Tuesday, 2 February 2010


I've been called upon to bless motorbikes and rocking horses, homes and kennels; competitors in swimming races, application letters for employment, family meals...also amusement arcades and swimming pools. You name it, I've blessed it.

Imagine my excitement when asked to bless the newly constructed pier that would receive cruise ships visiting Grenada. The idea was that I should be carried aloft in a 'cherry-picker.' From on high my amplified voice would come, as it were, from the clouds. And then I would sprinkle water on the docks and the people below.

What a challenge to compose a blessing that fitted the occasion; and what a temptation for me to get above myself, as I fantasized about myself being pictured on the front page of the local newspapers with such headlines as, "Cherry-picker priest pours down blessings from the clouds." I would have been proud to have shown this to my beloved mother and to have waved this in front of my studious brethren, applying themselves diligently to the latest liturgical instructions from Rome.

But for reasons best known to himself our Almighty Father did not allow any of this to happen. The government minister responsible for building the likes of piers and docks had a change of schedule that required the event to be deferred. By that time I had winged my way over to England for my vacation. The substitute for this high-flying priest was the much-revered bishop. Out of deference to his years and to his office he was invited to pronounce his blessing at ground level. I have absolutely no doubt that his prayers were just as effective as mine would have been from above and beyond.

As I reminisce about blessings that have caught my imagination I recall the custom on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Whatever had been given for Christmas was brought to the church to be blessed, as well as the one who received the gift. In a country parish proud youngsters have not only come with the traditional toys, games and dolls, but also with puppies, piglets, newly-born lambs, kittens and recently hatched chicks...I almost forgot to mention the goats.

And then there were the blessings on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. All were invited to bring to the church whatever they used when they were doing their work. Some came along with their pens and exercise books, others with frying pans and saucepans, yet others with scissors. crochet needles or sewing machines. There were those with their lap-tops, machetes, fishing hooks, taxis or buses.

No things were excluded; no persons were excluded. In such a setting how could we omit refreshments, laughter and sacred song? Quite honestly I love this kind of 'popular religiosity' just as much as the solemn celebration of the liturgy. It touches lives and brings people together in the Lord.

I found such practices in Grenada when I arrived here over 50 years ago. Deep in my heart I see this is mywaygodsway for me to enter into a wonderful relationship with God, the giver of all good things...and to relate to God's people in the islands that have long been my home and life.

Peter O.P.

Next week we will combine to meet God through a Crab in the Choir


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It is a pity it didn't happen as originally planned . . . you even had the perfect chant ready written : 'Rorate Caeli desuper . . .' !