Last time I posted, we had been to South Carolina on my Spring Break and it was Lent.
We got back and the next thing I knew it was Holy Week and we were celebrating our Lord's Resurrection with our new pope. It was a beautiful week with three neophytes coming into the church.
But something strange happened that week, too. One of our priests, Fr. Duy Nguyen, SCJ, was the celebrant at our parish for the week. (We are one of five churches served by the Priests of the Sacred Heart, U.S. (SCJs) in North Mississippi.) This June, Fr. Duy will celebrate the second anniversary of his ordination. He is a wonderful young man, and this was his second Holy Week with us. We had a beautiful mass on Holy Thursday.
I was off on Good Friday, and while I was waiting for Richard to come home, I stopped by WalMart for a bit of shopping. I was walking by the greeting cards when I had an overwhelming feeling come over me that I should buy an Easter card for Fr. Duy. ( Now mind you, I have NEVER bought a Christmas or Easter card, or any other kind of card for a priest before.) I just knew at that moment it was something I had to do. So I bought him a card and decided to leave it in the sacristy for him to find. Instead of Happy Easter, I thanked him for his vocation, told him we were praying for him and that he would always be loved by my family.
I put the card in the sacristy after Good Friday service, while everyone else was in adoration. I did not think anything more of it. I wasn't even sure he got it. We had choir practice on Saturday morning and I peeked into the sacristy and sure enough it was gone.
Saturday evening came and it was time for Vigil. What a beautiful mass it was. It's my favorite time- the darkness and the light... The stripped down altar is redecorated in beautiful white, and you know that Christ has risen indeed.
After mass, I did not see Fr. Duy, but a friend told me he had just told them he had been reassigned to the SCJ church in Houston, and tomorrow would be his last mass at our church. I was shocked about the move, but more shocked by what I had done. I had not understood my desire to send him that card at the time, but at that minute I realized why it had to be done.
Then I started freaking out thinking he might wonder how I knew he was leaving and trying to figure out how I could have known. I texted him right away to explain what happened, and it was so late, I did not hear back from him.
The next morning, which was Easter morning, I finally got a chance to talk with Father. He was a bit surprised by the card, but took it all in stride. He did say it was exactly what he needed to hear at exactly the right time. I think it was hard for him to have to say goodbye to our parish. It was really hard for all of us, I know.
I am still puzzled by the incident with the card. I would like to think that I was "listening" to God, but I'm not anywhere near that holy- that he would speak to me. I hope I will be one day. I will just trust that I was in the right place at the right time so that he could use me to let a young priest who was headed on a new journey know that there are people in his corner.
It made me think of a line in that Keith Whitley song, "You say it best when you say nothing at all."
|Fr. Duy and me after Easter Sunday Mass.|
|Fr. Duy always teased me about taking pictures of everything.|
He hammed it up for my camera at Easter breakfast.