We enjoyed a beautiful Sunday celebrating with the parish community of St. Mark's in Pryor, OK, the local church of my wife's family. The visiting celebrant, Fr. John Kovalcin, whom I met for the first time, is an amazingly gracious and joyful retired priest who made this Mass of Thanksgiving a most blessed and memorable event for my whole family. Making the day even more special was the fact it was our 12th wedding anniversary!
A quick story about the crucifix hanging in the sanctuary at St. Mark's that exemplifies the deep roots that my wife's family has at St. Mark's: The wood of this cross came from a cypress tree growing on land owned by extended family in Mississippi, and it was crafted in the shop of one of April's great-uncles at the hands of several of her relatives. They even hung it in the sanctuary themselves -- not an easy task as you'll see from the picture!
I had the privilege of preaching the homily there, which I've added to my homilies page.