Thursday, May 1, 2014

First Communion-Fire-Ground Breaking

Have you ever had a very super busy weekend with all kinds of things happening?
Take a look at last weekend - here in Sierra Vista at Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church.
  • Saturday morning, April 26th at 10:00am we had First Holy Communion. A most special day in all of our lives who have received this sacrament. I bet you can remember your First Holy Communion! I can. I received my first ever perm to my hair. I always had the "buster brown"  short and straight hair style until First Holy Communion and my mom dropped me off at the beauty shop for the first time ever in my life. I was terrified and when I saw the finished product I was horrified of all the tight frizzy curls. That was the last perm I ever got. 
  • This past Saturday my students, who I prepared for First Holy Communion, along with those in the CCD program created memories of their own. Here is my little group with Fr. Ariel Lustan, our pastor. 
    This is the 1st time I got to be taller than the pastor (the photographer had me stand on a block.) It is also the first time I realized that I have a new look to my hair-pure gray -just like my father's. Not bad against the colored background. 

    After First Holy Communion, I worked with the parish secretary to decorate our parish hall for the pastor's big birthday party. When finished, I went outside to get the school mail by the  large row of mailboxes together on Yaqui Street. I looked up into the mountains at the end of our dead-end road and there before me was a very large white cloud of smoke. I was shocked! I called Fr. Ariel to tell him about it. I then said, " I better call 911!" I did and she told me it is a fire on Post (Fort Huachuca). 
  • I didn't take pictures of the first large cloud of smoke I saw because of the very strong winds. I had to have one hand on the veil at all times. I also was too busy and scared to think of taking pictures. 
    Taken from our parking lot as the sun began to set and the smoke began to billow up.

    Smokey Sky! We were worried, if the fire got to the blimp that monitors the border between us and Mexico for illegal travel and trade;filled with helium, if touched by the fire, it would be gone and the fire would really flame up. It was way too windy to put it up in the sky away from the danger of fire.

    Leaving the school and parish at 7:00pm looking down Yaqui Street to the fire/smokey cloud.

The smoke got worse before it got any better. Before long the sheriff dept. arrived to our parish hall to issue us a pre-evacuation notice. It told us what personal belongings to put together, have a place picked out to evacuate to if needed and if they come back again and say "Evacuate Now" we would have 5-10 minutes to get out of the area.  The 5:00pm Mass was about to begin so this pre-evacuation notice was read. Mass went on and I kept watching the smoke cloud get larger and the wind get more powerful. As I stood outside our hall, I held on to my veil and the railing as the wind was blowing way too hard not too.As guests started to arrive for the pastor's birthday party and as parish employees traveled to the parish to pack up files and computer files in case of evacuation that is when we found out the sheriff was blocking off our street-Yaqui. No one could come down it. After communion I went into the sanctuary to give the pastor the latest update. He told me to get the Deacon and talk to the sheriff as to what to do for his birthday party-cancel or go on. 
  • In talking to the sheriff at about 6:00pm he said the fire is contained but with this wind it could start up again. He said, if it was him, he wouldn't be anywhere near here. 
  • In telling the pastor this, he canceled his party and rescheduled it for all on Monday night. 
The weekend still wasn't over. Sunday, the 27th after the 7:30am Mass, the pastor and five other parishioners broke ground for the parish rectory. But before that happened, the Student Council conducted their schedule bake sale after two of the Masses--

The pastor asked six of us to dig in with hard hats and golden shovels. I was blest to be one of the six. My first ever experience at this as well as the pastor's first.

After Mass, we all walked to the parish land behind our church where the first rectory for our parish will be built-this August is the 23rd anniversary of the founding of our parish.
Fr. Ariel first blessed the land. Notice the 6 gold shovels waiting to go into action. 

Such beautiful blue skies where last night there was so much white smoke!

The six chosen represented: 1) The contractor, 2) Finance Council 3) Pastoral Council 4) The Pastor 5) Myself-principal of the school -"The Daughter of the Parish" as Fr. Ariel told all and 6) a student at All Saints Catholic School-the future generation of our church.

A weekend I won't ever forget! I thank God for the firefighters and especially the HotShots who really put their life on the line when they fight these fires.

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