18 Jun


At Capernaeum I happened upon Father Jerome, the guardian of the property and of the small Franciscan community there. We have met on previous occasions. There is just himself and an 81-year old fear, who was one of the two original excavators of the ruins of Capernaeum and who hopes to be able to be allowed to die and be buried on the property. Father Jerome (on the left in the photo) is from Ghana, and has been at Capernaeum for nine years, and is at the end of his term, but hoping to be able to stay longer. That sounded familiar to me. He was visited for a few days by another priest from Ghana, of another religious order. There are three nuns living in their own convent on the grounds, serving the pilgrims in the church/sacristy and the priests in their house. Father Jerome invited me for lunch. There was good food and laughter and priestly companionship. When conversation went to our new Pope, we all smiled. The word we agreed best described Francis was “authentic,” like in genuine, real. In speaking about camaraderie among priests, I mentioned the bond that seems to exist among mothers of priests. Father Jerome remembered at that moment that it was that day, 15 June, that his mother died four years ago. The third priest was the only one at table who still had his mother. Jerome shook his finger at him, “Take care of her for as long as you have her.” It seems the mother-priest son thing is the same the world over. Father drove me home the two miles to my bed, I mean, my hotel. I am convinced that Jesus hid away from Noon until 4:00 p.m. every day, because it is plum too hot to do anything but find some shade and snooze a bit. Jerome also told me to call him, if I wanted a ride anywhere, anytime. I think my ride to the border crossing on Wednesday was just handed to me. I added Ghanaian Jerome to my Jordanian George of a previous post.

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