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Seeing the beauty, not the stumbles

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

April 15, 2020

He was extremely nervous and uncomfortable being in front of a camera.

I’ve always thought our parish pastor, Father Raymond J. Moreau, was the epitome of a showman. He comes across as outgoing, gregarious, funny and confident, especially in front of a crowd.

So, I was surprised – shocked really – when he revealed that being recorded makes him nervous. Despite his nervousness, Father Ray celebrated the Paschal Triduum at St. Augustine Church in North Bangor for a Facebook livestream and YouTube. Despite his apprehension, he stood up in front of an almost completely empty church and two cameras three days in a row.

At the conclusion of each stream, Father Ray, a man known for speaking clearly and beautifully, pointed out that he stumbled over names and words he’s likely said millions of times before without an issue. While he was mostly his normal, smooth talking self, he focused on the missteps.

And as the video liturgies went out over social media, the comments flooded in. The parishioners of St. Augustine in North Bangor and St. Mary’s of Brushton, as well as people with connections to the parish and/or to Father Ray, typed their Amens, their messages of thanks and messages to each other.

The parishioners watching didn’t notice the stumbles (though they did notice a few technical issues – livestreaming is not seamless). They noticed the beauty of the liturgies. They noticed the effort that went into bringing the liturgies to them. They noticed the inspiring words Father Ray delivered in his homilies.

The parishioners were so thankful for an opportunity to connect to their faith, their parish, their pastor and each other, the little things – Father Ray’s botched pronunciations, occasional glitches in the stream and a few suppressed laughs from behind the camera – didn’t matter.

I think it’s fair to say that we’re all uncomfortable right now. We’re all nervous. Father Ray reminded me this week that beautiful connections can be made when we’re uncomfortable, vulnerable and exposed. He reminded me that when we stop relying on our own skills and gifts, we can make room for the Lord to work through us.

Even if we’re on camera.

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