By: I. V. Greco
Update: If you prefer HARDCOVER FORMAT, The Cross We Bear in now available in hardcover on Amazon.
Jonathon a Catholic priest, believes the rest of his life will be spent in the service of God as it had been for almost two decades. But unbeknownst to him, he has a teenage son he never knew about with his first, long ago love, Katelyn. In their youth they shared a contentious relationship, but wanting more, she betrayed him and ran off with the another man, never telling Jonathon of the child’s existence. Their lives go on separately until Katelyn, now widowed and in need of someone to help with her rebellious son, returns to her home town of Toronto where their paths cross again. She is the only one who knows the truth and worries the discovery of her secret will ruin her relationship with her family, friends and above all, her son J.J.
Here is a short excerpt of the reaction by Jonathon when he sees Katelyn, for the first time after many years, when she unexpectedly presents herself for Communion during a regular Sunday Mass.
The woman had a slight smile, almost a smirk, as she patiently waited with her hand lifted before him. But then that expression disappeared and was replaced with a look of alarm as she saw his face turn ashen and he seemed to be frozen. For a moment she feels that time has stopped. And he, in his shock, appears to have forgotten where he is and to finish what he was doing. A dreadful panic rises within her and she fears the worst – that she is not wanted there. Pleading with her eyes, she implores him to continue and complete the holy exchange. But he falters. The line he had been repeating over and over to many others before her, now came out as an inaudible slur of words, and before the “Amen” leaves her lips, he drops the wafer into her hand as if it had reverted back to common everyday bread, old and stale.
She felt the inquisitive eyes of the congregation burrowing into her back, like hundreds of sharp stones being thrown at her, in an attempt to shatter and break her open, and reveal why she had this perplexing effect on the priest. She moved swiftly in retreat, heading to a pew somewhere in the back of the church and she did this in a manner hoping to be as inconspicuous as possible. Hunched over slightly and keeping her head down so as not to meet the gaze of any of those curious invasive eyes. She finally reaches her seat and attempts to settle her rattled nerves by taking deep breaths. And slowly, a wave of relief does begin to wash over her. There in the far back, she felt herself safely hidden and lost amongst the faithful once more.
But Father Jonathon had remained motionless, suspended somewhere in the earlier days of his youth. Suddenly, the resonating clatter of the fallen chalice which had slipped from his hand, followed by dispersed gasps from some parishioners, brings him back from his stupor. As he looks around in bewilderment, two scurrying ushers come to the rescue and begin to pick up the Body of Christ – the holy wafers which were now scattered around the floor. Reverence for those holy bits seemed to go out the stained glass windows, as they unceremoniously put them back in the chalice and then one of the ushers, hands the chalice back to Father Jonathon who accepts it with a slight apologetic nod…
The Cross We Bear by I. V. Greco is available on Amazon in e-book and print formats.