Saturday, May 26, 2012

Final Bulletins

Backtracking on the bulletins from Babylon....

Thursday: Sojourning in Babylon Village, NY, at San Niccolo Friary. Arose at twenty to eight; brief meditation and morning prayer at my brothers' dining table facing east, looking at a gray sky heavy with moisture. Nine o'clock Mass at Our Lady of Grace in the Marian chapel with about twenty-five people of the parish. Light breakfast at San Niccolo with my brother while viewing the proceedings of the House of Representatives on C-SPAN. Left the apartment around noon for the multiplex in Deer Park to see The Hunger Games, which has been all the conversation among many of my young theologian friends. It took some convincing to get Nicholas to see it with me, but he went, and he was glad he did. You'll be glad to have gone, too. For a perspective from one of my thoughtful theologian colleagues, read this. I posted this link earlier in the context of Holy Week and the Easter season, but it bears re-posting.

Made a pit stop at San Niccolo before visiting Jennifer, Jesse, and little Jesse at their home in East Northport. Chinese take-out and Pictionary and looking at our lives together in heart-to-heart talk: this is how I spent the evening with my sister, our last together until next August. When we see each other again, little Jesse will be three and a half years old, and her second child, who doesn't have a name yet, will be eleven months old.

Friday: Sojourning at San Niccolo Friary. Arose at seven-thirty; brief meditation and morning prayer at my brothers' table. Nine o'clock Mass at Our Lady of Grace in the Marian chapel. Surprised to see more than fifty parishioners there. Every Mass at Our Lady of Grace is offered for one of the deceased members of the parish; apparently many relatives had come for this commemorative Mass. A couple of the relatives brought the gifts of bread and wine to the altar. After dismissal, said goodbyes to a few of my longtime friends from the parish.

Light breakfast at San Niccolo while viewing the Senate proceedings on C-SPAN 2. Before long Nicholas and I were on an express train to Jamaica, then the J train to Manhattan and the Lower East Side. Got tickets for a late afternoon tour of the Tenement Museum -- it was the exhibit on sweatshop labor. Looked at the photo gallery and saw a film about immigration and life in the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century. With two hours before our tour, we strode out and crisscrossed the neighborhood, stopping first at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. The church was closed as we passed by, but providentially, Fr. Tom Faiola, the pastor, walked up as we were peering into the locked church. He was on the way to pastoral visit, but he graciously let Nicholas and me into the sanctuary and left us to do a self-guided tour of the church and friary. Thank you, Father Tom! A little more walking, then an hour of taking our time at Teany, a vegan teahouse on Rivington Street. For me, a banana and a scoop of vanilla ice cream made with cashew milk; for Nicholas, a slice of German chocolate cake and a bottle of green tea with ginseng. Back to the museum for the tour, which let out around five o'clock. Dinner at a pizza shop -- a slice of mushroom and a thick-crust slice of spinach and fresh riccotta. If I miss nothing else about New York City, I'll miss its pizza.

Back at San Niccolo around eight; on C-SPAN we watched Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker debate his challenger in the recall election, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. A good final day alone with my first and forever brother.

Today: Sojourning at my parents' house in West Babylon. Arose at San Niccolo Friary at six-thirty; washing up and packing up. Morning prayer in my customary spot at my brothers' table. Chocolate chip pancake breakfast over The New York Times. Helped my brother with his laundry, then left for my parents' house to do my laundry, where you don't get charged $1.75 to use the washer! Took a walk around the muggy neighborhood with my mother, water bottles in hand. Hooray -- we got one last stroll together. Now, computing and corresponding. Later this afternoon: confession at Our Lady of Grace, then the vigil Mass for the solemnity of Pentecost. Dinner this evening with the family at our favorite Chinese-Japanese restaurant. Hopefully, a restful night ahead, my last in the Northeast for fourteen months. When I next lay my body to sleep, it will be in a bed 1,500 miles from here.

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