Dear Sisters and Brothers –
The word Liturgy comes from a Greek word that means Work of the People. One Sunday a couple years ago, I was earlier than usual for Mass. Vested, mic’d and ready to go, I sat down in the sacristy to wait. While I did so, I watched parishioners arrive and prepare for our Work of the People: sign in for their particular liturgical ministry, practice the names of the deceased for the Prayer of Petition, fill a water bottle to wet a parched throat between hymns, change albs a couple of times because of a recent growth spurt, smile greetings to one another and catch up, mark the Roman Missal with colored ribbons, light the beeswax processional candles, scurry to replace a missing minister, and circle up to pray before Mass.
The flurry of activity in the sacristy belies a truth that only became evident in my silent observation that Sunday: our sacristy is very holy place. It is holy because its walls have absorbed the good will and work of our parishioners and all who have entered for over 100 years. The activities of preparing for Mass are holy because human labor is holy. It is our shared work. It is the Work of the People.
Ray Frost, one of the people at the center of our liturgy, told me that he will retire at the end of November. For 23 years, Ray has packed a lunch for work and has come to St. Ignatius Church. More than attending to every detail that enables us to do our Work, Ray is the human face of SI, a face of welcome, kindness, and steadfast faith that exemplifies what we are called to be as St. Ignatius Parish.
Ray arrived at the same time we were designated a parish again, in 1994. He can document the growth of our faith community and our programs. He watched as the church was restored and he has lovingly cared for it himself since. In addition to setting our bread and wine, Ray has taught liturgical ministers how to minister and made sure that the faithful have devotional candles to light and holy water to bless themselves. He has gently welcomed to our church brothers and sisters without homes and other pilgrims, as would St. Benedict (Venit hospes, venit Christus.) Ray has faithfully led our Respect Life Holy Hour and inspired us by his devotion to our Blessed Mother and the Holy Face of Manopello. Ray has been a deeply valued member of our parish and parish staff for whom we have great affection.
Thank you, Ray, for the countless ways you have made it possible for us to do the Work of the People. We are grateful for your friendship and your companionship in Jesus. Know that St. Ignatius will always be your home and we look forward to worshipping with you for years to come, now alongside us in the pews. We wish you and Liany God’s very best blessings during your retirement and may Our Lady keep you in her love and prayers in a special way during this next chapter of your life.
We have yet to discuss a farewell event for Ray, but we’ll give you plenty of notice. In the meantime, let us pray for him with gratitude.
Oremus pro invicem,