I came across this wonderful story and video of a dear friend who told me 4 years ago following the Easter Vigil at Mt. Irenaeus that he would be leaving. Fr. Bob left the Mountain in May of 2013 and died in December of that same year. I always enjoyed my talks with Fr. Bob. He was an inspiration to me and to many others.
Source: Fr. Robert Struzynski, OFM
I’ve spent the last two days and nights at Mt. Irenaeus celebrating the Triduum with the community here. It’s something I’ve contemplated before but for one reason or another have failed to follow through on. This may not be for everyone but for me it’s been therapeutic. I love the flow of the liturgy over the three days. It’s now just after dinner on Saturday night and we’re waiting to celebrate the Easter Vigil in a couple of hours. This is a commemoration of the night Our Lord passed from death to life. It’s my favorite night of the church year. Deeply symbolic and very mystical as we gather on the hillside near the chapel. I began the day reading and then breakfast by myself. I decided to do some walking and combined that with the rosary and then the Stations of the Cross. I walked the labyrinth while I prayed the rosary. Then I joined the others for morning prayer in the screened shelter next to the pond here at Mt. Irenaeus. I love the integration of the prayer and work that comes with staying here. Nothing is forced or artificial, there is an easy flow, a relationship with work and prayer. After morning prayer some of the younger people in our group decided to jump into the pond. I’d love to know what the water temperature was but my guess is that it was not much warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They all came out almost as fast as they went in. Then we had lunch at the house complete with fresh leeks that some of our group had dug earlier in the morning. I retired to my hermitage to read but soon fell asleep in the chair. When I woke up I had to locate my glasses which had fallen off while I was sleeping. I returned to the chapel and found some of our group decorating it for the vigil service which begins shortly. We had a lovely dinner complete with pierogis, vegeterian lasagna, meat lasagna, fresh leeks, salad and more. This has been a wonderful, prayerful and peaceful event. I’m glad to have been a part of it. This has been a wonderful culmination to Lent. It’s an event and a time I won’t forget. This has been an important part of my discernment and ongoing formation as a Secular Franciscan. Peace and all good!
It is no mistake that Easter occurs in the spring and some years like this one it is later than others. This afternoon after lunch I took a walk in the woods here at Mount Irenaeus. All along the trail as I walked slowly through the wood were signs of the earth coming to life after months of slumber during the winter. I marveled at the incredible forces that we lovingly call nature and how this delicate dance plays out each year as the suns warms the earth to just the right temperature. Suddenly flowers appear where only days before were leaves pressed to the forest floor from months of snow and rain. Easter is a time when we celebrate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. It has been over 2000 years since the historical Jesus was arrested, crucified, buried and resurrected. No matter whether you are a follower of Christ or not there is no doubt that each year the earth enters a period of arrest in late fall, is entombed through the winter and rises again in the spring. This new life which comes from the death of the old demonstrates that death is a part of life. Each spring the earth rises from the dead as it were. The flowers along the trail, the chipmunks and robins scurrying and flying about are cause for rejoicing. Hallelujah! The earth is risen!
I’m living the dream. Every year for the past 17 I’ve come to Mount Irenaeus for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter vigil. It’s my favorite part of the church year. Last night we celebrated the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. It began with a dinner at at the House of Peace and culminated with the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Peace Chapel. I love the intimate setting of the community here at Mount Irenaeus. It’s much is I imagine that first last supper Jesus had with his disciples. This year, instead of driving home after the evening, I stayed overnight in the Hermitage of St.Clare. I will be staying here for two more nights and celebrating the Triduum with the rest of the community here. I spent a restful night and woke up to the beautiful peace and quiet that surrounds this Hermitage. I am praying for peace in our world. That has been my prayer for all of Lent. I have found a great deal of peace in praying for others especially those with whom I disagree.
Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love all of Richard’s books and this is yet another. I love how he brings the trinity to life and gives the reader much to think about.
Today I took a ride to Abbey of the Genesee to shop for bread and to spend time in their chapel. On my way home I drove past St. Mary Parish in Arcade, New York. St. Mary was my home parish when I was a young boy growing up in the 1960’s. It was here that I made my First Communion in 1960 and later served as an altar boy. I served on daily masses, arriving every weekday morning at 7:00 am. One day the priest found me asleep on the steps in front of the church. Today as I drove by the church I noticed they were open for prayer so I decided to stop. I’m glad I did. There on the altar in the sanctuary very familiar to me was the Eucharist. There only one other person present as I sat in silence. Over fifty years have passed since those days I served Mass for Fr. Pollard and Fr. Connelly but their presence was fresh in my memory today.