Monday, April 16, 2012

Searching for Jesus

No, by the title of this post I do not mean that I am reverting to a seeker status, only just beginning a path toward belief. We have begun a two-day seminar on the historical Jesus of Nazareth, facilitated by the estimable Fr. Michael Marigliano, our vicar provincial. I hope to post some of the good stuff he has shared with us when I have some more time.

We journeyed to the Lower East Side, where I have spent a good deal of time recently, to get a formal tour of Our Lady of Sorrows, the first parish founded by the Capuchins in the United States when they came to stay in the mid-19th century. The founding missioners, two Swiss priests, followed German-speaking immigrants to America, putting down roots in what is now Mt. Calvary, Wisc., and Manhattan. Our Capuchin brothers have remained ever since to welcome the waves of immigrants who followed the Germans: the Italians, the Slavic-speaking peoples, the Puerto Ricans, the Dominicans, and now the Mexicans and Latinos of all nationalities. This evening after prayer and a sit-down dinner with the friars who reside at Sorrows, we walked about the neighborhood, pausing for gelato.

The five postulant brothers from Wisconsin have not been to New York before, much less the Northeast. Two of them reside in the Capuchins' Canadian province and will return there upon solemn profession of vows. All of them are searching for New York and eager to know the place up close and personal. On Friday they may return to lower Manhattan to visit the 9/11 Memorial. From this excursion I may have to beg off, for reasons that friends and close readers of the blog may be able to guess. I am not searching for New York, its joys, it sorrows, or its glories. I am searching for Jesus and his joys, sorrows, and glories. Much, much more I could say about this, and I will, but I haven't the time now.

Because now, it's off to rejoin all the postulants for some trivia games. Yes, trivia games. Believe it or not -- and I do wonder about it myself -- this is my holy work for the evening. If we are to live together as novices for one year, as brothers in Christ, we need to do some serious intentional bonding. And with the Capuchins, the more serious they are about something, the more playful they get. A paradox? A contradiction? So be it. Time to connect over a game of Cranium. No time but the present moment to make those connections.

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