I once read that Fr Wilson of Haggerston used to set three alarms, starting at 5 in the morning. The first alarm was across the room and would require a walk across a cold linoleum floor. I can sympathize. If I had to choose an identity as either a morning person or night owl, I would have to choose morning, but I do not jump out of bed like a coiled spring. I wish I could tell you I wake well before dawn for meditation and study, but I do not. I should; the great ascetics warn against lingering bed in morning.
I was scheduled to wake at 5:10 this morning so I could be at the Overflow Shelter at 5:30 to assist with check-out. This season, Tuesday mornings will be my mornings. My colleague sent me a text last night saying there was no need to come in, as the census was low and we had plenty of folks on hand. I had planned to come in anyway and meet the new volunteers, but when the alarm went off, alas, I had no cold linoleum floor to walk across. I rolled over and slept in until 6:30am.
When I arrived at church, my server was already busy in the sacristy placing the newly arrived sanctuary lamps in the cupboards. To my horror, I saw the candles were yellow, but they were clearly not pure beeswax. Instead of announcing the Sacramental Presence of Our Lord, the candles look like a glowing stick of butter. They have been sent back.
Mass was for the Feast of St John of Damascus with the Advent Feria commemorated. After mass, we said the Angelus at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham where the light, for the past seven days, has been extraordinary on these late autumn mornings. The image of OLW is the only thing illuminated by the rising sun.
After breakfast (my standard: grande dark roast and red-pepper egg whites from Starbucks), necessary administrative tasks, and the weekly staff meeting, I went downtown to our bi-weekly men’s lunch, Confraternity. We’ve been meeting at a trendy coffee shop/bar connected to an independent bookstore. It’s a perfect venue and centrally located for many of the men. I look forward to these gatherings. As I wrote yesterday, the Church needs more men. Men need the Church. This is a way for us to get together and talk about the things that are on our mind and ground them in our faith in Jesus Christ.
When I returned the office, I had some administration to tend to, including the identification of the graves in the Society of Arimathea cemetery. I discovered we’ve actually cremated/buried 24 children (and not 23 as previously reported) since 2017 and there are five currently buried in our cemetery with two to be buried at a later date. The need has outpaced our ability to plan and we are making decisions on the fly without having adequate time to think everything through. For instance, we don’t yet know how to permanently mark these graves nor do we always have a name for the child. Oftentimes, I only have the last name of the mother. This is certainly the case for two children that were left unclaimed at the morgue. Someone suggested we adopt the Moravian practice of Beatus and Beata for the babies. I am very fond of this idea. I am grateful for colleagues and leaders who are flexible and patient as we do so much so quickly.
Before Evening Prayer I had a pre-marital counseling session for a wedding at the end of the month (Christmastide). I barely made it to my stall by 4:45 and ended the day with Evening Prayer and Shrine Prayers. Quick trip home for some grilled chicken and then off to basketball practice (son’s, not mine!) where I composed and sent out the parish email on the gym’s wifi.