The Plot Thickens (or is that “Thins”?)

My daughter and I were leaving the library parking lot mid-afternoon today (it being my day off), when suddenly my cell phone rang. I did not recognize the number.


“I think I have your statue,” said the voice at the other end.

“You do?”

“Yes, my daughter and I found a statue of St. Francis beside a dumpster at the cemetery where we were helping a friend of ours purchase a plot. The friend insisted we take it home so my daughter could refurbish it for a memorial to my son we have in our backyard. It looks just like the one in the photo the newspaper published. I tried to take it to the church, but no one was there. Could you come to the house to see if it’s yours?”

“Certainly. I can be there in about 15 minutes!”

I took down her address and hung up the phone. After driving about a block I decided to call Susan, who had gotten the ball rolling with her Letter to the Editor and who would be better than I at making a positive identification of our statue. She couldn’t believe it!

After swinging by Susan’s house to pick her up, the three of us drove out to the woman’s house, which was out past the edge of town. On our way, we passed the cemetery she had mentioned. She was waiting for us in the driveway.

After we had introduced ourselves, she called into the house for her daughter and another woman to join us. The daughter unlocked the trunk of her car, and there was St. Francis! Susan made a positive identification, which was complicated by the fact that the daughter had already started work on removing the peeling paint.  Then we transferred St. Francis from her trunk to mine.

St Francis in the driveway

St Francis emerges from the trunk


As we were standing there in the driveway, the daughter told us more of the story.

The friend who was purchasing a burial plot that day had been dying of cancer—that was why his insistence on her taking the statue from the dumpster was so important. He died shortly thereafter. He had been quite a jokester, and while standing in the cemetery, she suddenly had a vision of painting St. Francis pink and putting him at her friend’s grave. She was horrified, thinking she would never do such a thing to a statue of a saint, but she knew the deceased would appreciate the joke. She then couldn’t get the funny image out of her mind. She shared the image with her friend’s wife, who laughed and thanked her for lightening such a difficult day.

Then, yesterday, our story appeared on the front page of the South Bend Tribune.  The story included a photo John Zanka had taken a few weeks before the statue was stolen. Because of the angle of the shot and the time of day when the photo was taken, the faded and peeling brown paint on St. Francis really appears pink! Imagine her amazement at seeing this seemingly abandoned statue on the front page of the newspaper, reflecting her graveside vision!

We thanked the women profusely, sharing with them our former concern that someone had taken the statue only to destroy it. We may never know how Francis made it from our garden to that spot next to the dumpster. What we do know, however, is that he made it into good hands and that he briefly lightened the burden of a grieving widow.  Not bad work!

Statue of St. Francison a table in the parish hall

Welcome Home, St. Francis!

Francis has now made his way back to our parish hall, where he awaits important decisions like how to finish refurbishing him and how (or whether) to better secure his place in the garden. For now, we’re just happy to have him home again.


Purslane in the Garden

During our Neighborhood Summerfest yesterday evening, I took a few minutes to wander through the garden and pull some weeds.  I had just pulled some volunteer purslane (see inset photo) and had straightened up to look for my next victim, when a neighbor stopped me:

“Are you pulling weeds?”




“But that’s purslane. My family eats that. If you leave it, we will come and harvest it.”


My initial reaction was to be happy that one of our neighbors had motivation to pull what I was still thinking of as a weed from our garden. But once I was home, after the party was over, I got to wondering about how one went about eating purslane, ’cause there’s plenty to go around!

A quick survey of the web brought up the following recipes:

Purslane and Basil Pesto

Purslane and Basil Pesto

Purslane and Basil Pesto


Shirazi Style Purslane Salad


Pickled Purslane (try saying that 5 times fast!)


Stir-Fried Purslane, Chinese Style

So, the next time you pull out some Purslane, you might not want to throw it away!

Neighborhood Summerfest!

Come one, come all, for a casual neighborhood gathering right in Holy Trinity’s backyard!

As part of our effort to form deeper relationships with our neighborhood, the Church of the Holy will be hosting a backyard party on Saturday, June 28th from 5-8pm. Featuring free food and live music, the party will be a kick-off for what we hope will be an ongoing outreach effort. This first event will include:

  • live music
  • free food
  • a little gardening
  • bible stories and crafts for the kids
  • a prayer circle
  • a sampling of educational and social service resource

This first event will focus on sampling some of the things we could do together as neighbors, while soliciting ideas from neighbors about what kinds of activities they would like to play a part in. So, while we will have materials and very brief presentations from different educational and social service groups who might present more substantial programs at Holy Trinity in the future, we will also have space for folks to list what kinds of presentations they would like to have. Likewise with music, crafts, food etc. . .

Our primary goal is to get to know our neighbors better, so do come and hang out in the backyard with us!




This Week with Holy Trinity—Pentecost II

Sunday, June 22 (2nd Sunday after Pentecost)

  • 8am Low Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel—Fr. Richard Kallenberg Celebrant/Preacher
  • 10am Sung Mass at High Altar—Fr. Richard Kallenberg Celebrant/Preacher, Susan Tiffany Deacon

Tuesday, June 24—Nativity of St. John the Baptist

  • 6:30pm Low Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel—Stweart Clem Celebrant/Preacher

Wednesday, June 25

  • 7pm Vestry Meeting in the Parish Hall

Saturday, June 28—Neighborhood Summerfest

Come out from 5–8 pm on Saturday evening to spend some casual time with your neighbors!

  • Free Food
  • Live Music
  • Bible Stories and Crafts for the Kids
  • Prayer Circle
  • A “Sampling” of social service presentations

Sunday, June 29 (3rd Sunday after Pentecost)

  • 8am Low Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel—Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher
  • 10am Sung Mass at High Altar—Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher

This Week with Holy Trinity—Pentecost I

Sunday, June 8 (Pentecost Sunday)


  • 8am Low Mass in St. Joseph Chapel — Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher
  • 10am Sung Mass at High Altar— Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher


Tuesday, June 10

  • 7pm Bible Study/Workshop: Identifying the Holy—the ability to listen closely to others and to help them recognize what God is already doing in their lives.


Wednesday, June 11 St. Barnabas, Apostle

  • 6:30 pm Low Mass in St. Joseph Chapel — Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher
  • 7pm Organizing for Outreach, in the Parish Hall


Friday, June 13 Shortcakes on the Blacktop at the Cathedral of St. James

Sunday, June 15 (Trinity Sunday)

  • 8am Low Mass in St. Joseph Chapel — Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher
  • 10am Sung Mass at High Altar— Terri Bays Celebrant/Preacher