August 25, 2009

Out for a Walk

If there isn't anything else going on, these summer evenings are a great opportunity for a walk around the parish territory. There is a lot of activity and humanity to observe and lift up in prayer. It's a little spiritual practice that I've invented, imagining as I do that I will held accountable on the day of judgment--to some degree--for the pastoral care of the people of our neighborhood. Here's some of what you can encounter in just an hour's walk around our parish:

Three other apostolic churches--one Orthodox and two other Catholic (Melkite and Ukrainian)--where you can stop and pray outside for a moment.

Two separate gangs of children being put through football drills.

A full teams basketball game.

People waiting for the bus.

A crowd of folks waiting for Chinese food.

Sketchy guys standing on corners, looking suspicious.

A very serious looking tennis match, with several spectators.

An old couple out for a stroll.

Guys acting tough outside of the fried chicken place.

Girl taking out the trash with opera-length black gloves on.

Tired looking men and women smoking outside of bars.

Folks gabbing outside the funeral home.

A friendly black cat, needing very much to be brushed and with an endless appetite for scratches on top of his head.

Four thuggish looking guys having an acrimonious card game.


Rachel said...

Throw in one friar and the tableau will be complete. :)

Qualis Rex said...

Wow! Sesame street it aint. But sounds like a colorful neighborhood just the same. I really do hope you get a chance to interact with the Orthodox and other Catholic priests there. While I believe the Orthodox (and eastern Catholics) have done a much better job preserving continuity, they lack the evangelism and outreach which was the backbone of Christianity for centuries. I truly believe that each day the apostolic church is separated causes a thousand tears in the eye of the theotokos.

pennyante said...

Now, I'm curious... Did any of these people greet you? When you walk around the neighborhood like that, are you in cassock or clericals. Just wondering if people recognize that you are a Franciscan or a priest.

It seems sad that the only contact you wrote about during your walk was with a cat that needed scratching. :)

Of course, my own cat considers herself more human than the rest of us! (chuckle)

Brother Charles said...

Sorry to be scandalous, but I was in informal clothes. I was recognized by exactly one person that I know of: one of our altar girls who was walking with her friends. Parishioners often tell me that they see me walking around.

pennyante said...

Twasn't scandalous. A local priest walked through the flea market where I have a shop. He was in informal clothes. I recognized him though he did not know me. I treated him as I treat all of my customers. And I did not let on that I recognized him.

Not long afterwards, I attended a workshop that he also attended. I introduced myself, said that he had been in my shop but I didn't acknowledge him so that he could have some privacy. He gave me a big hug!

We all need to have anonymity and privacy sometimes. Priests no less than other people. I hope no one thinks that is a scandalous thought! (chuckle)

for narnia said...

this is a fun post, Fr. C! i can picture all of what you descrbe, since on an occasional Saturday, i take a walk if there's not too much going on in the parish and see almost exactly what you mention. (on one of my walks, i also discovered a Greek church diagonally across the street from St. Michael's on North Broadway.) since, i also volunteer at the Catholic Ukrainian church once a year, i'll have to introduce you to the Pastor there and havve you see inside the church if you haven't seen it yet. PEACE! ~tara t~

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

When I lived in Jordan, we had a wonderful, third-floor, glassed-in balcony porch. A visiting friend would love to just stand in the window where no one could see her up so high and watch life go by for an hour or so each day. Sounds to me that it is something like your walk, only instead of going past folks to see daily life she let folks go past her for the same purpose. She always seemed invigorated afterward. Some days I watched with her - when I had the time.