Monday, October 24, 2011

Thanks to Monsignor Albacete, I was Blown Away by a Triple Baptism on the Upper West Side

Yesterday afternoon, in the heart of New York City, I had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of three babies at Church of the Blessed Sacrament. I also had the unexpected privilege of hearing Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete preach.

The three families celebrating are all members of Communion and Liberation, the lay ecclesiastical movement in which both my 15-year-old and I participate. One of the moms, M., has helped to lead vacations for the CL youth and we wanted to share the joy of their first child's baptism.

It took me a few minutes of circling the block, but I managed to score a parking spot not far from the church, which is on West 71st Street. We walked over. When we entered the darkened church, we were awed by its beauty.

Check it out. It's hard to imagine not being inspired by this space. About 200 people were gathering for the Baptismal Mass at the Gothic-style church, built in 1920.  When it was time for the homily, an older priest approached the ambo.  

Who's this? I wondered. Was he the parish's pastor? Nope. As soon as he began speaking I realized it was Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, 70, a physicist by training who also has a PhD. in sacred theology. The monsignor is the responsible of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation in the United States and Canada. I have heard him speak before and I settled in for what I knew would be an amazing homily. I wasn't disappointed.

There were so many treasures in his words that I still am unpacking them, mulling them over, and trying to apply them to my own circumstances. 

One thing I remember clearly: the monsignor talking to us about how Moses could not see the face of God. Were he to see the face of God, it would overwhelm him. Instead, he sees the back of God's head. This is the position we are in, he said. During our earthly pilgrimage, we see the back of God's head.

Why? Because we are following Him. And we need to follow until it is time to disappear into the Mystery after death.

For more on the monsignor's thoughts on God, this is a great clip...

1 comment:

  1. His book, God at the Ritz, has been a frequent bedside friend since I bought it.