You have heard that it was said, “Less talk, more processions!” Well, yesterday, in the drizzlely rain, in the smallest parish in North America, we had our procession, again.
We didn’t have enough men the same height to carry the statue and be able to trade off, say, at the half mile increments, again and again, an important logistic. So, the statue was in the truck (with Juan Diego) and then also our “antorcha” was carried (the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe). We sang lots of Marian hymns. We prayed lots of prayers. We wound through the streets of Andrews, going the past the rectory in the picture above, and even had blue-light accompaniment for a while. We arrived safely, with ourselves and the town better for the experience. I have the best parish in the world. I was very moved, very much felt to be the pastor of Jesus’ little flock.
As expected, we came across a gang of druggies, catching them off guard when we had blue-light accompaniment. They stopped and plotted what to do with this sudden invasion into their neighborhood, their turf. Hah!, thought I. They stopped to the side of the road – and, as is always the case with druggies – totally kept their heads down and facing away, not out of any ultra-reverence for Our Lady of Guadalupe, methinks, but so as not to be recognized as the druggies they were. I’ve seen this like hundreds of times in going around with the police. You can blue-light them for a stop right along side of them, sirens screaming, and they will just put their heads down and turn away. They knew I knew who they were, even if they were turned away. But, it had to be impressive to them, this manifestation of piety, of religion, of all that is good and holy, leaving them flabbergasted. Good! It’s all a bit disarming. Well, actually not for everyone…
There was concern just a few minutes later on a super narrow 25mph multiple blind curve road on the procession route, when some twenty-something
white-boys young men in a large silver truck drove along in the opposing lane of traffic rather aggressively, not slowing down for the conditions of crowded narrow streets on blind curves in the rain. They circled around again and did the same thing within just a minute, the second time with phone video going. Maybe they were pious and devout young men wanting to keep the wonderful memories of the procession forever!
Being evil and bad, I was thinking, instead, the second time through, with their being equally aggressive and now evidently super-pumped on adrenaline (I saw them from like two feet away as they passed by way too quickly), that Jesus’ little flock was going to be purposely rammed, you know, because it takes a lot of bravery to run over people peacefully praying, you know, because it takes a lot of bravery to run over little kids with an oversized truck with tires taller than they are, you know, to be men of valor, to be tough. But maybe they thought they were patriots “protecting America” from “illegal immigrants.” But they didn’t stop to ascertain who they were. They only saw that they were Latinos. Those were my bad and evil thoughts, which, however, were shared by one our extremely capable military guys (hey! other white-boys!) accompanying the procession to protect against any possible worst case scenarios. I wonder if the video of those two young men will show up on FB (which I don’t have). But I grant that their comments might well appreciate a pious procession and be entirely supportive in these times of Covid-lockdown…
Having said that, other town residents voiced their opinion that what they were seeing was “great” and “beautiful”, all smiles and all encouragement, including from one of the local ministers and his wife. I love that, a lot.
There was talk that next year we might expand the route a bit, like some 15 more miles. We’ll see about that!
But that’s the procession. There was also some talk complaining that along with the processions, there’s not enough talk: Father George, you gotta put up more of your sermons on-line! Do it! We depend on them!
Yikes. Now I feel guilty. I’ve been remiss. It’s just that no matter how presentable any homily might happen to be, I always ruin it, so to speak, for publication, making an off-hand comment over against, say, the USCCB, against unhelpful ambiguity, against religiously criminal activities. But maybe it’s important to voice all that as well. Saint Pius X did, right?
So, I say, “Not enough talk, and longer processions!”