Saturday, February 20, 2010



We hosted a meeting of all the Chaplain teams throughout Kosovo recently, and as part of the schedule, we took them on a field trip to the Church of the Black Madonna after lunch.  There were German, French, Czech, Ukranian, Polish, Swedish, Slovenian, Irish, Hungarian, Italian, and American Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants participating, though not all were able to make our little excursion.


Our Albanian-language interpreter, Mr A (on the left), translated for us into English.  The Pastor of the parish is flanked on his right by the Chaplain who oversees us all while we're here in Kosovo.  I practiced a bit of my German when speaking with him. He and I had led the group in Morning Prayer before lunch.

Mr A cajoled me into singing something a cappella once we were all in the church.  The lively acoustics make even my voice sound pretty good, though I did forget the words that began the last stanza, and more or less had to fake a couple of lines before finding my place again.  It's a terrible waste to lose one's mind....

However, the Pastor later asked if I might be able to leave my voice behind with him.


Only one of the Italian Chaplains could attend, and he could speak no English.  I've not really attempted to speak Italian in 28 years, so I was delighted to bump into our Italian-speaking Soldier at the DFAC as we all went in for lunch.  I introduced him to Don Pietro and his assistant (not pictured here), and they hit it off so well, I sort-of twisted the arm of my Soldier's NCO to allow me to take him with us for the afternoon.  

Boy, was I relieved!


Since it's Lent now, the statue of the Black Madonna is once again vested in violet, as she was during Advent.

There was a photo taken of all of us Chaplains, but not with my camera, so I don't have it for you.  However, I snapped a photo of some of the Chaplain Assistants (plus the Italian-speaking Soldier from my Battalion).  None of them is exactly small, but even still, SPC C manages to make them seem so.  
It's a comfort to have him around!


The view in one direction from the plaza outside the church building.  Idyllic, no?


The view from the plaza in front of the church, in a slightly different direction.  Not so idyllic, eh?  
(A rather grim reminder of the violence of a decade ago....)


As we walked up the hill on our way to the church, we passed by this wall.


We even had a visit from Tom Brady!  
"Ah, but I'm the good-looking one, don't you know" said he, in his thick Irish accent.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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