Dorothy Cummings McLean

Dorothy Cummings McLean

There is a new Easter tradition in the United Kingdom: going to the local historical house to hunt for chocolate eggs.

On March 7, at about 9 p.m., my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The doctor didn’t know if it was malignant, but as it had caused a blockage of fluid, Mark would have to have an operation ASAP. She left us behind the papery blue curtain in the emergency ward.

Edinburgh was wet on a recent Saturday, but Mark and I were out in it, running errands in the Old Town. As we were walking up the Royal Mile, we heard shouting outside St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh’s so-called High Kirk.

No doubt many of you have read the article from Catholic News Service about the Maltese bishops’ response to Amoris Laetitia that appeared last week on The Catholic Register web site.

School’s in, and again I look upon my lost youth with mingled regret and nostalgia. Not to terrify 14-year-old readers, but occasionally I see an ex-classmate on Facebook wailing, “If only I were 14 again and could do things differently.” Having read an excellent book called Make It Stick: the Science of Successful Learning (Brown, Harvard, 2014), I too long for the time machine.

My father once told me the story of a Japanese tourist who wandered into a historical European church. A guide hurried to meet him and point out the intricate carvings, the famous paintings. It took her a moment to realize that the Japanese visitor was paying no attention. He was standing frozen in the middle of the aisle with his face contorted in horror. Finally he raised a shaking finger to the baroque and bloody crucifix and asked, “Who is THAT?”

I spent the eve of Advent polishing the makeshift communion rail in our little wooden church. All around me parishioners vacuumed the rafters or cleaned the windows or mopped the floors. Someone had decided that this year we should clean the church for Christmas, and I thought that a great idea.


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