The old man walking on two canes away from St. Andrews church came directly to my easel. He was a friendly guy. We chatted and laughed for a while and I was about to asked him if he knew Jesus when we were joined by Joan. She knew the old guy. When she asked me if I knew the man I was talking to, I said I didn’t. I told Joan my name and she said, “Keni, it’s my honor to introduce you to Monsignor English.”
I’m not a Catholic, but I knew from the designation given by Joan to Mr. English that a ‘monsignor’ was someone important in the Catholic church. Monsignor English was the former pastor of this church until he retired in 1999. The three of us talked a while longer, then Joan disappeared into the church and returned a few minutes with a flyer for the film, For Greater Glory. Joan recommended that I see the film. She was a very energetic and evangelistic lady who was leaving that afternoon for a trip to Scandinavia, so she excused herself, leaving Monsignor Tobias English and me alone.
Monsignor Tobias eventually continued on his way and I continued to paint en plein air. As the hour passed, I was also visited by a deacon, a maintenance worker and Duke, another member of the church. Duke and Joan were both African-American, which is worth noting since many blacks have left the Catholic church.
When I returned home after completing this painting, I reflected on my experience at St. Andrews. I had a great time of fellowship with everyone I met that day. However, Duke was a mixed bag for while he expressed great love for Jesus, he had nothing good to say about fellow African-Americans.
Christians are missing out on a true blessing by restricting their contact in the community of saints to only those within their own house while seldom crossing denominational boundaries. If you want to expand your boundaries and horizons, join me on the streets. Sign up for a JEPA workshop.