Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday! Finding True Gold in a Bank Vault!








My former pastor Father John Giacopelli, who retired in 1992,once told me about his first Ash Wednesday experience after his retirement, in New Jersey where he retired to. He was originally from NY, but had spent his active ministry years in our diocese. Today, contemplating this Ash Wednesday, and how it is the beginning of our time for cleaning our spiritual homes, I once again got a chuckle from the memory of Father John's story.

Father John was one of those priests who people were naturally drawn to. Even in retirement, he never left the house without wearing his clerical suit and his Roman collar. On this particular Ash Wednesday, he decided to stop by the bank on his way to visit the local nursing home after having attended Mass. Along with his clerical garb, this day he sported the Ash Wednesday ashes on his forehead.

As he approached the teller, she exclaimed: “Oh! My goodness today must be Ash Wednesday. I have not been to church in years! Father, could you hear my confession? “

Father John…never one to miss an opportunity to bring in the stray sheep, of course said; “Sure, is there a quiet place where we can go for your confession?” The woman thought for a minute, and said:”We can use the bank vault.”

So, off they both went to the bank vault for confession. Father John related as how that was not the end of the story though. When they had finished and exited the bank vault, there was a line of about twenty bank employees, including the President of the bank…waiting to have their confession heard.

The rich symbolism of Ash Wednesday still reverberates across the centuries to this present day. May you all have a beautiful cleansing Lent, and everyday experience the Love and Forgiveness of Our Heavenly Father. Chances are you will not find such riches in a Bank Vault, but who knows...with God anything is possible.

6 comments:

chimakuni said...

I always knew God could work miracles, but for some reason...in a bank vault???

Praise God - all the angels and saints rejoice over one sinner returning home! "There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who do not need to" (Luke 15:7)

Leslie K. said...

Now that's a good time to go to confession - while working at a BANK!

Macile Hooper LeJeune said...

I did not just smile; I giggled out loud. Reminds me ... that when I saw the new vice president in a meeting with ashes on his forhead, I do hope it inspired others to 'come home to Rome'. This way out ways that. Merci, mags. DIEU TE BENISSE!!!
Cajun Sissy

mrs biggs said...

IF THIS IS THE SAME FATHER JOHN, WHO USED TO LIVE IN KANSAS CITY, MO,HE IS AN UNFORGETTABLE MAN. IN THE EYES OF A CHILD, HE WAS THE CLOSEST THING TO JESUS I EVER KNEW.

Christine Trollinger said...

Yes it is the same Father from St Mathews Parish

A. Devine said...

Hello Ms. Christine. Hope you are well. I ran across this site while researching Father John Giacopelli, who christened my son 32 years ago at St. Mathews's Church. We've thought fondly of him through the years. Do you know if he's still alive? Thank you. Happy New Year 2017!