Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

  • Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • 2nd Sunday of Lent
  • 17 March 2019

If you had the chance to attend our Parish Mission last week with Mr. Tracy Earl Welliver, then you have a renewed understanding of gratitude…I know that I certainly do. Tracy arrived last Saturday afternoon as the storms were passing through this part of the State. All was well until the electrical grid when haywire about 10 o’clock on Saturday night. A local transformer was hit by lightning and caused a series of cascading surges that shut down the entire campus. With the time change scheduled for 2:00 a.m. on Sunday morning it was a little confusing for us to know what time it was when the 7:30 morning mass began in the dark. Father John Nguyen and a group of hardy parishioners held mass in the Commons as the Nave was completely dark. The staff and volunteers helped Charlie Dispenzieri to celebrate the morning mass by candlelight, while others were helping to restore some lights and the sound system in the main church. Susan McRoberts and Steve Kahl were working on just getting the doors open, since the electronic locks had been disabled. All the controls on the HVAC systems had been damaged and there was no heat in the building, but the religious education program continued with what systems were still functioning. Some of the outlets were working, so some folks moved lamps into the restrooms. Coffee and donuts suffered as the coffee machines had all been affected and the only one we could use was the small unit in the concession area of the gym. Some of the older analogue systems in the older parts of the building were operational, but the newer sections were more dependent on electronic controls. The new kitchen appliances and the refrigeration were knocked out, but the old kitchen walk-in was not affected. Good thing we decided to maintain part of the old as we have continued with the new. By the time we began the first conference of the Parish Mission on Sunday night, most of the building at least had the lights back on. Tracy reminded us that we should be grateful for the small things…those things we so often take for granted…like Light!

It will be some time before we can assess the full extent of the electrical damage to the infrastructure of the campus, but the good news is that life has a way of going on. In terms of the big picture, no one was hurt and everyone pulled together as a family should and worked through our difficulty. As much as we might depend on technology, we depend on each other so much more. During the Parish Mission conference on Sunday night and again on Monday, we listened to the message on stewardship with our coats on being grateful for the gifts we have. It was a good retreat and an excellent reminder that being a worthy disciple of Jesus Christ is to be mindful of the gifts we have. The good steward brings the old and the new from the storeroom. I am grateful that we were able to put that plan into practice. Gratitude to all those staff and volunteers at Seton who helped us get through this most recent inconvenience.