This morning, as I sit in Boston Logan Airport counting my blessings, I'm fondly remembering this weekend's beautiful Mass in celebration of the life and legacy of Venerable Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.
Over the past year, my life and heart have been inextricably linked with this audacious Irish priest who founded the organization that is now home to CatholicMom.com. It's been almost a year since the announcement that the website I founded would become a part of Holy Cross Family Ministries. This weekend's trip to the Peyton Center for a special celebration of the moving forward of Venerable Peyton's cause for canonization was for me a total affirmation that our site's new "home" is a perfect fit.
On Saturday, I had the tremendous honor of proclaiming the second reading at Mass, a passage from Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. One little part of that reading truly struck at my heart:
Therefore, we are not discouraged;
rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
On Friday, I will celebrate my 55th birthday. Part of my desire to find a permanent and lasting institutional "home" for CatholicMom.com stemmed from my own aging. What can I, a "senior citizen", possibly have to teach young moms? I asked myself over the past few years. As I stood amidst so many who loved Father Peyton this weekend and proclaimed these words of scripture, I felt a smile in my heart:
Brothers and sisters:
Since we have the same spirit of faith,
according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke,
we too believe and therefore we speak,
knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
I have been placed (by the Holy Spirit, no doubt!) in the presence of a mighty force for good. While my involvement with CatholicMom.com is now less focused on the site's day to day running, I am so happy that there continues to be a digital home for me to connect with those who share such a bold "spirit of faith". But the site we (140 writers and growing!) built together is not only a place for those who already know their faith. Perhaps more importantly, we have always welcomed with open arms those who have big questions to ask, big thoughts to ponder and to pass along to their loved ones. In a very real sense, I started the site in 2000 because I too sought to better understand the faith that had been gifted to me by my parents. 18 years later, even with an outer self that is "wasting away" a bit, I live and breathe each day to know, love and serve God and my family.
Father Peyton was a tireless witness to the power of prayer in a world greatly in need of peace and love. This weekend, amidst hundreds of souls who learned from his commitment and courage, I felt myself being re-committed to whatever mission God has for me in the years ahead of me. I still have lots of questions, I still seek answers. But I seek them with a heart full of love, reminded that I am never alone.
While I never knew Father Peyton personally, I was raised in the faith by a "Rosary Priest" of my own who was in a sense a contemporary of the man we celebrated Sunday. Mine was from Ireland too! Monsignor Michael Collins had a deep love for our Lady, an infectious spirit, and innovative ways to involve families in the life of the Church. Our Southern Californian Irish "rosary priest" biked the parish borders dropping in on families for visits. He always carried a pocket full of "finger rosaries" and gave them away dozens at a time to promote his favorite devotion. Importantly for my family, Father Collins taught us that our parish was indeed a second "home" that needed and deserved our love, stewardship and personal commitment.
When Sunday's lovely choir and the soloist sang a stunning rendition of one my favorite hymns, "Lady of Knock", after Communion, I wiped more than a few tears from my eyes remembering those two Irish pastors: the one who married my husband and I, and the one who is now one of my adopted patron saints. While I never met Father Peyton, he is now a major part of my life's story.
Today, sitting in the airport in Boston, I recommit myself to the mission to which Venerable Patrick Peyton devoted his life.
Where will that journey take me from here? I can't wait to find out.