Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Take You With Me

Last night, a few friends from our CL School of Community gave an informal supper for Katie and me on the eve of the eve of the eve of our departure for Europe. This was one of a series of signs to me that, as I prepare to walk the Camino de Santiago with our daughter, from May 14 thru about June 20, I will be carrying many people with me.

My friend Elizabeth, who was accompanying her husband Michael on a diaconate retreat, could not be there. But she kindly sent me a small Cross of St. James (pictured here) to wear around my neck. Santiago is the Spanish for St. James. Our dear associate pastor, Father Chateau, had blessed the cross for me, “beautifully,” according to Elizabeth, who does not usually indulge in hyperbole.

Our pastor, Father Barnes, was at the supper, as was Father Kwang Lee. Ordained to the priesthood last May, Father Kwang had been a regular presence in our parish for several years while in the seminary, and I was touched that he joined us last evening. Father Barnes asked him to bless me before he left the supper to return to Sacred Heart Parish in Weymouth, where he is parochial vicar.

Today I attended a funeral service in Peabody for my friend Donald. As I wrote previously, before he died, Donald gave me a small smooth black stone to carry with me on the Camino and to leave for him at the foot of the Cruz de Ferro, at the highest elevation on the Way. Donald’s wife, Angela, asked me to speak at the service, and I told the story of my friendship with Donald and of the Way and of his stone. After the service, two mutual friends approached me with more items to carry: Cynthia gave me a beautiful wooden rosary, which I will treasure, and Randy gave me a rock of his own, with the word “Wisdom” written on it. Donald’s stone reads “Peace.”

At the vigil Mass this evening, Father Barnes noted the range of people present in the congregation, including a man considering becoming a Catholic, a man in discernment for a priestly vocation, and an expectant father. He joked that these were not all the same person. Then he added that there was someone else present who was preparing to make a 400-mile pilgrimage in Spain. When he had given the final blessing immediately afterward, and we began singing the recessional hymn, I was able to catch his eye.

Extending my hand above my hymnal, I held up five fingers and mouthed the words “five hundred.” He smiled. Like Donald, Father Barnes will be with me too, as with Marian, named after the Mother of God, I walk the Camino de Santiago.

NOTE: This post is dedicated to my friend Lorraine, who said last night that I have been “slacking off” on this blog!

1 comment:

  1. Is your friend Elizabeth Italian? I know a member of CL named Elisabetta probably from your area. Have a wonderful trip! Are you going to blog during the trip? You stopped during Lent, whereas I posted twice a week about the resurrection!I made it my work for Lent.

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