As Catholics we recognize the importance of the role of faith in our individual lives as well as being part of a collective community of the Body of Christ. One way that communities can grow is by uniting to work toward a common vision. On Easter Sunday the Our Lady of the Valley community in La Grande was able to see the realization of two goals coming together.
It has been a tradition in La Grande to have a Children’s Choir for Christmas Eve. Last December Fr. Saji noted that it would be wonderful to have a monthly children’s choir, rather than just once a year. Volunteers came forward to direct the choir, accompany the choir, have copies ready for the youth and to communicate with families. By February, the choir was ready for its first monthly participation in Mass.
The second initiative was a vision to have new carpet by Easter. A range of parish councils and ministries, as well as individual parishioners joined together to make this goal a reality. The fundraising effort was accomplished quickly, positioning the project well to come to fruition and expanding to also include new laminate flooring under the pews. The energy shifted to weeks of physical labor to prepare the church and support the contracted labor throughout the process. The Knights of Columbus took the lead, facilitating the process and communicating how others in the parish could support their efforts. After the installation, the Knights continued to organize the work necessary to set the church back up, including the re-positioning of pews. Finally, the Women of Our Lady of the Valley organized a deep cleaning in the church prior to Palm Sunday. They continued to prepare the church for each of the Holy Week services.
At the Chrism Mass, Bishop Cary reflected on the role of the senses as a part of our Catholic faith. On Easter Sunday, the new flooring, overall appearance of the church and the voices of the children singing added in additional layers to the sensory experience, evidence that when communities come together centered on a common vision united by their love of God and gratitude for the gift of faith, great things can happen.