A priest friend of mine, Father James Gardiner, S.A., is going to be an "event captain" for the ecumenical prayer service coming up at St. Joseph's Church in the Yorkville section of Manhattan on Friday night. He was at a "dress rehearsal" last night and said that the level of organization was "very reassuring," noting that the archdiocese seemed to think of everything, right down to what to do with folks who are stuck at the church long after the pope has gone but the surrounding streets are still frozen. Refreshments will be served.
Father Jim and another Atonement Friar will be manning a command post at York Avenue and 87th Street in the hours leading up the event. They have the unenviable job of checking tickets and i.d. Fortunately he and his co-commander, Father James Loughran, S.A., will know almost all of the 250 invited guests, he said -- the Atonement Friars are deep into unity and ecumenism so this is their turf for sure. Father Jim's main concern: irate neighbors who may not be able to get in and out of their neighborhood. Not to worry, he soon learned. New York's Cardinal Egan has apparently written a letter to every resident of the area, and a community relations officer from the local precinct will be on hand to assist with any issues. They really did think of everything.
-- Mary DeTurris Poust