This Sunday, my friend and former high school drama teacher, Steve, invited me to his parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to watch him and his wife lector during Mass. Our Lady of Perpetual Help isn’t too far away from me, but I had never bothered to visit before, so I gladly accepted.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help (or “OLPH”) is considerably older than my parish, Blessed Kateri, and is located in Newhall, the oldest section of the now heavily-developed Santa Clarita Valley. While the church wasn’t run down, it wasn’t magnificent architecturally. I found the face of the church interesting because of its large mosaic and tile covering, which I typically associate with Greek Orthodox Churches. They are currently trying to raise money to build a new church building.
A very well-trained young man served as the cantor, accompanied at different times by a piano, guitar, and organ. Steve, and his wife Cheri both did an excellent job as lectors. Cheri delivered a condemnation of “vanities” from the Book of Ecclesiastes and Steve read a letter from St. Paul telling the Colossians to “put to death the parts of you that are earthly.” The newly ordained priest, Father Raymond, delivered a nice sermon on the theme of vanity. He criticized a bumper sticker that read, “Whoever has the most toys when they die WINS,” arguing that a person with many toys still dies, and that this person has the most to lose by dying. He encouraged his parishioners to caution themselves when tempted to buy unnecessary items, and to ask themselves, “what good will all these things do when we die?” What matters, he said, are our relationships with God and each other.
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