Sr Barbara and I made yet another trip yesterday; this time, crossing the Mississippi flood plains of Iowa, to join in a memorial Mass held in Green River (pop. 36). Mass was held in a tiny chapel that had been deconsecrated, but was bought by a Chicago Catholic who was doing his best to make it a place of devotion. At the Sign of Peace, an elderly woman came in, amazed to see a service in progress. Turns out that Alice (81) had been a parishioner here all her life and was married in the little church on a rainy day 61 years ago. It meant so much for her to see it again from the inside, and to know that it would be used once more, even if only on again/off again. She was even more moved when we told her that the priest had suggested, as Mass began, that we pray for all those who had worshiped there through the years.
Later, we gathered for a lunch of "maderights" (the local name for a kind of sweet sloppy Joe) at a saloon/music hall, of all places. Kevin, the proprietor, showed us around this former barn. The upstairs has a stage modeled on the Grand Ole Opry, and has hosted some pretty famous names in country music. (This is country country.)
I think that's all the traveling I will have to do until...the day after Thanksgiving, when we begin our Great Christmas Concert Road Trip. Meanwhile, "miles to go" before that happens. We have our community meeting on Thursday, Theology of the Body class on Saturday and my Mom and sister Jane coming Saturday evening for Jane's well-deserved vacation. (Hope the weather doesn't scare her away!)
Just a little thought for today's feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran... Just to clarify: there is no "Saint John Lateran." There is a Church on property in Rome formerly owned by the Lateran family. (That's Jane standing at the entrance during the World Youth Day celebrations in the Jubilee Year.)
The "St. John" in question is...two of them: John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. The Lateran Basilica is one of the four "patriarchal basilicas" in Rome; the anniversary of the dedication of each one of these important churches is marked with a feast day. Today's is a solemnity (the highest level of feast there is) because the Lateran Basilica is actually the cathedral of Rome. A marble inscription at the entrance reads: Head and Mother of all the Churches. So you could say that today's celebration is a kind of second feast of the "Chair of St. Peter" ("kathedra" means chair, as used even now in the world of academia).