Friday, January 18, 2019
Day 3 | “We March with Baby Steps”
Part 1 – Mass with the Archbishop
Too many moments placed one after another with faulty internet and inconsistent blogging habits made for a much less “in the moment” reflection, and so with the daily notes I took from our profound experiences in D.C. and Panama, I take back up the reflection from the Fellowship of the Fiat.
After an intense first full day in D.C.—complete with a closing pizza dinner at the Arlington Court Suites and an actual place to shower for once—we knew we’d have some semblance of rest in time to pick ourselves back up for another full day of intensity. Usually, the morning of the March for Life consists of attending the Verizon Center Arena with thousands of young people and hundreds of priests and seminarians for a massive mega-Mass for Life all over again at 6 or 7am, but after several years of seeing the Mass get earlier and earlier without a lot of substantive fruits, we as an Archdiocese worked tirelessly (and by we, I mean Ed Harpring!) to schedule Archbishop Kurtz and all our represented schools, churches, and youth groups for a personal Mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary at 9am before the March for Life.
Without a big plan for music or servers or lectors or anything, we knew the humility and simplicity of it all would be breath-taking. No, it was NOT a haphazardly thrown-together event with ignorance or indifference ruling over the liturgical norms; rather, a beautiful symphony of collaborative gifts were brought forth for the glory of God in that simple little Liturgy. As Archbishop Joseph E, Kurtz, DD approached the Sanctuary, I was blessed with the opening chant in honor of Our Lady who made this powerful moment possible: “Oh Holy, dwelling place of God! Oh Holy Temple of the Word. Oh Holy Mary, Holy Mother of God!”
It was glorious to watch David Vest and Bradley Holt serve in the cassocks and surplices provided by that intimate and traditional parish. Archbishop’s Homily was historic and I was seized with joy to witness a moment none of us could have planned or foreseen on our own. As our pilgrim leader courageously and humbly granted us the gift of his presence, we witnessed the meeting place of Heaven and Earth with our very own eyes in a very concrete and visible reality.
As Archbishop unpacked the Gospel for us in his homily, Immaculata Classical Academy finally arrived from the throngs of pilgrims and entered the sanctuary in droves. Walking into the left-hand side of the sanctuary, they filled the remaining void of the seating, and we realized the profundity of their placement. Directly on the opposite end of the sanctuary sat Sacred Heart Academy filling the right-hand side, with all the other schools and churches represented in the middle! Thus, in one clear and finite moment, the Immaculate Heart of Mary (symbolized in Immaculata) and the Sacred Heart of Jesus (SHA) were joined in the one-flesh union of Archdiocesan Salvation History.
If that’s confusing, don’t worry—we were astounded ourselves, for the fear of the Lord was quite apparent during that time. To be utterly struck with wonder and awe in the face of God’s perfect love for us was beyond our own understanding, and I will not speculate or try to understand it fully. We simply remained fixated on the Word Made Flesh as Archbishop brought forth the Incarnation through his active receptivity to Christ’s work within him! Holy Communion became heavenly then as Holly Ray, a senior at Sacred Heart and long-time Circle of Life vocalist brought her gifts to the altar of sacrifice, singing the Salve Regina and other sacred hymns as we were consumed with Divine Love in those moments of sacred silence.
I cannot describe to you further the importance of that moment for our Archdiocese, for the anti-Fiat with all the individualized agenda’s and personalities that have struggled to witness this vision over the decades were transformed and regenerated into the one Fiat of Our Lady without blemish. Truly, our pain and suffering, disfunction and sin that has ever felt too much to overcome or ignore for the sake of unity seemed to melt away in the face of God’s grander purposes. Who cares if we don’t get along with every single person at Mass or in church or in another school, community, or group?! Regardless of our personal wounds, we can witness a healing and deep-seated redemption provided we embrace said suffering for the sake of this United Front of Beatific Providence!
THAT perspective is what Christ granted me as I witnessed and met every person face to face as I handed them the Holy Eucharist next to Archbishop Kurtz. Indeed, it was an honor to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion in that moment Lord Jesus, for I could not have reflected on these sacred moments more effectively without such a grace.
It was a tiny “baby step” that we can all tuck into our hearts for the coming years of continued growth and spiritual grace, but it certainly began said thousand-mile journey into the Promised Land of milk and honey! No wonder everyone wanted a picture of the whole group with the Archbishop afterward (as well as individual shots on the steps of the church!) to remember this moment forever. Then, with most everyone moving toward the big moment at Centennial Mall, I myself was graced with a concise 4-6 minute encounter with the Archbishop in a video interview that opened the door for a profound question that can only be unpacked in the next part of this segment in the grander pilgrimage saga!
What is the difference between Abortion & the Eucharist?