One of our favorite things about vacations is attending Mass with another worshiping community. When we get settled into our destination, the first thing we do is locate the nearest Catholic Parish and determine when Mass will be for Sunday and make sure we know exactly how to get there. We have been blessed in our travels with some amazing worship services and worship spaces over the years. Don't get me wrong, we have also seen some that the best that could be said was that we never ever had to go back.
This Sunday we were blessed to be the guests of the Community of faith at Holy Cross Parish in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. We have been here before when we have vacationed in the Smoky's. The Pastor here is Fr. Jay Flaherty, one of the good guys. He had the audacity to preach about morality and sin during his homily on the parable of the sower and the seeds. He is a wonderful homilist, who captures the attention of the congregation and helps to make the Gospel message become living and active in everyone who hears it.
The music was also wonderful. The Choir was very small, but their sound was awesome. The selection of songs was very charismatic, and the choice of Mass music was deeply moving.
All in all we really felt very welcome in this little parish. Especially at the end of Mass when Fr. Jay had all the visitors stand up and gave us a special blessing for our presence and our travels. It really helped to reinforce what I have been trying to teach my children about the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. No matter where you go, you are Catholic, and any Catholic church should welcome you as this one did.
On Monday, the resort where we are staying had a program to let everyone know what amenities and activities are available in the area, and more than once there was mention of non-denominational worship services available on Sunday for those who are away from their worshiping community. I just smiled, because we know that wherever there is a Catholic Church we are never away from our worshiping community.
Thanks be to God.