Thursday already? The week has flown by with wings of coffee and lovely walks outdoors. When the younger generations ask, “What did you do in the pandemic, Auntie?” I will say, “I went for walks. I planned meals. I gained but then lost weight, and I took a lot of vitamins. In short, I tried to eliminate as much stress from my life as possible.”

It has been a week of happy surprises although the first surprise was rather mixed. Great was the consternation of the congregation of St. Trad of Invertradling this Sunday when not our pastor but young Father Novus processed from the sacristy. I had heard rumours that Fr. Novus had been learning the Old Rite, but I did not expect to see the evidence so soon. It was Good Shepherd Sunday; where was our own good shepherd? Was he on holiday? Was he ill? Was he dead, and no-one had seen fit to tell us? 

Fortunately, there was a homily, always a reliable source of news at St. Trad of Invertradling. Fr. Novus revealed that Fr. Vetus had taken ill. The congregation’s silence of curiosity turned into a silence of sharp concern. Naturally I thought first of the vile germ and then of my mother’s explanation for the Reformation, which was that the Black Death had killed all the good priests who bravely ministered to the people and spared the bad ones who ran away to their country estates. The prayers of St. Trad of Invertradling went up and into eternity and helped get Fr. Vetus out of hospital, for–behold!–when we emerged from the church, there he was in the carpark under a beanie, looking wan and thin but most definitely alive. 

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