At the beginning of my Pastorate in Dunbar I wrote about the need for a new Ciborium for use at the Altar. I further made clear that the "new" one I was using I had "borrowed" from Geibel as I had NO intention of needlessly adding to the parish's debt. Shortly after that Rambles and Raves column I received TWO gifts given for the purpose of acquiring something appropriate.

The smaller gift (given by two non-parishioners who were moved by Saint Aloysius' plight!) allowed me to replace the PLASTIC lavabo (the bowl used for the washing of the priest's hands during the preparation of the gifts) with a MUCH more fitting crystal one. And since I had shopped at Bon Ton's going-out-of-business sale I was able to get the MOST bang for my buck!

The larger gift (given by a long-time Saint Aloysius parishioner) enabled the purchase of a BEAUTIFUL new gold Ciborium, which debuted at last weekend's liturgies. And as a result I was able to return the "borrowed" Ciborium to Geibel. And neither Geibel nor Saint Aloysius had to spend any of their own money! That's what we call a Win-Win! THANK YOU to the donors, who all wanted to remain anonymous. The Lord, whose sees what is done in secret, will reward these generous individuals.

FINALLY! It took MUCH longer than originally scheduled but several weeks ago the new floor at Saint Rita was FINALLY finished and the congregation returned from its exile. (How blessed we are to have THREE other churches to which a congregation can be "exiled" when necessary! I don't know HOW we could have pulled this off other-wise ...) I trust that all those who have seen the completed project will agree that it was WELL WORTH the wait.

Several circumstances led to the work being drawn out for a month. First, I had not intended on touching the linoleum beneath the pews. However, when the carpet had been removed it became clear that because the pews had not been set perfectly straight when the linoleum had been put down in the early 1990's there would be unacceptable, UNATTRACTIVE gaps in the floor covering. Unlike with the carpet, the pews HAD to be set perfectly straight for the tile; carpet can cover a "multitude of sins" but tile CANNOT! Even though it was not part of the original plan I think we can all agree that it was GOOD that the flooring under the pews WAS replaced. The linoleum was NOT in the best of shape and if something is going to be done it might as well be done RIGHT from the get go! The second issue was that the gentleman who did the floor (Kevin Sharp) had trouble keeping people on the job. He was working 12+ hour days to get the job done and today no one really wants to work like that. Third, he had never done such a large commercial job and underestimated what would be required. And finally, Kevin's background is in engineering so he was VERY precise in every aspect of his work; contemplating the perfection of the final project I am certainly GRATEFUL for that trait!

If you have been in the church since the completion of the floor you obviously have noted that the inner centre doors were removed. This was unavoidable as the tile would NOT fit under them and cutting down the metal doors was NOT an option. (The wooden confessional doors likewise wouldn't work with the tile; however THEY were able to be trimmed.) Rest assured; the door frame WILL be finished with wood to match the rest of the back wall. We didn't go to all that work with the floor to leave an eye-sore like THAT!

For those who have not had the pleasure, here's a peek inside:

COVER PHOTO: Spent time on Labor Day on the bike trail with Fathers Mike Sikon and Dan Blout (my compadres in the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation experiment). For me the section we rode (Rockwood to Meyersdale) was the sole remaining section from Pittsburgh to the Mason Dixon Line that I had NOT been on before. I actually kept going past Meyersdale, through Sand Patch, turning around (as the skies grew threatening and the thunder began to bellow) just past Warren Mills making a round trip of 35 miles WITHOUT the customary break for lunch halfway. I was rather BEAT!

In these dark days for the Church getting "away from it all" now and then is most DEFINITELY needed to maintain my sanity. Please continue to pray for all victims of clerical abuse; for the Church that she may emerge from this "trial by fire" stronger and more more pure; and for priests who may, in the heat of this dreadful moment, be FALSELY accused. PLEASE remember that just because an accusation is made does NOT make it true. NEVER jump to conclusions!


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