Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Deacon Robert Waters, who has served our parish and the Diocese of Charleston for decades, the last twenty-seven years of which in Holy Orders as a Deacon, entered into eternal rest at his home in Aiken on Monday, May 7, surrounded by his loving family, including his wife of fifty-six years, Donna. (Since the bulletin must go to print on Tuesday morning, full arrangements have not been made as I write this.) Deacon Bob's greatest love was our Lord. He was able to love everyone in the deepest, most beautiful way because he loved them through the love of Christ his Lord. He was likely the person most prepared for death that I've seen. In the words of one of his daughters: "My father looked at death as a very beautiful thing. He said he always waited for the special moment that he would be with our Lord. ... His wish to his family was to always love the Lord because He was good to him and helped him at the lowest moments of his life. Let us go and rejoice in the Lord because my father made it to the place he worked his whole life to get to." Well done, good and faithful Deacon. May you rest in peace. Amen.
What does heaven look like? "I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and language. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb" (Rev. 7:9). We had a small glimpse of that last weekend at St. Mary's in language, race, music, and people from all over the world who make up our parish. God gave us perfect weather, which the huge crowd was able to enjoy. All of Sunday's events – the May Procession, May Crowning, and Parish Picnic – were filled with joy. It took months of preparation, which included the set up, the Mass, the music, those who assisted with the Marian Procession, the food, the entertainment, and, of course, the clean up. People brought so much delicious food from home. How wonderful, as well, so see our special guests carrying flowers for our Blessed Mother, our young First Communicants, who received their First Holy Communion the day before. Allow me to offer an enormous Thank you! to each and every person who in any way made last Sunday's celebrations possible. Your selfless giving helps make our parish truly great and is a reflection of Christ Himself.
Today, we celebrate the transferred Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord. (In most dioceses in the United States, including ours, this celebration is moved from its normal home on Thursday to the closest Sunday.) Remember, this is our future when Christ "will raise these lowly bodies of ours to be like His own, glorified body" (Phil 3:21). Christ will come again and raise our bodies up in glorified splendor like Himself and take us to Himself. Mankind has found an everlasting place in God.
Let us pray for each other,