A night on the town

March 16, 2013

The past week was rich with events that will remain forever etched in our memories. To watch the election of a pope, to experience from up close the general congregations- these are unforgettable moments. Similarly, I cannot forget Sciatica, my trusty and oh-so-cumbersome travel companion who followed me in all my travels.

I might as well confess it: he is really unbearable- but hey, I always end up getting used to his detestable presence, as you'd get used to the nose on your face.  

Still, with fellow priests from Montreal, we agree to meet at the Pontifical Canadian College to share a good meal. Can you believe it, Sciatica invites himself too... or rather imposes himself on me. He sticks to me like glue, that one!  

So the five of us set out, quite slowly, actually, because as usual, Sciatica is lagging. We have set our sights on a small, cozy restaurant where we have been in the past. Bad luck: there are no seats available before an hour. We continue searching. Same result at our second attempt. With, of course, Sciatica, who continues to complain. Our third try is the lucky one: a small restaurant where the owner welcomes us warmly and offers us a corner table near the door. We are delighted and even Sciatica seems happy. Finally, we tell ourselves, a night out with friends, alone and without bosses!  

The restaurant owner takes care of us quickly and we prepare to drink a toast to the health of Pope Francis, when, oh surprise! three clergymen appear. Our reaction is as immediate as it is automatic and spontaneous. In one motion, we rise to greet the Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Cardinal Ouellet, followed by the Archbishops of Montreal and Quebec City, Archbishop Lépine and Archbishop Lacroix. Our eyes turn towards the entrance in case they could be the vanguard of Pope Francis... How the heck did they find us? Hey, everything is possible in Rome. The "Canadiens" are here (with all due respect to the Archbishop of Quebec City). Thankfully, the restaurant owner gives them a table opposite ours, so they can talk in peace, but not without having first crossed through the crowd of stunned customers.  

We drink another toast, but this time it's to the health of our own bishops. Curiously, Sciatica was not overly impressed, he who never misses an opportunity to signal his presence in his very own delightful ways. On the way back to the Casa, I found myself concocting a plan to leave behind in Rome this incorrigible troublemaker. 

Richard Saint-Louis, d.p. 


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