While bicycling around Woodbury yesterday, I rode past a townhouse that brought back some special memories of walking on sacred ground. For a few years former St Pascal’s parishioner, Julie Lehr, would ask me to visit Fran Mikesh and bring him Eucharist when she would be out of town. Over those years I looked forward to when Julie would be out of town and I would get to visit and pray with Fran. He was a very gentle and wonderful man of deep, deep faith.
Fran was always so gracious and we would talk for a bit when I first arrived and over the years I learned about his time in the war as a B17 pilot, his family, and work at the Post Office. Most important of all these to Fran was his family and their spiritual health. He would always give me a pile of Catholic greeting cards he had received in the mail from the many organizations he supported. To know Fran for any period of time was to know his wife of many years, Joyce. I never met Joyce, but based on my visits with Fran, it was apparent that she was somebody very special and I wish I had known her. You could tell their marriage was very sacred and sacramental reflecting God’s love in the world.
When it came time for us to read the weekend scriptures, pray, and for Fran to receive the Eucharist we would move to the dining room table which was set up with candles, religious icons/statues, and prayer books. He would want me to read from his prayer book for bringing Eucharist to the homebound. It was an older translation than the current book, and it took me a few visits to realize that it was the same prayer book Fran had used for years when he would bring home the Eucharist to Joyce when she could no longer attend church in person. I then also realized that this table was where they had prayed together, read scripture, and shared the Eucharist. Every time that Fran and I would read scripture and pray together I could really feel that I was invited into a special place and very sacred ground. I still get tears in my eyes remembering those moments. Every time that Fran would receive the Eucharist he would have tears in his eyes, and I am sure that it was from remembering the close and special faith he and Joyce shared for so many years.
It has been 5 years since Fran went to be with the Lord and his beloved Joyce. As is true so many times in ministry, you get way more than you give. My visits and times with Fran gave me so many blessings that continue to this day and will continue for the rest of my life. It is something very special when you are privileged to walk on sacred ground with another.
Peace, love, and blessings