The Sons and Daughters of a Queen
Father Luis experiences the "taste of freedom" on pilgrimage with friends from Boston.
Our community in Massachusetts started the month of May with a pilgrimage to Saint Anne's Shrine in Sturbridge. It was the first occasion to be all together again after more than a year. To me, a recently arrived member, it was a wonderful occasion to meet many people and grow in the knowledge of the ones I had already met. After a lunch picnic together, we had a Mass in an outdoor chapel and a rosary while walking in the embellished green areas.
A little three-year-old girl I met was wearing small ballerina slippers and a white dress, probably not the best outfit for the occasion. Still, she said very proudly that she was dressed "as a princess" her favorite clothes when she is with her friends.
This was a beautiful image of that day together: everyone was boldly free in their own personalities, attitudes, and conversation. The many children, in small family groups during the Mass, were running up and down through all the surrounding zones immediately after, during free time. The adults were introducing new friends to each other, chatting about family life, schools, proposals, plans for the future. There was a strong diversity, if we consider ages and, stories, but also an amazing sense of a common understanding of what we were doing there and what had brought us together. You could taste the freedom of people who are unique, but part of a community.
In fact, this is probably the most striking aspect of the Massachusetts community that I've witnessed in the few months I've been living in Boston. A pilgrimage like this came from the desire of a handful of people to spend a day and pray together. And they didn't wait for anyone to appoint a committee or to create a complex organization. They simply found a place, sent some emails, invited everyone, and there we were, about a hundred people enjoying a wonderful Sunday afternoon.
The words of Cardinal Sean O'Malley's meditation on our Way of the Cross came to my mind. On that occasion, he said that Judas, concerned only with money, had betrayed Jesus because he had stopped praying and being friends with the others, who didn't know where he was going after the Last Supper. He asked us, then, to remain faithful to prayer and community. That is exactly what was happening in our pilgrimage!
I'd like to conclude with another beautiful impression. During the prayer of the rosary, every "Hail Mary" was introduced by an intention: "For the Movement", "For the people who can't afford enough food", "For our friends who are moving South soon.” Many of them were read, or simply made up on the spot, by the children. Even if silence was moving and everyone was praying, some kids obviously got distracted after a while.
So Father Luca called their attention and made them all come together for the final decade: "This is the most important mystery" he said, "because the crowning of Mary as Queen of angels and saints means that we, as her sons and daughters, are. . . .“ He paused. "Who are the sons and daughters of queens?" he asked. "Princes and princesses!" they screamed. Exactly like the little girl with ballerina slippers.
Father Luis, Boston, Massachusetts