Wednesday, May 18, 2016

When Old and New Converge

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016:

How to describe the city that hosts us first, Edinburgh, Scotland?

The outer layers of the city are modern, complete with a newly-installed light rail system (when we visited here, four years ago, the whole downtown area was ripped up, preparing for this new addition!).

But the inner sanctum of this city, the Royal Mile, is hundreds upon hundreds of years old.  It is the heart of this unique city, an ancient but vital heart, whose stony concourse leads up to Edinburgh Castle, serving as a pinnacle and watchtower to the urban choreography below.

We are being hosted by a wonderful, humble, and eager Catholic parish: St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, in Broomhouse, one of the suburbs of Edinburgh.  They have been preparing for our visit since last fall, preening the church, organizing the host families, seeking out donations of food, snacks, libations – in short, our visit has become a community event – something to which everyone in the parish has made a contribution.

Our principal contact, Dr. Maureen Bruce, spoke of phone calls from the town butcher, the bakery, and many others, all wanting to contribute to our visit.  Maureen is deeply committed to our ensemble – a month ago she and her husband traveled all the way to Notre Dame for our 35th Anniversary Weekend.  Her description of the parochial preparations brought tears to the eyes of many.

Ye are strangers here but once... This is the message that greeted us in the vestibule of the small, cinder block Catholic church that will be our home for the next 5 days.  Our students will be getting to know their host families, living with moms and dads and kids, staying in convents and parochial houses.  There will be many stories to tell.  But now the pilgrimage has begun.

And the welcome awaits, where the old and the new converge.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy! There is an Italian restaurant just off the Royal Mile, a block across the street from the historical museum that has the best food I've ever tasted in my life. My husband and I stopped there for lunch.Vittoria's, I think? Anyway, great place if you're looking for a quick bite and amazing food. Reasonable prices, too.