Ministry of Presence

This story was just too fun not to share.

My daughter’s school is across the street from a coffee shop.  We spend some time there, because like sugar goes with childhood, caffeine goes with parenthood.

I may have also spotted Fr. Luke Strand, the vocation director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a few times prior in this coffee house.  And there he was yesterday, when I was grabbing my morning fix before popping in to Church hear my daughter read at Mass. I had someone lined up for an appointment here at the Cathedral and couldn’t stay for the whole celebration.

Fr. Luke Strand, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Fr. Luke Strand, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

After entering church, it wasn’t long before I recognized a strange vibe.  Students were chatting, the principal on her cell phone near the side doors. A fellow mom that I sat with told me she overheard that maybe the regular priest had forgotten about Mass and we were needing a priest.  Made sense, this Mass was Thursday instead of the usual school Mass on Friday due to the holiday weekend.

“Well, Fr. Luke is in the coffee shop…” I joked.  And it dawned on me – he’s probably willing to say mass if he knew there was a Mass Emergency.  I asked the principal if it was ok to run over to invite him back and she, still dialing numbers, looked up and said, “If you are willing, please ask!”

When I interrupted Fr. Luke’s wrapping up a meeting with some pals and introduced myself, he DID NOT HESITATE when I asked him if he’d be willing to step in for the 300 kids waiting on a priest.  “Ladies, I’m so sorry to rush out,  but I am going to celebrate the Mass! You should join us!”  We jaywalked together (confession) and walked into church, kids still abuzz until they saw Fr. Luke walking with purpose toward the sacristy and busted into spontaneous applause.

Then he gave a rousing homily about our presence being the way we can transform the world, like St. Philip Neri, who we celebrated that day.  But the homily was just icing on the cake – just by showing up, he had already spoken volumes.

How can you let someone know of the deep way that they are loved by God today simply through your presence?


4 thoughts on “Ministry of Presence”

  1. Hey Sis. YOU are definitely a “connector”. Aka Malcom Gladwell’s discriptiin of types. And a storyteller in the line of Mary Roder slice of life serendipity. Our world continues to be lucky that you are in it, depleting the oxygen and creating relationships

  2. Such a faithful and loving man Fr. Luke is. I thank God for his influence, especially on our youth. He inspires me!

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