She grew up in the parish of St. Edward’s. Jacqueline wanted to come back and be married here. Though her parents had moved from Bowie, many close ties and friendships were made here, and were still going along. Jacqueline asked her engaged fiance if it would be fine with him that they request St. Edward’s parish to host their wedding. Joshua agreed to it. They called here and I (the pastor) consented and we had a convenient weekend available in Spring 2013 in the church. All was arranged for an April wedding. The couple began Pre-Marriage Counsel/ Classes and completed them. They spiritually prepared for their promise and union before God. A special priest friend of the family was asked to do the vows. He was one of the men from Bowie who had become a priest for the Archdiocese in recent times; and he was free to witness their vows, and said “he would love to come back to hometown Bowie to be the wedding priest. ” I, the pastor, set up and accommodated the wedding of the so many coming home to Bowie to celebrate this Sacrament of Matrimony.
It took place On April 27th, on a pretty Saturday afternoon. All went splendidly. There were many smiles on faces. Our parish music ministers played and sang at the wedding, and it was beautiful.
It should always go so smoothly and well for former parishioners coming home to where they practiced faith for so long. We ARE one Catholic Church. If some person’s journey involves a few parish stops or changes, then they should be welcomed home anytime they wish to return back to a parish– Like Jackie did with St. Edward’s, and with her parents Mark and Pamela, and the “from-Bowie priest” Fr. Rob.
A few years ago, I came back to Bowie myself, to have a first Mass. Though I had been gone from the parish (which was St. Pius X Bowie) for years, and my parents had moved out of St. Pius X (to come to St. Edwards in 1986), I still was welcomed with open arms for my First Mass at St. Pius on May 22, 1988. The pastor gave me full choice with the church and the Mass and music and time. It was Fr. Paul. His example to me taught me how to respond to people coming back to a parish– say: “Welcome home!”
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus move in us and bless the world with acts of love as deeply inspired by Him.
Funny thing–the next day at Sunday Mass another couple was there in church with us at St. Edward–and I didn’t recognize them, but they seemed to act like they were at home here. I took time to say hello to them after Mass. It turns out, they were former parishioners, even who had come through the R.C.I.A. They felt great being back here. They said that their starting experience in the Catholic Faith here spurred them on to service and involvement in their present out-of-state parish. They were quite active in that new parish. I said: “Great. You have been sent forth to help in other pastures, but we’re glad how the love of God in this community has spread in you to another.”
All in another weekend at St. Edward……….. Fr. Barry