I show up at 7:30 am. The Cathedral of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas. It's the day I've been waiting for. I show up to show my solidarity with all those who oppose abortion. I board a local Catholic School bus along with dozens of other faithful to pray the rosary and march around the Routh Street Women's Center. As the bus pulls away I hear from the back,
"Well, Father's here...we can begin our rosary now."For a second I thought she meant to begin it.
"Father?!" came the cry a little louder. "Let's start the rosary!"Good thing I know the rosary, eh? That was better than, "Ah well, let me see if I can remember how it begins..."
Thus began a day filled with being confused for a Catholic priest. Well, I was the only one dressed for the part on that bus.
As the rosary got going, I was enthused to say the least. The roaring responses lifted me out of my skin. These souls were serious about the mission of the day!
Next the bus stopped and the door burst open. We marched around the block drifting to our own cadences...yet all still in prayer...and in unison. When we reached the front windows of the clinic I could see folk moving about inside. All our voices seemed to rise higher at this moment.
Once more around the block and back on the bus to the Cathedral.
I had many encounters throughout the day that I am still processing. I am left with two puzzles. Was I the only Anglican priest there? Could that really be true? I know of another, for sure.
Then I began to wonder where all the Catholic priests were. Where all the religious? I saw many Bishops, some priests inside the Cathedral, a scattering of religious...perhaps a few from each monastic rule. It was not what I expected.
That may be due to many factors. I remember seeing Catholic priests [as well as mainline clergy] marching alongside the civil rights protesters in the 1960s. Did the press skew my memory to think that combination was normal?
Anywho, I think I get why there were so few Anglican/Episcopal clergy present.
Were Catholic diocesan priests not able to attend because they were busy with parish life and leadership? Where they making pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. to march on the mall? I'm still kind of wondering. I don't know. I don't presume to know why, either. I just do not know the answer and, yes, I rather bothers me.
I intended to show solidarity...not lead other men's flocks in prayer.