Pilgrimage

My grandma Assunta taught me her tradition for this night, being Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday. It is the night before Good Friday, and it was her tradition to visit three churches by dark of night. It is the Night Watch that begins after mass is celebrated. By then the sun has set and night has fallen. The Pange Lingua, the beloved song of St. Thomas Aquinas, has been sung, the statues have been covered in purple cloth, the blessed sacrament set on display amongst lit candles. The lights in the church are dimmed, and the crowds have gone, leaving but a few hardy souls who will sit and hold their vigil. Their pilgrimage, like my grandmother’s, will include three churches, or perhaps even seven. Grandma’s number was three. Seth and I do this each year, bringing the memory of all our loved ones with us, and this year we can’t, of course. But we have memories, and we have photographs of the pilgrimages we’ve made on Holy Thursdays in years past. It is always a night charged with mystery and magic and I always feel welcome in these churches, welcome like a weary traveler or a long lost son for whom all is forgiven, no questions asked. And so, purposefully, this chapter of the Convivio Book of Days is short on words, and heavily laden with images: to provide a pilgrimage of sorts for any of you who wish to join us, for these are the sights we see each year on this night, with the wind blowing off the ocean and the moon shining brightly, way up in the sky, beyond the towers and steeples of the churches, beyond the palm trees, beyond the clouds that drift like continents afloat on tectonic plates. And so we bid you peace on this night watch, and the hope that all will be well.

 

4 thoughts on “Pilgrimage

  1. Cari Ferraro says:

    How lovely, John. Thank you. Little windows of peace amid the panic and pain. Your words, though few, are evocative and tender. Be well, be well, be well.

    • John Cutrone says:

      Thank you, Cari. I really missed our annual journey last night. But I did step out to seek the moon, around midnight. The palms and the breeze were there, too. Please stay well, too––you and your family.

  2. MECHTILD VONGROTE says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so much for showing us some serenity in the midst of all this chaos.

    Stay well. Happy Easter to you and yours!
    All the best, Maggie and Santo

    Also: Please note my new email address below (as of 4/10/20).

    • John Cutrone says:

      Thank you, Maggie! I think I successfully updated your email address for both the Convivio Book of Days and the Convivio Dispatch. You may have an email from us at your new account asking you to verify.

      Stay well and healthy, and Happy Easter to you and Santo and all your family from Seth and me!

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