If you were a bird flying above the church parking lot that summer morning, you would see the three of us sitting next to the travel van in folding chairs, sipping tea and breaking bread together. The lot was devoid of other vehicles. The couple came from Ireland. This was their last day in the states and somehow they were spending time in this out of the way place on their way to another park where the husband planned to photo graph birds.
My notes taken concerning this chance meeting are missing; these are memories salvaged from the computer of my mind. Though incomplete I feel they are worth noting. The wife was talkative and cheerful and quick to reveal her husband was an atheist though he went to Mass with her that morning. He immediately said, “I am a scientist” as if that explained everything. Without thinking I commented, “That is all the more reason you should believe.”
He remained silent as his wife began talking about her thoughts on the Catholic Church. She took a more liberal stance on the issues surrounding our Church than I held. Still we expressed our own views listening to each other. The two of us also discussed politics as well. but I do not recall exactly what we said. We had violated the rules of casual polite conversing __with no outbursts or arguments.
We talked about our personal lives: our children, travel experiences, hobbies. They were quite involved with scavenging in wild areas of their country including one particular unpopulated island. Her husband commented on their work in that field. They had been to Medjugorji and the womam spoke about the ‘craic’ they had there. In fact she also used that word referring to the cake baking socials she had with friends at home. It was Irish slang for fun.
Medjugorji is a place in Bosnia Herzegovina where the Blessed Mother has been appearing since June 24, 1981 to six children, now adults still receiving messages from Her. I happen to belong to a Medjugorji Rosary group and know several people who visited there many times. They used the word joy for their experiences at the site of the apparitions; still not officially approved by the Church but certainly known for the good fruit, including conversions, coming from pilgrimages there.
Although this was (as of now) a one time meeting, somehow I felt connected to these two people from the Emerald Isle.
Please bear with me for one more Tea Time post….