Lord God, almighty Father, the light that never fails and the source of all light, sanctify + this new fire, and grant that after the darkness of this life we may come unsullied to you who are light eternal...
"June 24 is one of the oldest of the Church feasts. It is the birthday celebration of St. John the Baptist, and is sometimes called "summer Christmas." On the eve of the feast, great bonfires were once lighted as a symbol of "the burning and brilliant" light, St. John, who pointed out Christ in this world of darkness. The solstice fires had been pagan, but now they were blessed by the Church in John's honor. There are actual blessings for the bonfire in the Roman liturgy. Magical and superstitious elements of food and drink were forgotten, and we were encouraged to have great picnic feasts out-of-doors around the blazing logs. The outdoor grill, so popular in our own back yards, was once less selfish and more communal. We feasted as many neighbors and not as exclusive individuals." source
This article from Regina Magazine was passed out to all of us just before Father blessed the bonfire.
June 24th is also Father Terra's 30th Priestly Anniversary! We had so much fun attending a St. John's Bonfire and Surprise Potluck in his honor this past weekend.
Even though I had never met Fr. Terra before moving here, my grandfather would always give us updates about him until he passed away in 2009. He would be so happy to know that his great-grandchildren are getting to know this holy priest, who happened to grow up in the same parish as my mom! Fr. Terra actually offered his first Mass at the church where my parents were married and I spent much of my childhood. Such a small world!
The cakes both for the party and for after Sunday Mass (see picture at bottom of post) were both amazing! I need to find out where they were made for future reference. So awesome!
Our family brought along a couple side dishes and a simple chocolate Cathedral Bundt Cake to share.
In addition to the St. John's Bonfire, there was also musical instruments played for Father, poems recited, and some songs sung for him as well! Three of our teens have really enjoyed being in the choir since moving to our new home/parish.
It still feels like a dream that we are actually living here and able to be part of such a wonderful parish community. We are so grateful!
Let us pray. God, who by reason of the birth of blessed John have made this day praiseworthy, give your people the grace of spiritual joy, and keep the hearts of your faithful fixed on the way that leads to everlasting salvation; through Christ our Lord. Amen.