Last night, I had a very beautiful experience in Stop & Shop. I had been in the church preparing everything for the weekend Masses – changed altar cloths, hung festive antipendium, tabernacle veil & ambo hanging, set the Lectionary & Roman Missal, but something was missing. I needed flowers for the Feast of Christ the King. I decided to make a run to Stop & Shop.
As usual, I was wearing my cassock and didn’t intend to run into the rectory and change before going. To me, that always made the cassock feel like a Halloween costume, put it on when it’s “right” and take it off when it’s not. But that’s a whole other post.
I am no longer self conscious of wearing my cassock, so I just jumped into my care with my cassock and cape and off I went. When I got to the store, a number of people looked, some nodded or greeted me. But what moved me most was when I was looking through the fresh flowers and plants. A woman came running over with her young child saying, “Please don’t go Father, I have to see you.” She grabbed my hands and said: “Father, please bless me.” I went on to give her and the young daughter a short blessing. As she went away, she thanked me, placed her hand on her heart as she looked up and said: “Father, you just made my day. Thank you!” As she put her hand to her heart and looked up, it was moving, beyond words. It was kind of like a look of ecstasy.
This woman was so happy to see a priest. It made her day and it made mine. Thank you Father for calling me to be Your priest. The cassock is a powerful witness, one that speaks much louder than words. In the words of St. Francis: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”