Monday, 11 January 2010

Unexpected Correspondence.



Father Ignatius was enjoying breakfast when Father Donald came in holding a letter.

“Only one for you today … and it’s from the USA judging by the stamp.”

Father Ignatius frowned, “I don’t know anyone in the States …” he mumbled.

Father Donald chuckled as he poured himself a cup of tea. “Maybe it’s from Hollywood. They probably want to make a film about you …”

The older priest was not amused. He opened the letter and read:

“Dear Father Ignatius,

“You’d be surprised how long it took me to trace you down. I contacted almost every bishop in England. I hope this letter finally reaches you.

“I’m Johnny Nottingham. Do you remember me?”

Father Ignatius mumbled … “Johnny Nottingham …”

“What was that?” asked his fellow priest.

“Johnny Nottingham …” repeated Father Ignatius, “a young rascal I knew years ago when I first became a priest. He was always in trouble … I warned him that one day he’d end up in prison, or at the very least have a police record … eventually, he met up with a young girl named Florence and I married them … they left town soon afterwards in a hurry and I’ve never heard of them since …”

“What does he want?” asked Father Donald.

“You’ll never believe this … he emigrated to the States years ago and has become a successful businessman. He is still with Florence and will soon celebrate their Silver Wedding Anniversary … doesn’t time fly? He has invited me there … he insists I come … let me read this bit …

“I mean it Father. You have been a great influence on my life and we would really love to have you visit us for our celebration. All expenses paid. Just say the word and I’ll get the plane ticket rushed to you.”

“Sounds marvelous …” said Father Donald enthusiastically.

“No way … America is such a long way away … I’ll reply politely and decline.”

But Father Donald would not hear of it. He insisted his fellow priest took up the offer.

“It’s only for a week Ignatius,” he chuckled, “not enough time for me to sell your church and run away with the money … I promise you the church will still be here when you return …”

Father Donald can be quite persuasive when he puts his mind to it, and weeks later Father Ignatius was on his way to New York.

He was met at the airport by a chauffeur driven luxury car and was taken to one of the best hotels in the city. In his room there was a large basket of fruits welcoming him to New York signed by the Nottinghams.

That afternoon, the chauffeur took him to the Nottingham’s magnificent mansion where he met Johnny and Florence and their children and grand-children.

They looked after him all week and took him to many tourist places of interest, including a baseball game one evening.

“I never understood a thing about it,” joked the priest, “but I enjoyed it all the same”.

Towards the end of his stay, on a Saturday, Father Ignatius took part in the renewal of their marriage vows, together with their priest, in the church the Nottinghams regularly attended.

As an added surprise, which he knew nothing about, he was asked to baptize at the same time the Nottingham’s latest grand-child; named Ignatius after him.



On his way back on the plane, tears of gratitude welled up in his eyes as he remembered a life which started as if headed for disaster yet somehow, along the way, turned a reckless man into a successful Christian businessman.

“Praise you Lord,” he mumbled as he closed his eyes in prayer.

9 comments:

  1. Another beautiful story from "Father Ignatius!" Thanks for sharing your thoughts and words. I also just read your cat story on Father Chuck's blog and got a chuckle out of your observations. It's a joy to read your contributions.

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  2. Hello Lorraine,

    It's nice to see you visiting here. Thanx for taking the trouble to comment. You're very kind.

    I like Father Chuck's blog. I've put the address below in case some of our readers here wish to visit him. Perhaps he'll visit me one day.

    http://fatherchuck.com/

    God bless.

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  3. Hi there Victor, You really make Fr Ignatius come to life. Love the baby photo too!

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  4. What a story of Hope. It's never stated that the former rascal had a 'conversion experience', but it's evident in the story events.

    Your stories are a quiet witness but the message is loud and clear.
    Thanks again.

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  5. What a nice time Fr. Ignatius had! Loved it!

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  6. Hello Shadowlands, Maryellen and Jackie,

    It's so nice of you to comment here again and let me know what you thought of this story.

    There are times, by the grace of God, that people do have a change of heart, their road to Damascus as it were, and can turn a bad life or situation into a great one witnessing for Him.

    Thank you so much for your continued support and your kindness to me.

    God bless.

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  7. What a grand time for us all! I'd hope that he'd have an opportunity to return again! Surely, there would be some grand adventures! Cathy

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  8. Hi there Cathy and Daily Grace,

    I'm happy you enjoyed this story. I'll have to think up another one where Fr Ignatius visits your lovely country.

    Thank you so much for writing in.

    God bless you.

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God bless you.

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