Football and Fr. Vince

30 10 2012

The past weekend found me at a parade, a tailgate party and from a celebratory mass to an Italian dinner featuring wine and song.

Saturday, Oct. 27:

I’m always trying to figure out how tailgating before Arizona State football games just isn’t the event it is in the Pacific Northwest. Or other places I’ve been to, for that matter. Must be the heat. Also, on not super-hot days, it is possible that folks in the Phoenix area find other things to do when its 80 degrees at 11 a.m.

That qualifies as autumn weather around here.

It was still a good time. Here’s more about how I spent that day. The lead photo features Juan Roque, a former ASU player who is Mexican.

A couple of photos from the day:

Tailgate

Field view, pregame vs. UCLA.

Sunday, Oct. 28:

My wife and I attended a special mass for Fr. Vincent Mesi (Father Vince to me). He was my pastor when I was a kid in Oregon at St. Anthony’s Parish. But he moved on and eventually ended up in Phoenix. It so happens that my wife and I were married at St. Mary’s cathedral in downtown Phoenix, where Fr. Vince is the pastor. So many years later, we were fortunate to have the guy who helped make Catholic mass more tolerable (sorry Mom!) when I was young preside over our wedding in 2010.

Fr. Vince celebrated 40 years as a Franciscan friar on Sunday, and his mass was full of some amazing music. I’m not a choir guy or into classical music, but to know Fr. Vince is to know that music is a huge part of him and that was plain to see and hear on Sunday.

People were snapping photos, so I joined in.

He had singers and an orchestra and a wonderful violinist. The mass lasted a good 90 minutes and featured plenty of applause breaks and good speeches about Father from his fellow clergymen, but the payoff came at the end: “Join us downstairs for dinner!”

My wife and I walked into the banquet room and found it softly lit with tables decked in checkered tablecloths and candles in wine bottles. True to his Italian heritage, Fr. Vince had turned the place into a ristorante. We were back in Florence again, just like our honeymoon.

We enjoyed bread and rigatoni and asparagus and Italian sausage, a wonderful catered meal, and then Fr. Vince sang “O Sole Mio” as we were treated to a video slideshow of his life.

Great man, great party. It’s hard to believe he is 68 years old. He’s so full of life and song at his age!

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