Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Great Ideas: San Marcos, CA

October 13, 2009

Peace and Good,

Last week I was in a large parish in Northern San Diego County: St. Mark's Parish in San Marcos. There are about 4500 families, just about evenly split between Anglo and Hispanic. Unfortunately, I do not yet speak Spanish, so my mission was for the Anglo community (although I gave a short invitation at the beginning of the two Spanish Masses for those who were bilingual.

Sunday was October 4th. We felt that it was appropriate to begin the mission with a pet blessing. This is the first time they have had a pet blessing at the parish. There was a beautiful courtyard available, and the youth group sang and sold Hot Dogs and Ice Cream. It was a festival atmosphere. We blessed over 250 pets, including dogs, cats, turtles and tortoises, doves, parakeets, parrots, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, hermit crabs, fish of various kinds, and even a pig. There were no major problems (which given the number of large dogs was a miracle in itself).

The pastor told me about a program they have instituted for first communion parents: a two day retreat (Saturday and Sunday, from morning to late afternoon). This program has brought many people back to a regular practice of their faith, including the convalidation of many marriages. I was so impressed. If anyone is interested in more information, get in touch with the pastor, Fr. George.

I was also impressed with the Saturday evening Spanish Mass. They have two "animators" lead the community in song before the Mass. By the time the Mass begins, the community is well motivated and ready to praise the Lord to the heavens.

There was a very good attendance at the mission, especially at the healing Masses on Wednesday.

Thursday I flew back to Baltimore, and that evening we had a wedding practice for Heather Johnson and her groom Christoper. Heather is my assistant Linda's daughter. The wedding was Friday evening and went off very well.

Saturday I gave two talks at a convocation of ministers for the archdiocese of Baltimore. The two talks were the same, on the Gospel of Luke as an example of the compassion of God. These talks were offered in the contest of many different offerings throughout the day.

I am now on retreat at a Franciscan Retreat House in Wappiners Falls.

I finished one book. I cannot remember the exact title, but it was about the Civil War period from the battle of Atlanta to the battle of Nashville. That was a period of time that I didn't know all that much about, and the book was quite good. It was by the author of the book Forrest Gump.

You're all in my prayers, especially this week during my retreat.


fr. Jude


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