The title comes from words Peter spoke to Jesus in Matthew’s account of the Transfiguration (17:4). At Mass on Monday, those words were offered to us at St. Anthony’s by Fr. John, the celebrant and leader of a group of priests who meet here monthly. They were offered as words of thanksgiving, and we humbly and graciously accept their thanks.
If I may be so bold as to speak for those of us who live and work here, and those who volunteer here, I believe we can also speak those words: It is good for us to be here. Good to be a part of this place. Good to be part of this ministry. Good to have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our Capuchin brothers before us, good to be trusted with the challenge of carrying on their ministry.
Honestly, that statement doesn’t feel all that bold, though. I have some measure of confidence in the truth of that statement because I have heard those or similar words in conversations with staff members, both present and past. I have heard that sentiment from many volunteers over the years as well. I hear that from retreatants, too, sometimes when they arrive, and sometimes during the course of their stay or as they are leaving. There is something peaceful here, something life-giving about just being here.
Part of what I believe we are all expressing is something Fr. John addressed in his homily on Monday. The Resurrection is about Jesus’ body being raised from the dead, but it is also about much more. It is about all of us. It is about the hope we all have because of Jesus, the hope that from every death will come new life. That hope is alive and well here at St. Anthony’s.
It was that hope many clung to nine years ago at this time when Fr. Dan announced to a gathering of supporters the news no one wanted to hear: the Capuchins would be ending their ministry at St. Anthony’s at the end of 2013. That night, Fr. Dan talked about death and grieving needing to precede the Resurrection. And grieve we did, and sometimes still do. Many spent months in the tomb of doubt and not-knowing before signs of new life came. Plenty of doubt and not-knowing still followed news of a transition to lay leadership, and even in the early years following the transition. But always hope.
Indeed, it is good that we are here! For the presence of God, the peace and life-giving Spirit of this place, and the hope that keeps us going through all the doubt and not-knowing, we say Deo Gratias!