Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Annual Celtic Fling Mass Celebrates Celtic Culture, Encourages Faith Through Storms of Life

On a warm late June day, the fields of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire grounds looked a little less medieval and a little more Celtic as travelers throughout the region attended the annual Celtic Fling and Highland Games festival. The Diocese hosts a Sunday morning Mass before the festivities each year, which was attended this year by over 100 people on June 23.

Amongst the sounds of Seasons, who offered the music for the Mass, Father Stephen Kelley reflected on the readings of the day and the storms we may face in our lives. In the first reading, we hear from the end of the book of Job, after he has lost everything and God is speaking to Job from the storm. Even through all his suffering, Job continued to have faith in God and His love.

“Everything He allows, the suffering He allows, is out of love for us,” said Father Kelley, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Gettysburg. “God is the perfect Father. He’s going to do some things, He’s going to allow some things that He knows we are going to be mad at Him (about) for a while. Sometimes people will confess to me that they are mad at God. That’s ok. He’s big enough to handle it. And He knew that you were going to be mad at Him. But He also knew that He did it because He loved you and that you are going to be better off for this experience.”

In the Gospel reading from Mark, Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is asleep in the boat in the middle of the storm.

“The Apostles are like, ‘how can you sleep in this storm?’” said Father Kelley. “He can sleep through the storm because He knows He is more powerful than the storm…. Jesus is the God who is Lord over the storm. When we are in a storm, you are not going to perish. He is Lord over the storm. He cares about you. He’s going to protect you and guide you, because He has power over the storm.”

The Celtic Fling and Highland Games honors the cultural traditions of the Irish, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Bretons and Galecians. The weekend event features traditional and more modern Celtic music, food and brews.

The annual Celtic Fling Mass is hosted by the Office for Culture and Outreach in the Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization for the Diocese. To learn about the work of this office, please visit www.hbgdiocese.org/multicultural-ministries.

(Photos by Rachel Bryson, The Catholic Witness.)

By Rachel Bryson, The Catholic Witness

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