"Welcome to your church," John said to parishioner, after parishioner, whilst handling bulletins and printed programmes.
early arrivalsMore than a thousand were forecast to show by the new pastor, Father Eric Orzech. And more than a thousand did come before the start. Father Eric is young and busy. He has two Polish cathedrals to pastor. The official co-cathedral of Cleveland, Saint Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr, and Saint Casimir.
empty fontIf nothing else, he has a sense of humour and an easy manner of speaking. It is unusual for Catholics to interrupt homilies and priestly orations with applause, they did several times to-day. He noticed, or knew a forehand that hand, after hand, after hand would dip into empty bowls, which touched by reflex in order to gather drops of holy water to sign the cross. In the programme it was mentioned that an Asperges (sprinkling rite) would follow the blessing of the new holy water. He, behind the altar table, mimed the empty pounding of hands in dry immersion. He said, that after two and a half years the water had evaporated. He did not say the fonts were portable, and had been in a warehouse. He is politic savvy.
blessing water with a Resurrection candleHe welcomed the multitude 'to a usual Casimir Sunday'. Again, and again he used the local pronunciation of the oldest parishioners 'Kazmer'. Many people were there for the first time. Many had been several times, or more, a few feet away outside on the other side of the fence.
The Mass was tri-lingual, at least in song. Asperges Me, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei were in Gregorian mode. The rest bounced from English to Polsku. Before Mass, it was acknowledged that the street vigil tradition of bi-lingual Lord's Prayer, and a decade of Aves were, indeed, recited in the two languages again. Television cameras, still photographers, and a couple of documentarians were busy recording.
His humour continued, as to speculate as some called this a miracle. That is to be left to the theologians, but you have never seen such an event yet, have you?
The reception of the Sacrament took quite some time. Two other priests were on hand, the retired Fr. Keller of Adalbert in Berea, and the former Casimiri associate, Fr. Jan Wachala from Chicago exile. After Mass, he gave a reflection in Polish, that was very well received by those fluent.
Afterwards, a pastry and pop reception took place in the gym. The world should know, that the Poles are very competent bakers.
The only bitter point was a clique of parishioners, and mainly their 'queen bee' who usurped as much of the spotlight as possible. The parish to have peace and success, will need the pastor to very quickly and tightly rein in that problem.