Sunday, June 26, 2016

Two Weddings and a Reunuon -- the Joy of Family

Yesterday was a day filled with joy and laughter, of gatherings that brought people from near and far together for a variety of reasons. The day began with a car wash and Vietnamese wedding at our parish. The car wash was to help raise funds for a youth retreat at Franciscan University. While the kids were washing cars, I popped into the Church hoping to make a short visit. I came right in at the Consecration with the prayers chanted in Vietnamese and the lovely couple kneeling at the altar. The array of beautiful silk colors of women and children dressed in traditional costume was stunning -- a rainbow of color to celebrate the sacramental marriage feast.  I was grateful to experience it if only briefly.

It put me in the perfect frame of mind to head to a family reunion at a winery (now also the Red Shedman Brewry -- awesome craft beers -- I'm a beer snob, I don't say this lightly) owned by family members in Maryland (Linganore Winecellars). There were about 60 or 70 of us present representing 4 of the 6 Greco sibling and their children/grandchildren/great grandchildren. It was quite an event on a simply stunning day to be in the rolling hills of the Linganore Valley. We got to catch up with many extended family members that we hadn't seen for quite some time -- you know those folks you would only see at a wedding or a funeral (sad to say).

Because my husband had back surgery a little over two weeks ago, we didn't think we would be able to make it to the reunion, so I accepted another invitation to celebrate the wedding shower of two very lovely people, one of whom I work with. So, two cars traveled up to Maryland, and after a couple of hours of visiting with family, I left to attend the Wedding Shower of Matthew and Bonnie. What a fine evening to share food and laughter with some of the most wonderful people I have the pleasure to work beside. Excellent company, wonderful stories, some new faces and fabulous conversations -- what a treat.

It struck me that God had arranged my day so perfectly -- to include the weather being absolutely gorgeous! He had started my day at a wedding feast and ended it with the anticipation of another wedding feast, and sandwiched in the middle of these two sacraments was family -- the back bone of society; the institution that is at the center of some furious debate these days.

My family isn't perfect; no, we're a work in progress. There is pain and joy, success and failure, anger and forgiveness. But, most of all there is love. And, that is what comes from never letting go of the fact that in a family you were raised and from a family you will go forth to make your mark on the world. We are a fiercely devoted family. I pray that never changes -- and it is the one representative piece of our family that best resembles the Holy Family.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that family is the "original cell of social life" and that "[a]uthority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society." (CCC 2207) It was here couched in the middle of one sacramental celebration and one anticipated sacrament of newly forming families that the words of the Catechism took shape in my mind.

As I reviewed the day, took in all the joy and fanfare, I was reminded about the blessings of family: the family of the Church, the family that is in such danger of being lost in the rubble of social upheaval. This precious institution, so vital to a free, secure and fraternal society must be preserved and protected. I am so glad to have a generous, loving and work in progress family. No family is perfect, but the foundation it provides will hold sturdy, even if and when we stray. Family is forever -- a faith-filled family is eternal.

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