We went to the re-opening Mass at St. James Chuch in Lakewood Wednesday night and it was nothing less than spectacular. The church itself is majestic with 16 marble columns at least 80 feet high. A standing room crowd of 1,400 packed into the church and there were 10 priests on the altar, including, naturally, the new pastor Father Joe Workman, a young fellow in his early thirties.
Like many priests today, Father Workman will perform double duty. He also is the pastor of St. Clement, which is about two miles away in Lakewood.
One priest for two parishes is becoming routine. Two priests were talking. “I just got my new assignment,” said one. “Where is it?” asked the second. “St. Mary’s,” said the first. “Which one?” said the second. “All of them,” said the first.
“Father Workman is a young pastor and he already made a big mistake,” a veteran priest said as he reflected on the sellout crowd. “He did not take up a collection.”
That is true. Many people came with their checkbooks out ready to make big donations. Maybe Father Workman did not want to intrude on the joy and solemnity of the occasion by passing the basket.
“Maybe in the chaos of the reopening, maybe they couldn’t find the baskets,” someone said. “Too bad. This would have been like Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day all in one.”
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