What a great weekend. It's not Laetare Sunday yet but in Portsmouth I took a break from my lenten discipline with our local St. Patrick's Parade. It was rainy and cold which meant that our thurifer, crucifer, torch bearers et. al. were excused from leading the parade--except that is for me. I don't have pictures yet, but when I do, I'll post them here.
I was intent on staying dry, so I chose to wear my black wool cape over my vestments. To keep my head warm, I wore a biretta. And to keep everything else dry, I balanced a missal and blessing cross in one hand and a green and white golf umbrella in the other. Like I said, I'll post some pictures--it's worth seeing. I might have looked straight out of a previous century, but I was the only one in the parade dry and warm.
I led the parade this year-sans acolytes-blessing people along the route as I went. At the end, I stayed on the corner and gave blessings to all 75 of the floats and parade entries. The fireman and paramedics seemed especially grateful.
This is small town America, where everybody knows everyone, and we all try to watch out for each other. This is one of those moments. Not everyone along the way is a Christian, and not everyone realized I was actually a priest--each year, the same lady halfway through on the right says, "look, they have somebody dressed up like a priest," and every year, my friend standing next to her says, "no, he really is a priest, it is a SAINT Patrick's parade--remember?" Christian or not, folks were glad for it. Life is hard around here and we need all the help we can get. St. Patrick, pray for us.