Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm glad I managed to wake up for 6:30AM mass today! It's the first time I've done so in nearly a week (more proof that I'm letting my internship become too much of a "routine"?), and I'm glad I managed to do so. It gave me ample time to pray Morning Lauds and the Office of Readings, AND eat breakfast, AND greet the schoolchildren as they headed off to their last full day of school - the end-of-the-year picnic, to which I was a happy guest!

My trek with grade 3 over to the park was so silent as to be distressing - more loneliness. Fortunataely that changed when I found a way to occupy myself by unloading food, blankets, and sports equipment from the minivans of teachers and parent chaperones eager to see their children enjoy a day in the warm sunshine!

Fortunately today's weather was perfectly accomodating to such a desire, as a cool breeze supplemented 60-ish degree weather with enough sunshine to slightly burn my (albeit sensitive) skin. I managed to read a bit of "Diary of a Country Priest," a novel I borrowed from Fr. Steve, until my proximity to a junior high kickball game managed to get me recruited first as a "pinch-kicker" and then as the umpire. I'm glad I remembered to wear my gym shoes, and I know that the two 8th grade teachers as well as the principal were happy to have me aboard.

My afternoon visit with Helen Schott turned into a should I describe it..."psycho-spiritual" affair? This remarkable woman chewed my ear off for nearly 3 hours, sharing stories of her 88+ years here on planet earth and her spiritual journey towards Christ. She is truly the "matriarch" of St. Ben's parish, having lived through the Great Depression, the Cold War, 4 Chicago Archbishops and countless Pastors while living in Irving Park. Though she is no longer active in the parish due to her age and health, she has a plethora of wisdom to share with anyone willing to take the time to listen. I am very blessed to have had the privilege of sharing some of my time with her on her birthday. Thank you Helen! God bless you!

I managed to squeeze in a rosary in between that visit and my dinner, though I did fall asleep as I did so. Recalling the words of a brother seminarian ("When you fall asleep, your guardian angel finishes the rosary for you,") I enjoyed a scrumptious (though perhaps slightly overly indulgent) dinner, and after a 2-hour hiatus, got recruited to do a little church redecorating with Debbie and her two daughters. She must be a holy woman to be able to put up with my klutzy knot-tying and non-existent sense of aesthetics. It took us over an hour to get everything fixed up, but the church certainly looks the better for it, and her kids behaved very well despite the circumstances that would seem to indicate otherwise (Would you want to spend your evening watching grown-ups hang up fake flowers in a church? Especially if you were a 4th grader?) Debbie tells me one of them is already considering religious life. She fell asleep right behind the altar as we were hanging up the flowers; perhaps this is a forbearance of things to come?

The young and the old, praise the Lord; you heavens, bless the Lord; everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord; Bless the Lord, oh my Soul, and all my being praise his Holy Name Forever. AMEN!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, now, little whippersnapper *I* have seen three Archbishops of Chicago and ain't that old yet! I don't know if she's a native or not, but in her life there would have been six here. Hmmm, that IS telling ain't it?

    When you're done with that novel, I'll have to loan you "Diary of a City Priest" as a complementary perspective. Written just about 15 years ago as a sort of personal/spiritual exercise by a Philadelphia priest serving the inner city it's a honest insight into the real struggles of practical ministry in an attempt for personal fidelity with all the real life trials that exist. Very real and true to what I think so many pastors must be dealing with in a non-idealized situation.