September 16, 2005

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Celebrating the major and minor moments

Last month, my husband and I were among guests at a party at the Courtyard at the Marriott in Bloomington. The couple hosting the event—Rose and Stan Thomas—made it clear this was a gathering to celebrate not only their 60th wedding anniversary but each guest’s birthday no matter when it was as well as the blessings of family and friendship and special intentions.

Music and other sharings by family members, guests and professionals added enjoyment and even inspired singing. Afterward, the Thomases and many others went directly from that celebration to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

There the pastor, Father Charles S. Chesebrough, edified the congregation with his homily and personable ad-libbed comments. He also invited the ­congregation to an upcoming Mass to honor the associate pastor, Precious Blood Father Donald Davison, who would be celebrating his 25th anniversary as a priest, followed by a family celebration.

“Today certainly emphasizes special events,” I thought, then automatically prayed “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice!”

After Mass, Paul and I met the pastor. As I shook his hand, I said, “Greetings from Christ the King Church in Indianapolis.” Imagine our surprise when we learned he was born into our parish, with his family’s home having been not far from ours. I never cease to be amazed at such coincidences in life. Yet, I also believe in the cliché, There are no coincidences. In fact, I recall one time (probably three decades ago) during a parish Bible study when I shared how I often ask myself, “Is this coincidence or the hand of God?” A gentleman suggested I write a book on this theme. I did not. Perhaps one of my column’s readers will do so.

I believe it is no coincidence that ­certain people or events come into our lives. For instance, I met the Thomases because of Rose’s book, And So It Was As I Recall, which relates growing up during the Depression. This has led her and Stan to many states for book-related events and celebrations, giving their lives new and challenging dimensions.

We all have such milestones in life, each of which deserves to be celebrated even if only in a very private way. For instance, I often celebrate little joys or successes with something as simple as a dish of ice cream eaten alone in the privacy of my home.

During last month’s special time in Bloomington, I had another such quiet moment while listening to the music. The “inner me” was rejoicing at the taste of angel food cake and thinking of all the happy celebrations taking place every day throughout the world.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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