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Monday

Monday’s official activities are a free lunch at St. Paul’s Cathedral; a Eucharist and healing service; and a homeless AA meeting. Then I met with Kathy to talk about what I’ll do for the month.

The lunch is put on by a different parish each week; they serve soup, a hot sandwich, a vegetable, and cookies today. I helped with tea and coffee, made conversation. Ecclesia (the name for the whole program of homeless ministry, of which common cathedral is a part) serves as a pastoral presence. So I sat and ate cookies with Kevin and some others, and learned about good clothes at Goodwill, Boston sports, and was offered more cookies than I could eat.

The Eucharist was small. One woman left, because one of the men mentioned something in the news — something unpleasant — and she said that wasn’t proper to talk about before communion. Apparently it didn’t get dropped enough to make her comfortable, and in fact we didn’t bring it up in prayer when we had a chance, whether because in effect we already had, or because we’d forgotten. Like the Sunday service, there was offering burdens to God — whatever we find too heavy; there were prayer requests; and there was comment on the Gospel. The AA meeting eventually had about 8 men, Kathy, and me. It’s odd to be at an AA meeting when you are not exactly an alcoholic; that will take more thinking.

At the end of the day, Kathy and I went for coffee and to talk over my role and my goals. Like any intern, I should have learning objectives, perhaps just two since it would be a short time. I had one: to learn to be more comfortable going up to strangers and starting conversation, or letting it start. Kathy reminded me that without relationships, saying “come and let’s do church” is craziness. What about the second goal? She asked about my church background, my call, why with the homeless. I responded, dithered, got circumstantial. She looked at me and said, I think you need to learn to be in your heart instead of your head.

This is going to be difficult in ways I hadn’t thought of. And better.

I think Erasmus says somewhere, Sancta Socrates, ora pro nobis.

Oh, pictures will come; stand by for technical difficulties. For now, I’m trying to stay under a thousand words.

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