There was no getting past that Irishman

8 Oct

I kept my head down and kept walking. I just followed the crowd out of the church. I saw the priest greeting people and talking to an older couple. I thought I would just scoot past him. But, there was no getting past that Irishman. I saw him say excuse me to the couple he had been talking to, and he took a step towards me, extending his hand. He said ” Good morning. Are you new to the parish? I don’t believe we have met.” I just stared back, with a loss for words. So, I nodded, yes. He asked, “What parish did you come from? I said” I don’t know……..what a parish is.” A feeling of dread came over me. This was a very stern, no nonsense man, I could tell he wasn’t going to like me sneaking into his church. I was wrong. I think he saw the fear on my face. He clasped my hand between both of his and said” Welcome.   So  , you’re just visiting us today?” I nodded. People were stacking up behind me for a chance to say hello, but he ignored them all .He had my hand, and I couldn’t leave. He had sparkly blue eyes like my grandpop, Irish eyes. ” Are you catholic?”   I said “yes”.  He leaned in and said” how do you know?” I told him because I was baptized catholic.   He was so happy, he said” You’re right, you’re catholic!, Have you made any of your other sacrements?” I looked puzzled, I’m sure. But I had to tell him, I didn’t know what a sacrement is. I don’t belong here, I just came to say thank you to Him for something He did. I could feel the tears coming, and his grip getting tighter . He said “Jesus?” I shook my head no, and said”God”. He told me I was welcome anytime, he hoped he’d see me again. I said thank you, and told him I wanted to be sure He knew how grateful I was so I wanted to come to where He was, to tell Him. Father Carey said” And that’s here.” I nodded yes. “I don’t know anything about God…” Father Carey asked” would you like to….” I locked eyes with him and said” more than anything.” He said” What do you do on Wednesdays?” I told him that I worked 1:00-9:00 , and he said “good, so you’re free in the morning? I said “Yes”, he corrected me with a “Yes, Father” I just stared completely puzzled. I think he got the fact that I was a fish out of water,he had no idea how far out! He told me to meet him at the rectory on Wednesday mornings and he would teach me about God. I was so excited my face hurt, I don;t know if I ever smiled so big! “I just have one more question, what’s a rectory?”

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