Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Sunday, April 18, 2021

146 migrant chidren arrive in Erie

Here are some excerpts from the Erie Times News following the arrival of 146 girls, ages 7-12, unaccompanied migrants entering the US.

"While the Biden administration has called on states to provide shelters and help ease the backlog of unaccompanied minors at the border, only two non-border states have done so--Michigan and Pennsylvania.

As of now, Erie is the only city in Pennsylvania to set up an Emergency Intake Site, a temporary shelter that allows migrant children to move out of packed US Customs and Border Protection facilities and into the care of the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

The Erie site, a dormitory in Summit Township was offered by the owner for federal use. At the site they are receiving medical care, clean beds and clothes as case workers begin the task of linking them with relatives or vetted sponsors in the US. Federal officials say that the majority of the girls do have family or relations in the country."

Donations and volunteers have been plentiful, although volunteering is not easy, as three clearances are needed. For now between 75-100 federal staff are caring for the children. However, donated items (socks, flip-flops, sweatshirts, jackets, underwear and games, such as puzzles) can be dropped off at the Erie First Assembly Church on Oliver Rd. or at the monastery and we'll get them there. 

Thanks to Sisters Pat Lupo and Rosanne Lindal Hynes, pictured above in an Erie Times News article last week, who helped purchase the initial supplies for the children. And thanks for the generous people of Erie who responded so quickly. We're not surprised--we have had 1,000s of immigrants over the last decade or so--many coming through our SBEC programs-- and have, generally, welcomed them warmly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Favorites for everyone

 If you live in a four-season climate or even maybe just a two-season one, I'm sure you have your change-of-seasons favorite moments: the first hummingbird that comes, the first winter wonderland snowfall, the first pumpkins that are displayed in the same place every year, the first day it's warm enough to sunbathe.

Well, in Erie we have many firsts when winter changes to spring. It would be much too hard to list my ten top favorites--I don't think I could get them down to only ten! But among the top three would definitely be this one: the blossoms on the flowering pear tree in the center of our library courtyard--on which at least half of our bedrooms have a view. But the view I catch it with is the one from the library itself. I'm walking down a hallway, just as I was this week, and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, this huge white expanse goes by--and I know instantly what it is: the whole pear tree has erupted and fills the panes of glass that cover the east wall of our library.

Every year I try to take a more perfect picture of what my eye sees. But I must tell you, they never catch exactly what we see. Nevertheless, here's this year's attempt.

For those of you with whom we are sharing the coming of spring, I hope you are getting wonderful pink and yellow and white surprises everywhere you look. One more of my favorites: the route I take into my ministry each day, through some pretty dilapidated neighborhoods and the unexpected gloriously blooming dogwoods or magnolia trees, in the yards and up against the most humble of abodes. Good thing nature doesn't care where it comes through.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

We are all one.

 This weekend I enjoyed an annual event in my family--watching The Masters golf tournament. Well, we didn't watch it much when we were kids, but by the time we were young adults, being a golfing family ourselves, we took great pleasure in the annual April event from the gorgeous course in Augusta, Georgia.

I miss not being able to watch it with my parents now, all of us offering commentary, advice and past stories throughout the tournament. 

One thing worth noting this year: the first Japanese player won! Hideki Matsuyama, a 29 year old, 10 year professional who had won as low amateur at the Masters ten years ago. The commentators shared great remembrances and history of all of the fine Japanese golfers that had played in the Masters over the years and telling the audience that Matsuyama will become a national icon in his golf-crazy native country after this win.

How wonderfully ironic and blessed news this is as it comes at the most prestigious US golf event, right at the time of the racial prejudices against Asians. The pious might say, "God works in mysterious ways!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Easter Vigil 2021

The story, in its entirety, would be 3 1/2 hours long! Here's the short version.

Saturday night, April 3; 6:15 p.m. an electrical power outage hits our area of Harborcreek.

8:00 p.m. We begin the traditional Easter Vigil service after much scurrying to find:
  • a portable mic system
  • scores of flashlights/battery-operated lighting devices, especially for each musician,
  • contacting all the principle players, including Fr. Bob Brugger, who is a "prince of a guy" for going along with us in this (ad)venture! "Jesus probably didn't have electricity at the Last Supper," he wisely noted, "so I guess we can do without it, too."

What you see above is a concoction of three smaller lights held together with blue duct tape,
mounted on a stand at the primary lectern--looks like something out of Star Wars to me!

Do you remember MacGyver (1985-1992) where Richard Dean Anderson played a genius-level guy who solved tough cases by jury-rigging whatever was at hand to get in and out of situations for each week's dilemma--fighting for the good guys? That's exactly what our Sister Mary MacGyvers did for an hour getting set up for this not-to-be-soon-forgotten Easter Vigil. BTW: an updated MacGyver has been on since 2016--an undercover government agent who uses ingenious engineering techniques in his weekly cases.

Here's what the north side of the chapel looked like. 
Yes, there were four emergency lights on. 

Here's the south side.

And here are my orchestra bells with a lantern-type flashlight 
hanging with fishing wire so we could get it to
illuminate the music and the steel bars equally!

The lights came back on at 9:45 p.m. just as Communion was ending and the organ had time to warm up for the last song--which gave new meaning to rousing.

To all of our next year's guests---sure, we'll try to duplicate it in 2022---just for you!

Sunday, April 4, 2021


 "Black Swallowtail"

The caterpillar,
interesting but not exactly lovely,
humped along among the parsley leaves
eating, always eating. Then
one night it was gone and in its place
a small green confinement hung by two silk threads
on a parsley stem. I think it took nothing with it
except faith, and patience. And then one morning
it expressed itself into the most beautiful being.

Mary Oliver

Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday

 "Broken, Unbroken"

The lonely
stand in the dark corners
of their hearts.

I have seen them
in cities,
and in my own neighborhood,

nor could I touch them
with the magic
that they crave

to be unbroken.
Then, I myself,

said hello to
good fortune.

came along
and lingered
and little by little

became everything
that makes the difference.
Oh, I wish such good luck

to everyone.
How beautiful it is
to be unbroken.

Mary Oliver