This past Sunday was special for me.  I celebrated Mass at Annunciation Parish in Shelbyville along with Fr. Michael Tobin and the parishioners.  It was the occasion for the viewing of a special documentary after Mass, called Labor of Love: The Gift of Stained Glass. Labor of Love was created by Fr. Tobin and our own Reed Yadon, along with videographer and editor, Bill Smith, and writers/ co-producers Kelley Dearing Smith and college student-intern Casey Biles.  This 35-minute video presents the process of creating the new stained glass windows at the parish of Annunciation, thanks to the leadership of Fr. Bill Bowling and Fr. Michael Tobin, along with a host of generous parishioners including a very generous couple who wish to remain anonymous.  (As pastor until 2011, Fr. Bowling began the process, and Fr. Tobin brought it to completion.)

The film also includes interviews with stained-glass artist Kenneth Von Roenn and his collaborators in Louisville, which are nicely interspersed with segments about the spiritual significance of every window as well as the history of stained glass and its great contribution to beauty and learning.  It explains well how the faithful throughout the ages sought inspiration through this art form by lifting their hearts and minds to God.

Kara is front and center in this photo.

Kara is front and center in this photo.

As if that were not enough, this event featured another special treat.  Kara Jackson, a 15-year old woman from Ohio, traveled with her family so that she might serve at the Mass.  Kara is special.  Born with Down Syndrome and with a special love for God and all His people, she has begun a monumental project – to serve Mass in every state of the union!  We in Kentucky were number 6, and it was a sheer delight!  Fr. Michael and the servers of Annunciation welcomed her with open arms, and, though Kara is clearly an expert server, Fr. Michael wisely arranged for an alert server to accompany Kara during Mass and show her what might be unique at Annunciation.

Every Sunday, I ought to leave the celebration of the Holy Eucharist aglow … and in fact that usually happens.  However, this time was very special.  As we approach October, Respect Life Month, Kara’s beautiful personality and unique gifts reinforced our Church’s teaching about the dignity of every human being.  The beautiful and uplifting stained glass, born of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the creativity of the people of Annunciation Parish and crafted through human hands, did the same.

St. Therese of Lisieux spoke of prayer as “…a surge of the heart.”    This was surely the case this past Sunday and, I pray, every Sunday.

Attached is a photo of Kara. For more information or to view the documentary, go here.

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