These past two weeks have been the busiest weeks of the entire year. As any liturgist knows, preparing for the Triduum is all consuming and tests the stamina of even the strongest among us. As I approach another birthday, I realize that the rigors of Easter week and the Triduum take more of a toll on me physically than when I was younger. I haven't had a full day off from work since March 30 and while I know that is not a good thing to do, I seem to be like a ball rolling downhill and can't stop. I only hope I don't hit a brick wall.
Over the last two days I attended a meeting in Albany, NY, which meant that a day off will have to wait until next week sometime. Yet despite a four hour drive each way, two days of meetings, sleeping in a tiny room in a convent and dealing with extreme heat (old nuns like it warm I guess), these past two days were very energizing and fulfilling.
It seems that whenever liturgists get together there is always good conversation, a chance to verbalize frustrations, do some networking, and spend some good times over food and drink. This meeting was for Region 2 of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgy Commissions. It's a national organization that works with the US Bishops Committee on Divine Worship in a number of ways that promote good liturgy in our dioceses. Region 2 is the smallest in the Federation, only eight dioceses, all in NY State, but what we lack in number we make up for in determination and dedication.
The meeting was attended by nine liturgy commission members from around the state (2 priests and 7 lay people), and one guest who is working in evaluating the Federation. His presence made for very stimulating discussion and we New Yorkers thoroughly enjoyed his Louisiana accent. But most of all, I believe that each and every one of us were able to reflect upon the importance of the job we do as liturgist. Yes we are misunderstood and the butt of jokes, but we truly love God and the Church, and we believe that the Church's liturgy is truly the "work of the people" in the praise and worship of God. Our goal is to help others to come to that realization as well.
Gathering together with other liturgists is a time for support. We all get frustrated with what we do at times, but each and every one of these wonderful people offer encouragement, new ideas or ways of approaching things, and the realization that we have someone we can lean on or call upon when things seem to be beyond our individual expertise. Good friendships have been made, and all newcomers are made to feel welcome and just as important as those who have been around for years. We learn from each other and while we don't always agree on things on the regional and national level, we continue to work well together because our goal is not our own good but the good of the liturgy and ultimately bringing people to Christ.
I won't be able to attend the national meeting in October (as it is the week before my daughter's wedding), but I know that I will be there in spirit and that any thoughts I contributed over these past two days or in e-mails during the year, will be considered by those who will attend. Hopefully I will be able to join them at the annual meeting in 2013 and I look forward to our next spring regional meeting as well. Until then I know I will run into some of the members at other events or online, and this too keeps me going...and going...and going...