Monday, May 21, 2012

Leaving Boston

Backtracking on the bulletins from Boston....

Yesterday: Sojourning at San Lorenzo Friary, Jamaica Plain. Arose at twenty to seven; meditation and morning prayer in the sunroom next to the library. Breakfast at eight with The Boston Globe. Orange Line and Red Line to South Boston and St. Monica-St. Augustine Parish in time for the 10:30 a.m. Mass. An encouraging conversation with Fr. Robert Kennedy; all too brief, but a joy to talk of gardens, unions, and humble service in the dying-rising Church. We parted so he could make ready to celebrate the confirmation of sixteen persons from the growing Latino congregation with the auxiliary bishop, Most Rev. Robert Hennessey.

Red Line to Green Line to Boston University for pad thai lunch at Noodle Street, then a leisurely rest at Espresso Royale Cafe for a cookie and scone while reading and re-reading Models of the Church by Avery Dulles. Used the time mindfully before crossing Commonwealth Avenue to Marsh Chapel for the Boston University School of Theology senior convocation, the hooding and diploma ceremony. Robing, then a half-hour rehearsal with the Seminary Singers, then line-up in the narthex of the chapel. At four the procession began. There's no place more sonorous than Marsh Chapel when there is a great congregation and all the people sing full throated. Yesterday the faithful lifted the roof. Single-handedly, so did the homilist, Rev. Dr. William B. McClain, STH Class of 1962, who met our greatest alumnus, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, in Montgomery, Ala., and later became pastor of the historic Union United Methodist Church in Boston. His sermon, based on John 9, was titled "But Now I See!" I sat up, leaned forward, and took notes. His adages will remain with me for quite some time:

We need priests to stand with the people, and we need prophets to stand against the people.

What the Church needs today is priests who preach like prophets, and prophets who serve like priests.

Listening to Reverend McClain makes me want more than ever to receive the faculties of a permanent deacon so I can preach at all times in all places. If it please God and the brothers, I will pursue this. The Catholic Church needs heralds. With Reverend McClain and my brothers and sisters of the School of the Prophets I dare to pray:

O crucified and risen Lord
Give me tongues of fire to preach thy word.

We celebrated the 85 students receiving degrees in the following programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Sacred Theology, Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Philosophy in Practical Theology, and Doctor of Theology.

Meeting my friends and mentors from the faculty and staff on Marsh Plaza after the convocation was like walking into the heavenly banquet of which Jesus spoke. My cup was full to overflowing; my heart was full. Dinner afterward in Cambridge with my dear friend Carolyn, then Red Line to Orange Line to San Lorenzo.

Today: Sojourning at San Lorenzo Friary, Jamaica Plain. Arose at twenty after seven; morning prayer at eight, with Eucharist following immediately. Breakfast with Rev. Terry Burke, minister of the Unitarian Universalist church on Centre Street at Eliot, not too far from our friary. Kitchen conversation with the guardian, a fellow friar, and one of the postulant brothers, who came on the weekend to celebrate commencements at Suffolk University, Tufts, and Boston College. Now, doing laundry and packing for the return to New York by Greyhound. By ten this evening, will be sleeping on an air mattress at Nicholas' apartment.

I am leaving Boston. God willing, the next time I set foot on these streets, it will be as a temporarily professed friar and a permanent resident once more.

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