Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday, 2015: Pilgrims & Grief of All the Ages

A country road in the small town of Antrain, Brittany, France, a remnant of the path pilgrims used to take to the nearby Mont Saint Michel (much more about that later). The modern-day pilgrims/sightseers take a different route now. But we are all pilgrims of many kinds throughout our life, with many journeys having nothing to do with religion, as by pure happenstance is beautifully signaled by the telephone poles that visually mirror the crucifix but are only of the mortal world.

I had the privilege of spending the 5th week of Lent with Catholics in Suffolk, England, in Aldeburgh; then Palm Sunday with the Bretons in Antrain; and back with the home team for the Triduum. Worship on the parish level is incredibly nourishing. The nationalities are important, but the Catholic bond is deeper and the shared knowledge of the Mass and what it means is a moment of human connection like no other.

I also happened to be away when the Germanwings plane was deliberately crashed by the copilot. The European coverage was extensive and beyond heartbreaking, from the 16 German teenagers from the same school returning from their cultural exchange in Barcelona, to the mother and daughter from Virginia, Yvonne and Emily Selke.

Then the third American killed was identified, Robert Oliver Calvo.  And that lead me to learn this: he worked for the Barcelona-based design company Desigual.  I have a lovely Desigual coat that I bought in Century One last year. I get many compliments on it, because it is very striking. Now, when I thank the women who stop me in the street to say how much they like it,  I will remember Robert Oliver Calvo, married with 2 children, and his colleague Laura Altimara, who recently married, in my heart. May they rest in peace and their families find consolation—maybe in the great love of the top picture, or wherever they can.