Public Broadcasting used to air a humorous Saturday evening program called “Prairie Home Companion.” It featured a fictitious town in Minnesota called Lake Wobegon, “the little town that time forgot and the decades cannot improve.” The town’s name origin, though Native American, fits well into the English word woe-be-gone, meaning “affected with woe.” The opening words of the monologue usually were, “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie;” and the closing words of the monologue were, “Well, that’s the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” I can just imagine substituting the name of Delray Beach for Lake Wobegon, and filling our minds with myriad tales of life that actually are filled with much more fact than fiction.

For instance, last Saturday evening, Father Danis and I attended a well-planned party in what seemed to be the far western edges of civilization – West Boynton Beach. The host family, the Sipperleys, and a team of well-concerned parents, carried out a wonderful evening of “gift-gathering” for an upcoming auction that benefits our school children. As much as we enjoyed the food, the setting and the company, we couldn’t stay long because we had to dash to Palm Beach International Airport for the arrival of the “Honor Flight” of war veterans who had spent the day in Washington, D.C., for free, made possible by generous benefactors. One of our parishioners, Larry Zuccala, a Knight of Columbus and an usher at weekend Masses, was among the 79 veterans who participated in the one-day trip. An exuberant crowd of well over fifteen hundred well-wishers turned out to greet him and the other vets. They included a fife and drum brigade, color guards of our military services, boy scout troops and musical entertainers. All of this activity followed long periods of hearing Confessions, serving at Masses, hosting a Haitian-born, Brooklyn-retired auxiliary bishop and over 700 Haitian-Americans at their annual spiritual convocation in our parish hall – hardly a quiet day (let alone week) in Lake Wobegon.

Our boys and girls’ parish school sports teams each won games this past week, giving proof to the adage, “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” Parish seminarian Marc Gustinelli advanced one step closer to the Priesthood as he received the Minor Order of Acolyte, entitling him to be an ordinary minister of holy Communion. All of these happenings, and many more, were squeezed into one busy week between Catechetical and Priesthood Sundays.

In the middle of this week, a neighboring pastor, Msgr. Michael McGraw, and I took a quick overnight trip to the Bahamas to meet with Archbishop Patrick Pinder of Nassau, each of us presenting him with checks from our respective parishes for over twenty-five thousand dollars* to help in the relief efforts facing that hurricane-ravaged country. We spoke at length with him about future plans for our Florida Knights of Columbus to help in rebuilding the very tattered infrastructure of the archdiocese, in particular, and to reach out to the faithful, in general. Wow! There’s a plethora of undertakings that he mentioned that we are still trying to fathom in our minds in order to understand more clearly how we might best prioritize and address the vast number of projects to be undertaken this coming year. By the way, the Knights in the Bahamas are part of the jurisdiction of Florida, so we feel additionally challenged, if not actually compelled, to assist our brothers and their families and neighbors.   *($25,300)

I’m glad to hear that our Knights of Columbus reached out last Sunday to the numerous good Catholic men of our parish who haven’t yet joined this fine charitable organization. I know that if they look into the many wonderful activities in which the Knights participate in Church, state and other civic events, they will find a men’s fraternity like no other, working to serve God, his people and country. It’s my privilege to once again serve as Florida State Chaplain to the Knights, as well as the local (parish) council Chaplain. It’s a most worthy form of stewardship of my time, and I feel that it presents an opportunity for all of us men to spread the Faith.

Our Young Adults organization (for 18 to 30+), under the leadership of Reva Beckett, sponsored another Theology-on-Tap session last Monday night at Bistro Boheme. The guest speaker was Father Brian King, Secretary to Bishop Barbarito, who captivated the audience with his spot-on and sometimes humorous take on different Vocations: to the Priesthood and Religious life, to Married life and to the Single witness. Please check our parish bulletin or our website for the date, location and the next guest presenter. You’ll surely enjoy the venue and the camaraderie.

Finally, I thank you for your generous response to our appeals for the Bahamas, for our Ferrer Fund and for helping with the Capital Campaign. The last stage of our campaign, the additions to the church entrances, is open for new opportunities of gift-giving. Are you ready and willing?

“Well, that’s the news from Delray Beach, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”