingbird's behalf. All are welcome, you just need to use the doors.

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