Thursday, August 04, 2005

Prayer pays
Of course it does. And it pays in a special way ... at least when I am around. Let me explain.

Fr. Kumar, the Associate Pastor, and I were out for lunch today at Mazzio's, enjoying the pizza buffet. Toward the end of our meal a woman walked in the restaurant with two boys and one girl and sat two tables behind me. We finished our lunch and were slowly drinking the remainder of our sodas, when I heard the voice of one of the boys say, "Hey, aren't we supposed to pray first?" I then heard the other one say, "I guess I should take off my hat." Then they said a little prayer, which sounded like something learned at summer camp -- hey, but it was a prayer. So, in a move that would make my grandfather proud (actually, I think grandpa may have taken over my body for a few moments) I got up before leaving Mazzio's and walked over to their table. I said, "Excuse me for butting in. You don't know me. I am Fr. Hamilton, the Pastor of the Catholic church here." They said hello. I said, "Which one of you did I hear saying you needed to pray?" The oldest boy, probably about 11 yrs. old, sheepishly raised his hand. So, I said, "Good job, young man. For that you get a prize." And I pulled out two bucks from my pocket, placed them near his plate, and patted him on the back before saying goodbye and God bless.

As I was walking away from the table and the boy was offering an astonished thanks, the woman with them said, "His dad is a pastor." So, I responded, "He's learning well, then." Now, I must wait for some twenty years before reading an endearing story in Our Sunday Visitor about a newly ordained priest who traces his entrance into the Church and his priesthood to some priest whose name he doesn't remember from Mazzio's in Guymon. We shall see. And you know what? It just came to mind that maybe it was St. John Vianney, that most excellent of parish priests, whose feast day is today, who really inspired my actions. Sorry, Grandpa, but I am sure you were at least egging me on.

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