Weekend Coffee Share – 09/25/2016

deacon coffee mugOver a cup of coffee, I would apologize for not coming to the counter for a while.  One could say I have been struggling with one huge case of writer’s block.  It is a combination of trying to carve out a period of time to write something online; and not be able to think of anything to write.company-picnic

Anyway, let me share with you that earlier this week I attended my first company cookout earlier this week.  It was on a Tuesday, and the weather could not have been more cooperative.  Tents were set up in the parking lot of our office building.  The food was placed out buffet style.  And there were round tables for us to sit at.  Part of menu was BBQ pulled pork, sausages in a roll, hamburger sliders, very good macaroni and cheese, shrimp, and salads.  It must be sign of my getting older; but there was a time I could hit a buffet table at least twice; that is no longer true.  My wife would say that is a good thing.

One of the goodies the company was giving away, were “selfie” sticks.  Here is my first try with it.selfie

Over a cup of coffee, I would tell you that there was a big event in the Archdiocese of Boston, MA, recently; the coming of a relic, the heart of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina; also padre-pioknown as Padre Pio.  Padre Pio was a Franciscan Capuchin friar, born in 1885, in Italy, and died on September 23, 1968.  He was ordained a priest in 1910.  In 1918, he received the stigmata, after experiencing a powerful vision of the Crucified Christ.  He bore the five wounds of Christ for the rest of his life.  News of this miracle got out to the world, crowds of people gathered to witness it.  Padre Pio would be examined many times by physicians, with conflicting diagnosis’.  The Church would investigate him many times; would forbid him to say Mass or hear confessions for a period of time.  He would eventually be cleared of unorthodox thinking or practices, and returned to his priestly ministry.  He would spend a good deal of his time hearing confessions, offering spiritual council, and celebrating the Eucharist.  He remained at the Capuchin friary at San Giovanni Rotondo for the rest of his life.  He worked at, and successfully caused a hospital to be built near the town.  34 years after his death, he was declared a saint, by Pope St. John Paul II.

We Catholics have a unique relationship with our saints; we believe that they are in heaven with God, that they are praying for us, interceding for us before the Father.  Their lives continue to inspire us, encourage us to live more intensely the Gospel life.  They are very real for us; so when we come before a relic of theirs, we venerate it; knowing we are giving honor to the person, not the object.  And that is what has been happening with heart of Padre Pio; thousands of pilgrims have gathered in churches, in the North End of Boston, in Lowell, and in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston.  All to venerate the relic, to ask for his intercession, or to thank him for a prayer answered.  It was a powerful demonstration of faith.  It is also a demonstration of the “juice” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston still has in Rome.  It also does not hurt that he himself is also a Franciscan Capuchin!padre-pio-heart

Over a cup of coffee, I am going to start saying something that will sound like the beginning of a bad joke; “A Catholic priest, a Methodist minister, and a Yale humanist enter a room;” what you get is “The Great Bible Experiment!”  Father Warren Savage, Catholic chaplain at Westfield State and Amherst College; the Rev. Anne Robertson, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bible Society; and Tom Krattenmaker, of the mbs_logo__0Yale Humanist Community, have been gathering in  New Haven CT, Albany, NY, Providence, RI, and on September 27, 2016, in Boston, to hold a town meeting style discussions on the Bible.  These locations, according to recent surveys, are the least Bible minded cities in America.  The final meeting in Boston, will actually be held at Harvard University; the event will be live streamed.

Well, the cup is empty; and will try to here next week, with another cuppa.

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.