Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A big "Shout-out!" and Bono's tending to the soul

A few items to bring to your attention today. First, I want to give a big congratulations to my friend, The Rev. Michele Racusin, who was elected priest-in-charge at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Family in Fresno, Calif. Michele began her ordination process under Bishop John David Schofield who would not ordain women, and her path led down many roads far from her Central Valley home. 

Michele ended up serving at Grace Cathedral, far from her family, commuting to the San Francisco Bay Area (these conflicts in the church have real impacts on real people). With the newly organized Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Michele was able to rejoin her family in Fresno. This week she becomes among the first women to lead a parish in San Joaquin. You can read about Michele and her journey by clicking HERE.  Michele was raised up in the Diocese of San Joaquin, the first woman to run the gauntlet successfully in that diocese. This is big milestone for Michele, Holy Family and San Joaquin.

Other women priests are serving in charge of parishes and missions in San Joaquin as well, thanks to the new lay leadership of the diocese and Bishop Jerry Lamb, who was elected to take over after the split with the Schofield faction. The other women serving are The Rev. Kathryn Galicia as priest-in-charge at St. Francis, Turlock; and The Rev. Linda Huggard as Vicar at St. Andrew's, Taft and as priest-in-charge at All Souls, Ridgecrest. Linda is also a good friend; Lori and I went on a trip to Belize with Linda and a small group through Episcopal Relief and Development to build houses for hurricane victims in 2002.

In the second item for you today, Simeon Fitch of St. Paul's brought this to my attention: A commentary in The New York Times by Bono (the rock star) on the topic of Easter and tending to the soul. Bono, known not just for his music but also for his advocacy and contributions to ending world poverty, writes there was still something missing: His inner life. Bono found himself back in the pews:

It’s Lent I’ve always had issues with. I gave it up ... self-denial is where I come a cropper. My idea of discipline is simple — hard work — but of course that’s another indulgence.

Then comes the dying and the living that is Easter.

It’s a transcendent moment for me — a rebirth I always seem to need. Never more so than a few years ago, when my father died. I recall the embarrassment and relief of hot tears as I knelt in a chapel in a village in France and repented my prodigal nature — repented for fighting my father for so many years and wasting so many opportunities to know him better. I remember the feeling of “a peace that passes understanding” as a load lifted. Of all the Christian festivals, it is the Easter parade that demands the most faith — pushing you past reverence for creation, through bewilderment at the idea of a virgin birth, and into the far-fetched and far-reaching idea that death is not the end. The cross as crossroads. Whatever your religious or nonreligious views, the chance to begin again is a compelling idea.
To read all of Bono's commentary, click HERE. May you have a great day ahead filled with many blessings.

1 comment:

Fresno Mark said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Just one little correction: Rev. Michele is the first woman to lead a parish as priest in Fresno, but not in the Diocese of San Joaquin. Sunlight has been breaking out all over this Diocese. I checked the Diocese's website so I didn't miss any, and we have the Rev. Kathryn Galicia as priest-in-charge at St. Francis, Turlock; and the Rev. Linda Huggard as Vicar at St. Andrew's, Taft AND as priest-in-charge at All Souls, Ridgecrest.