Praying for good weather

A parishioner who suddenly found herself sidelined while recovering from surgery was discouraged that she wouldn’t be able to participate in the recent St. Stans Picnic. “Do you want a job?” I asked. She offered a “what could I do” shrug. I told her that she could be in charge of the weather.

it must be stated in some obscure manual of pastoral responsibilities that if a parish has a picnic then the pastor is responsible for procuring pleasant weather, presuming of course that the pastor has some kind of inside track with a local meteorologist, or God. But pastors also know how to delegate certain tasks, which is what I’ve always done with picnic weather — put someone else in charge of communicating with God our need for a nice day.

Of all the picnic details, it’s of course the only one over which no one has any control, and which can be rather crucial in terms of the event’s success, at least financially. Newman’s had some pretty distressing days for its spring picnic, but people seemed to enjoy themselves – and some great food – despite the wind, the rain, the cold and, one year, even flakes of snow! A year ago, it was cool for the St. Stans picnic, but again we persevered; after all, that’s why God made sweatshirts — for cool days.

This idea of “being in charge” of the weather, of course, is meant in jest. I can pray for nice weather, as can the parishioner who I asked to take on that responsibility, but when we wanted a warm, sunny day, someone else was looking for rain to soak fields of corn and soybeans. Whose prayer or need was most consequential? Thankfully, we leave such things to God.

In the end, we had a perfect mix of warm and sun, and wind and rain for the picnic. When it suddenly began to rain, people snuck under the tents. When the sun came out, they ventured back out, and kids got to play in the new puddles. I told the parishioner she’d done a great job coordinating with God on the weather. She laughed and said she hoped our prayers for her own recovery would be as effective. I told her I’d help her on that. TL



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