Friday, May 4, 2012

Sometimes Wishes Do Come True

There can be no doubt that I am of robust proportions. Likewise, there can be no doubt that Europeans are rather scrawny folk by American standards. So, though disappointing, I was not entirely surprised to discover that the first store we visited today did not sell a cassock large enough for me. Almost, but not quite. Nor did the second store. Nor did the third. Oh well. I was prepared to abandon this project and was contentedly smoking a cigar in the park when Fr. Marcin emerged from one of the stores announcing that he bad arranged to have the tailor call us when he came to the store. Perhaps he would be able to altar a cassock to fit me, or even agree to make a custom cassock for me. With this promise we set out to do a bit of exploring of Krakow's underground. We wandered among a variety of vendor stalls and looked at the work of local artisans for a time. From there, we quite literally descended through progressively older layers of the city in order to visit a relatively new museum dedicated to the ruins beneath the modern city. I was tired and glad for the relative cool offered by a very interactive lesson on Poland's dark ages. Leaving the museum, we braved the rain to cross the square and pray for a while in yet another beautiful church.

We ate a mediocre lunch and then set about finding a tobacconist. These are few and far between in Krakow. Finding one had, until today, been much like the search for El Dorado. We found one, and after a dissatisfying selection in the humidor, we bought pipes and pipe tobacco hoping that these would remain our contingency plan. We once again set out looking for a store we had been reassured time and time again would be the fulfillment of our nicotine driven longing.

Just as this fulfillment seemed within our grasp, Fr. Marcin received a phone call. The tailor had arrived and would wait one half hour for us. What were we to do?

Fr. Marcin hurriedly made his way to the ground floor of the mall we were reconnoitering to hail a cab. Fr. Tim and I made a last ditch effort to find the golden city. All seemed lost when suddenly to our right loomed one of those horrific surgeon general's warnings about smoking. We had finally found it. It was a moment of great joy. Rapidly making our purchases, we rejoined Fr. Marcin above and arrived in plenty of time to order a cassock and arrange to have it brought to me. I was so pleased I insisted on a photo with the spritely tailor. Unfortunately, said photo is on Fr. Marcin's phone.

From there we drove like mad men to arrive at the Divine Mercy center in time to purchase several items from the sisters. All in all, through Fr. Marcin's inspired leadership, everyone's wish came true.

Late evening found us concelebrating Mass in Polish once again at the Church where the boy who would become JPII took Blessed Mary as his mother after the death of his earthly mother. This church, part of a Franciscan priory, sits atop a glorious hill. The view was astounding. After another twenty minutes of driving we managed to arrive in Wadowice, the hometown of JPII. We ate our best meal to date and finally met Fr. Pawl about whom Fr. Marcin has spoken incessantly for days. A couple of beers, a bit of whiskey and a cigar later, I find myself now trying to wrap up this post so I can sleep.

Day by day I am beginning to see why the Nazis wanted this country for themselves, and why countless generations if Poles have battled to the death to defend her.


  1. I only hope you said HI to my home as you drove by on the way to Kalwaria and Wadowice. Have a good and holy time. Andrzej

  2. Sure is pretty wish I could see it for myself one day. Good times and friends can be found in many places.

  3. We wait in joyful hope to invade Poland and have it invade us.

    Clark and Cathy


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