The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Americans

We're up in Massachusetts now, visiting the kids and grandkids, and not at all appreciative of the colder weather. The change in temperature really didn't hit home until this morning when we left the hotel, got into the rental car, and discovered that the windows were covered with a nice layer of ice. Naturally we didn't have a scraper, so we had to wait 10 minutes for the defroster to do its work. This only reinforced our comfort with our decision to move to Florida five years ago. Tomorrow should be warmer; they predict a high near 60. Whoopee!

We didn't fly up here to complain about the weather, though. One of the primary reasons for our trip was to attend a naturalization ceremony, which was held yesterday at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. It was our first visit to the library, even though we lived in Massachusetts for 25 years. Of course, I was never a big Kennedy fan, so I suppose I just didn't consider a visit to be a major priority. But that's all irrelevant. The ceremony was absolutely wonderful.
220 new Americans were sworn in as citizens of the USA in the presence of their proud families and friends. Among them was our son-in-law, Airton, a native of Brazil, and a fine young man. He's not only the husband of our elder daughter, Erin, but also the father of four of our grandchildren. And we are suitably proud of him for his decision to become an American citizen. His sister-in-law (our other daughter, Siobhan) and her husband felt compelled to give him one of those big Uncle Sam hats and, not surprisingly, Airton plopped it right down on his formerly Brazilian head.

The new citizens were a remarkable cross section of humanity. They came from 60 different countries and ranged from 20-somethings to mid-eighties. After the ceremony I approached one of the latter, an elderly woman from Latin American who I discovered was 84 years old. When I asked if I could take her picture, she just beamed a said, "Yes, yes, please do." She wore a rosary around her neck and proudly displayed her new certificate of citizenship. I'm sorry I didn't catch her name, but I thought I'd post her picture anyway. Truly a wonderful day for everyone involved.

It's now Friday and I'm sitting at our daughter's kitchen table watching four of our grandchildren prepare for an evening of trick or treating in their Cape Cod neighborhood. Halloween, of course, means that tomorrow is All Saints Day. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone took some time tomorrow to ask their patron saint to intercede on behalf of our country as we approach election day?
Just think of it: all of heaven asking God to bless this nation as it chooses its next president. Just a thought.

And take a moment tomorrow to let someone know that God loves them.


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