Weekend Coffee Share – 10/22/2017

deacon coffee mugWelcome! Here is a cup of coffee, hot off the Keurig. Today, I want to share experiences from last weekend. Last Saturday, the second Saturday of the month, my Secular Franciscan fraternity holds its monthly meeting. It is held at Saint Anthony’s Shrine, located in downtown Boston, MA. I have been trying to attend this meeting more regularly; so, I was up early in the morning, grabbing a commuter train. I transferred to the subway, and got off at Downtown Crossing, Boston.
I came early into the city; so I would be able to walk around the area before the meeting. It had Downtown Crossing 2017been a while since I had made such a walk about. The biggest change in the neighborhood, is the Millennium Tower. Built in the space where the famous Filene’s Department Store once stood, it is a very, very tall high-rise building. It houses department stores, offices, and condominium apartments. I have not been around Millenium Towerthe entire building, so I was amazed at the changes I saw! One thing that really stood out for me; was the number of coffee shops that are in neighborhood now! I am not talking about an increase in the number of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks; but places like Caffe Nero. One can imagine the amount of caffeine flowing through the veins of the residents and office workers!
Bromfield Pen ShopOne stop that I had to make was the Bromfield Pen Shop, which is located, where else? On Bromfield Street! It has the largest collection writing instruments, including fountain pens, I have ever seen. And the most expensive collection of pens I have ever seen! I like looking over their pens, and the notebooks and journals they sell also. Sadly, I have only been able to purchase a Pelikano Junior, a very sturdy plastic fountain pen. I purchased a new box of ink cartridges for it, and with a wistful look behind me, left the shop.

St Paul cathedral EpiscopalI continued to walk up Bromfield St., towards Tremont St., which forms one border of the Boston Common.  My intention was to visit the Episcopal St. Paul Cathedral.  The church was established in 1819, as an Episcopalian parish.  In 1912, St. Paul’s was designated as the Cathedral Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.  When I worked in the Downtown, I would visit St. Paul’s on a regular basis; I found the quiet interior to be conducive to meditation.  Back then, it still had, what I would call, cubicle seating.  The pews arrangedInterior St Paul and separated by stalls.  I had heard that the cathedral church was going to be renovated, and I wanted to see the result.  When I entered the main church, I was stunned!  Gone were the pews, the memorial plaques on the walls, the altar rail.  It was wide open space, with stackable, plain chairs arranged for some service.  The interior was flooded with natural light, streaming from the skylights above.  And in the center, was a labyrinth.  Music flooded the church, as an organist was playing at the organ in the chancel of the Cathedral.  I still had a very peaceful experience during my time there.
I left the Cathedral and made my way to the Shrine, to attend the 12:00 Noon Mass, with the rest of the fraternity. I had forgotten that this Mass was going to be a special one, because we were St. Anthony Shrine 2017celebrating a Profession. A young man, Bobby Hillis, was going to profess his intention to live the Gospel life, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, by following the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. For about a year and half, he has been in formation, learning what it means to be a Franciscan; in his personal life; his life in the Church; his life in the world. After the homily, before the Franciscan priest, who was our celebrant, and our fraternity Minister, and the whole Fraternity, he declared:

I, Bobby Hillis, by the grace of God, renew my baptismal promises and consecrate myself to the service of his Kingdom. Therefore, in my secular state I promise to live all the days of my life the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Secular Franciscan Order by observing its rule of life. May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our holy father St. Francis, and the fraternal bonds of community always be my help, so that I may reach the goal of perfect Christian love.
[Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order, pp. 23 & 24.]

After the Profession Mass, we all gathered in the Shrine’s auditorium for a celebratory luncheon. For anytime a new member is professed, it “is a cause of great joy and hope for all the members of the community and for the whole Church.” (Ritual, p. 24)

SFO Profession 1 102017

SFO Profession 2 2017


So that was my trip into downtown Boston; now the coffee cups have to go into the dishwasher rack. Hope to see you again next week.


An Oasis in the Middle of a Concrete Canyon!

(The following post is one of my writing assignments for Blogging Univ.  Please enjoy!)

PO Sq ParkI was in Boston to attend a board meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society.  I was way too early, so I
went to a green oasis in the middle of the Financial District.  It is known to most of the workers as the park in Post Office Square, its official title is the Norman B. Leventhal Park.  It was not always a park.  In the past, it was a rundown parking garage, four stories above the street level, with levels of parking below.  A group of public and private leaders gathered the funds needed to tear down the garage, renovate the parking levels below, and create a botanical wonder amidst a concrete jungle.

I went to the local café, paid way too much for an 8 oz. cup of coffee.  I sat on the iron bars bench that weaves it way around one side of the park.  The calendar may say it is spring, but the air temperature did not feel it.  As I sat sipping my coffee, I watched people walking through; some dressed in business causal, others in business suits.  I observed who were wearing dress shoes, and who were wearing sneakers.  People sat at iron wrought tables, either having lunch, or a power lunch, with papers and files underneath their plates.  Some couples sat on wooden benches, cuddling and smooching.  As people passed by, I heard financial words, legal terms, and just office gossip.  Where they were not gathering was on the grassy center of the park.  It was roped off, to allow the new grass to grow and take hold.  The trees were beginning to bud; some were wrapped in a muslin liked material, which to this person looked very odd.  My eyes looked up further, at the tall buildings that surround this park.  Buildings made of marble, concrete, and glass; each containing either business offices, or hotel rooms, or government agencies.

It is in the afternoon, yet the downtown traffic is very light.  The sounds of a city at work were not too intrusive on the quiet of the park.  I really do miss it here!  I got up from my seat, threw my empty cup into the trash, and headed back downtown.  I was going back into the bustle, and the noise, to grab a subway trolley to my next destination.