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  • Writer's pictureSt. Joseph Parish

Practicing to be Paul, Vol. I

As Fr. Paul has emailed the rectory to keep us abreast of his new life, I thought I’d publish them for all to see (with his permission, of course), so here’s the one he sent a couple of weeks ago.Well, it has finally happened, I guess you could say. I have taken up residence here in the townhouse with Marcia Heiman, the landlady, amid some confusion. I thought I had made it fairly clear to her that I had to be out of the rectory and in my new digs on 15 August. For some reason that is not at all what she understood. So here I sit in my room amid her confusion as well as mine. What a mess. But at least I am here. This is, I suppose, a typical townhouse, one room wide and three stories tall. Every time I have moved since becoming a pastor in 1993 I have moved to smaller and smaller residences. Ware was a beautiful Queen Anne style Victorian, complete with a tower/turret in the middle, three floors tall and 23 or so rooms. Next was Pittsfield, a 16 room behemoth of an institutional building. Shelburne Falls was a nice little 8 room house. Now I am in ONE room in this 19th century townhouse, where I will be living with 2 Moslems, a Jew, and me, the Catholic. It really sounds like the beginning of some bad joke. And from living alone for almost 20 years to living with these three people. Oy. I have also been told that because the others keep kosher/halal somewhat, no pork or shellfish in the house. Not a problem. I can go to a restaurant somewhere if I need shellfish, which I used to do anyway, or to have pork (I really miss bacon at breakfast now!!). On 28 August new student orientation begins, and classes the day after Labor Day. Orientation won’t be too bad, except for on e day that starts at 8 freaking o’clock in the morning, and you all pretty much know how much I love early morning. Ye gads….the only sort of bright spot in all this is that the commute by bus is only about 15 or 20 minutes, and the bus is two blocks away, a short, five minute walk. If I decide to walk home on nice days, its less than 2 miles, so very doable with the right footwear.  Financially, I will be like every other grad student, looking for work and trying hard NOT to spend money. That is going to be the hard part. Rent and utilities are going to be about $900 or so a month, and then groceries and other “incidental” expenses on top of that, plus the rent for the two storage units (about $200 a month) and who knows what all else. You all know these things way more than I do, so yeah, you can snicker about now I know how the other half lives. Don’t forget, though, that  up till now I did try to help balance a parish budget of well over $100,000 a year. Notice I said “Help” since I was part of a team to do this in the three parishes. Oh, and did I mention that my room is on the THIRD floor?? Yup, it is. So once I get up here I am not likely to go downstairs and up too often. I did take a nice long walk around the neighborhood this morning after a late breakfast. I must have walked around for over a half hour. Since there are no real hills it was a relaxing walk. I may have to learn Portuguese, since a lot of people here are Brazilian. While I was sitting in the Dunkin Donuts this morning, reading on my Kindle (part of my going away gift from the parish) and eavesdropping, I mean listening to various conversations, most of it was in Brazilian Portuguese. A number of the shops and restaurants around here also are Brazilian, and a good number of Far Eastern places including Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese (yes, they make the distinction), and Korean. There are also a couple called Machu Pichu, Peruvian of course, so I am going to have to check these out to be sure. So, that’s it for now, I suppose. After classes get going I will write again to let you know jsut how much trouble I can get into and how quickly I can do it. (Fr) Paul PS From now on I will be signing things Paul, as I am on a leave of absence. No, I don’t have any plans to leave the priesthood, so don’t even think about it. I just want people to get used to knowing me “as I really am” at the moment, a grad student in a music school. TTFN

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