Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Cassock and the Peripheries

It is well known that Pope Francis tells us to go the peripheries, to find those at the margins. The peripheries are not some place far away. They are right on our doorsteps.

Many have read the Esquire article "What Happened When I Dressed Like a Priest."

Sir Alec Guinness walked off a set wearing a cassock and a little boy came up to him and took his hand crying "Mon pere, mon pere!"

Yesterday I went shopping in a local supermarket. I happened to be wearing the cassock. Pope Francis had departed from the US that morning.

There is a transgender person who works in the store. I have got to know this person over the past few months. They always say hello and stop for a chat. Yesterday, this person put their arm around me and said what a wonderful person Pope Francis is. If ever this person felt alienated by the Church - and I have no reason to know one way or the other - they certainly feel at home in the company of a catholic priest.

At the checkout, I had a reasonably full cart. A man with a budgie on his shoulder had just a couple of items so I let him pass. He commented: Pope Francis is teaching you guys well! And spoke about how pleased he was that the Pope joined folk in a homeless shelter rather than join the White House banquet.

Pope Francis' visit has created a groundswell of good will. The best service we can do to our fellow citizen is to provide joyful, humble but unabashed witness to our respective states in life: priest, religious, lay person. The Church must be visible at the peripheries - which are just a short walk from home.


  1. Re: the wearing of the soutane, see

    1. Fr. Mark: please provide the link to whatever it is you wanted us to see. God bless you.

  2. The priest is God`s mercy made visible, a walking icon of God`s love...and a healing of the damage done by the abusers. Thank you for taking God`s love to your close-by periphery Father. We support you with our prayer and love and sacrifices.


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