This past week from Thursday thru Sunday I attended a reunion of former religious from my younger days. We were Salesians of St. John Bosco. About 15 years ago 4 guys formed a group, called SOB’s. Yeah, I know . . . the name was picked by our founding members while sitting in a bar after a few drinks. While the name isn’t critical what is important is that the group has grown to over 200 who share posts on our Yahoo group site. Each year we gather. This year I planned the gathering in Chicago.
When I reflect on this group of guys I am struck by the passage of time. We were all together over 50 years ago then a lapse of many years when with no contact. It has only been in the last 15 years that we have reconnected. Obviously we had shared a powerful connection that was able to pull us back together after so many years.
I find it amazing that all of us have lived our lives in so many different ways. One converted to the Jewish faith and another few profess to have no faith at all. We have deacons and former priests. Most are married with grandkids. There are all different professions from teachers to authors or even engineers. Still we gather.
We share memories so strong that the current differences between us mean little. When we gather the years melt away. That which separates us isn’t as strong as that which binds us. Echoes of the past return to us.
We Seculars also can share that kind of bond. Our echoes are now. We share the vocation we have and the more we live the rule the stronger the bond becomes. The rule bridges any differences we might have.
I can tell you that our rule is a blessing that we need to cherish for the benefits are life altering. You can see from the picture above that a bunch of older guys are still able to set aside differences that have taken a lifetime to develop and renew that bond which once held us together and still does. We who share a common rule need to live that rule as best we can and smile every time we gather together for we have something which so many others don’t. We have our monthly gatherings and in August the feast of the Portiucula.
I wish all a beautiful summer with all it has to offer. I hope to see many in St. Louis for the gathering this weekend. Pax et Bonum!
—Jerry Stecker, OFS, Minister of the St. Bernadine of Siena Fraternity.