On Sunday, Father Michael told his congregation that the Lord had visited a home in their parish and left a sign of his presence. Murmurs rustled through the pews. This could be the most exciting thing since old lady Pearl was mistakenly thought to have died. Phone calls were being made to family members when Pearl sat up in bed and demanded a glass of water. She was sitting in the front row today, although she hadn’t heard a word Father Michael said since she’d been stone deaf since that brush with death.
“A miracle has visited the parish of Ross Creek,” Father Michael declared and the word ‘miracle’ seemed to reverberate from the church walls. “Next Sunday a special mass will be held and you will all be witnesses.”
Father Michael stood in the doorway after mass shaking hands as people filed past. No one talked about the weather or inquired after his health. They wanted to know what the miracle was and whose home was ‘visited’. But the priest, grinning like the Cheshire cat, told them to wait for next Sunday. He wanted to keep them guessing. He also wanted them to come back.
Murielle didn’t ask any questions when she filed past the priest. She was busy wondering how her husband’s shirt would be presented and if it mattered that the armpits were stained.
The question of presentation was discussed over tea the next day. Father Michael sat perched on the edge of John and Murielle’s faded, floral-patterned sofa, holding his saucer with his left hand, the tea-cup delicately in his right. “It should really be displayed in a glass case,” he said.
Murielle imagined the shirt hanging behind glass like new clothes on display in the Sears window on Main.
“There probably isn’t time though,” the priest added sadly.
He wanted to do this right, but he didn’t want to wait too long and lose interest from his unruly flock. He had been praying for a miracle to bless his struggling ministry for more than 15 years. This was not what he had expected, but he was prepared to make do with what he was given. Who was he to question?