We headed to Wayne County in Pennsylvania in the heart of the Pocono Mountains on the weekend. We stayed at the beautiful Himalayan Institute just outside of Honesdale, the county seat. Marie was on a wellness retreat so I had some time. I headed into Honesdale for a look around on a sunny afternoon. Honesdale I learned, is famous as the Birthplace of American Railroading.
I was looking for a Catholic church so I could establish Mass times for Sunday morning. I immediately found two RC churches just a few blocks apart.
That was easy I thought. So I stopped for a coffee at the Black Brass Coffee Roasting Co. just across the street. I had no US cash and asked to pay by credit card for a small coffee. She smiled and said there is a $5 minimum but … we have a “pay forward” going on so it’s free. Wow, so I sit down and as I was enjoying the coffee I started to feel like I should buy something here. I noticed a sign “Pre-ground decaf coffee $2 off”. I asked for some. As she hands me the bag she says oh, this is not pre-ground, would you like it ground? I said no since we actually prefer to grind our own. She gave it to me for the sale price anyway. These small graces had me wondering what is going on here?
I continued my exploration of the town noticing the large number of church spires. I found a park with a memorial to the Civil War dead. I heard some live jazz wafting out the window of a bar. I found a small river and spotted a cross on the back of a pick up truck. As I slowly wondered back to the car I saw the sign about the first steam engine here. All in all a very interesting visit to a pleasant town that no one hears much about.
The next day I attended Mass at St John the Evangelist. The Priest was quite engaging and explained that we each are created as a new Christ and a priest, prophet and king thru our baptism as a Christian. Our lay priestly role is to live the Gospel and be a light that evangelizes others. He went on to explain that “ordained” priests have an additional role which is to call down the Holy Spirit to administer the sacraments such as Reconciliation and the Eucharist. This was very enlightening and timely given current debate in the American church about reform such as this piece in the Atlantic Monthly Abolishing the Priesthood. I find this article somewhat unravels in its length and attack on Pope Francis. It calls for the reclaiming of the Catholic Faith by lay people who have become exiled from the Church due to their disgust with clericalism and the abuse crisis.
Back at the Himalayan Institute we enjoyed our stay very much. It was founded in the 1970s as a centre of Yoga Science and Holistic Health and offers retreats for yoga instructors and does humanitarian work. Marie was on a retreat with Katherine Templeton.
Thank you Lord for this wonderful weekend of rich learning, continued graces, peace, tranquility, health and beauty.