This Bishop taught me to love.
More importantly, he taught my son to embrace holiness.
Today, Bishop-Elect Daniel Garcia will become Austin’s first Auxiliary Bishop. And, no doubt the Mass will be beautiful. I’m quite certain there will be some poignant moments as his family recognizes his new appointment. The altar will be spectacular as all those priests and bishops gather to celebrate the consecration. And, yes, I’ll probably tear up a tiny bit (blaming it on the nursing hormones).
But, my tears won’t be because a great man is becoming a Bishop. No, those tears will come because of the great influence he’s had on my eldest son.
Several years ago, when we joined the parish, Fr. Danny was one of the first welcoming faces we saw. He was quick to greet us, welcome us and invite us to share our gifts of time, talent and treasure with the community.
There have been pictures with the class frog.
And dinners at our home.
But, all those pale in comparison to his greatest gift to our family: instilling a love of the liturgy with our oldest, Will.
You see, Will began his altar serving tenure at our parish, under Fr. Danny’s leadership. “Mom, I don’t WANT to altar serve,” he sighed. “Just do it for one year and after that you’re off the hook,” I replied.
That was four years ago.
When Will took the step to become an MC (master of ceremonies) as the lead altar server, I wasn’t prepared for how my heart would handle that Mass. Will was nervous. Heck, I was nervous. But, Fr. Danny confidently guided Will, gently led him through his shaky hands and unsteady page turns of the missal. In turn, every time I see Will serve, I witness reverence.
I see beauty.
I witness Christ’s love in action.
And all that is because the Holy Spirit worked through Fr. Danny. Our God is an awesome God, isn’t He?
Just last week, one of the teachers at school pulled me aside and said, “I just love it when your son serves at school Mass. It’s just a beautiful sight. You can tell he loves the Mass.”
And I almost cried right there in bay two at carline. Then a sibling hit another one and I had to referee a fight.
Bishop Garcia (good gravy, that is going to be hard to remember!), if I may say these words just to you:
Thank you. Thank you for so lovingly and passionately sharing your love of the Mass with so many, especially our son. You see, every time he walks to the altar, I am blown away by his reverence. By his purpose. By the love that he shows Jesus. That doesn’t come through repetition, or by accident. That comes from watching someone who serves with the same love, the same purpose and the same passion. Wherever God is calling Will to serve as he grows into a young man, I am confident of one thing. The love of the liturgy and of Jesus’ sacrifice will remain with him for a lifetime.
All unwatermarked photos are courtesy of Pat McCord.