Dear Parishioners: I hope you had a great Fourth of July celebration. There were fireworks all over the nation and families and friends gathered for good fun and good food. This most American of holidays is a great day to remember and celebrate our nation and our freedom.
You may have noticed that the U.S. Flag flies high at OLM School. Thanks to Paul Anderson, our Maintenance Director, the flag is illuminated with light at night and so we are able to fly “Old Glory” twenty-four hours a day. When you look at our flag flying be sure to look at the top of the flagpole. On top of the flagpole you will see the newly refinished "ball-style" finial. In your name I thank long-time OLM Parishioner, Steve Kane, who not only donated the gold leafing that now adorns the finial but also spent hours gently applying the gold leaf on the finial. We are truly grateful for his generosity and for sharing his time and talent on behalf of the parish.
The history of our flag is as fascinating as that of the American Republic itself. It has survived battles, inspired songs and evolved in response to the growth of the country it represents. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed an act establishing an official flag for the new nation. The resolution stated: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." On Aug. 3, 1949, President Harry S. Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.
The name Old Glory was given to a large, 10-by-17-foot flag by its owner, William Driver, a sea captain from Massachusetts. Inspiring the common nickname for all American flags, Driver’s flag is said to have survived multiple attempts to deface it during the Civil War. Driver was able to fly the flag over the Tennessee Statehouse once the war ended. It’s a “Grand Old Flag” indeed!
Our new Associate Pastor, Fr. Barrow, is finding his way around the parish and the town. He has been busy getting to know the lay of the land as well as unpacking his trunk and boxes recently arrived from Rome. I hope you got a chance to welcome him and say “Hello” last weekend. If you have not yet greeted our new priest, please do so as I know he is anxious to meet you.
Our OLM Vacation Bible School was a great success. It ended on July 1st and the over fifty children, many parent and teenaged volunteers, our Summer Seminarian Billy Burdier, RE Directors Doug Green and Mickey St. Jean and our OLM Youth Activities Coordinator Michael LaChimia are all to be commended for planning and running such a great faith event for the parish. The children not only had a week of fun and activities but also learned many valuable things about their Catholic Faith. This is a wonderful event for our young parish families and I offer my thanks to all those who helped to make it possible and all those families who participated in the OLM VBS!
Last week we celebrated Independence Day on the Fourth of July. But just before that civic celebration, the Church marked the Feast of St. Junipero Serra, the great Missionary of the Western United States. The Franciscan Friar built the Mission Churches that span the California Coast and his statue stands tall in the U.S. Capitol. Fr. Serra was just canonized in September 2015 by Pope Francis at a Mass in Washington, DC. In his homily the Holy Father stated:
“Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let’s keep moving forward! “ Let us keep moving forward in faith! Be well. Do Good. God Bless. Go Sox!