Pastor’s Pen – September 5, 2010 | St. Ann Catholic Church | St. Louis, MO

What a day and what a gift…

As many of you know, St. Ann is now the home of a Centenarian.  Marie Gagnepain turned 100 years young on Monday.  Surrounded by her family and friends and the St. Ann community, we had the chance to see, not history in the making, but history in the living.  Marie has been a parishioner here at St. Ann for more than half of the parish’s history – 93 years. (That’s 60% for you math wizards out there.)  What a remarkable fact, matched only by this remarkable woman of faith.

A week ago Sunday, I asked her if she was ready to celebrate her 100th birthday.  Never presuming anything, she quickly replied – “Only if God lets me.”  Now there is a faith that will sustain you through a hundred years…  Congrats to you, Marie, and may God continue to bless you this day and all the days of your life…

If you were a keenly observant person, you may have noticed something different in the sanctuary this past weekend.  Barbara Jackson, who plays the piano so wonderfully for us at the 11pm mass, and who teaches music in our Early Childhood center, had long been thinking about making a donation to St. Ann parish in her will.  Particularly, she wanted to donate a new piano for use in our liturgies.  When she heard about Marie’s upcoming celebration, she decided that this was a better time to make that gift than after she was gone.  “I wanted to donate a piano, and then I figured: ‘Why wait until I am dead? – I can enjoy it now.’  When I heard about Marie’s 100th birthday celebration, I decided now was the time.”

So she moved heaven and earth to get the deal done, and had a piano company move, not heaven and earth, but the old piano out and the new one in all in time for the centenarian’s celebration.  What an amazing gift to the parish on such an amazing day.  Though our old piano was a wonderful instrument, this one surpasses it by far in its ease of play, tonal qualities, and richness of sound.  In the name of all the St. Ann parishioners who are and will be the beneficiaries of this great gift for years to come, let me say a huge word of THANKS to Barbara Jackson for your wonderful gift to our prayer and worship.  (May you live as long and as faithfully as Marie Gagnepain has done these past 100 years…)

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