Logs:The New Parishioner

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The New Parishioner
Dramatis Personae

Sister Cándida, Donnachaidh

2 October, 2015

The pious Officer Lleu Donnachaidh, a newcomer to Fallcoast, visits Mary, Star of the Sea Church and prays with Sister Cándida a Marian Devotion to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, the guardian of Fallcoast.


Mary, Star of the Sea Church Sanctuary

Logfile from Fallcoast Log opened 02/10/2015 - 22:47:42

=====> Sanctuary - Mary, Star of the Sea Church - Fallcoast <=====

The church is laid out according to the classic cross floor-plan. The nave is divided from the aisles on either side by a series of pointed arches, up to where the altar sits under the crossing. The southern transept is blocked off by an elaborately decorated iron screen, the church's pipe organ visible behind it. The northern is mostly filled with a little chapel, divided by a carved wood screen, and doors leading to the sacristy and out to the churchyard. The whole space is intricately decorated, from the pattern of the tile floor, mosaics on the walls, to the blue ceiling with its pattern of gilt stars. The pews are heavy dark wood, elaborately carved.

Most of the imagery depicts incidents from the life of Christ and of the Virgin. The mosaics set between the elaborate stained glass windows are the Stations of the Cross, with memorials to deceased parishioners above and below them. The windows themselves were deliberately designed in blue and green tones, so the whole space is filled with an almost aquatic light on bright days. The great east window is almost entirely blue, save for a compass rose of white and yellow glass in the center. The design is stylized, with a rippling pattern that makes it look as if the blue mantle of the Virgin is rising from the waves themselves. She smiles down benignly on the little ships that make up the window's lower border.

Evening some hours after dark on this rainy night finds an officer of the law walking through the church. He's fairly tall, about 6'3" or a bit more with his boots on and dressed head to toe in black. Donnachaidh has removed his cover, the hat tucked under his arm. A black jacket is worn over his upper body with a small FPD patch. His head is shorn more or less bald but with stubble that matches his face as he looks around, taking in the details of the church. He walks quietly and stops to look up at the walls, viewing the mosaics since there isn't light passing in through the stained glass windows at this hour. The officer is damp and has clearly been out in the rain for a little while.

A moderately tall male standing at 6'3" before he pulls his boots on in the morning. Lleu is around 220 lbs, fit and athletic in build with fair skin reasonably tanned by the sun. He has brown eyes, a broad jaw that is often but not always stubbled, and sandy blond hair that is kept buzzed very short against his skull. Broad shoulders taper to lean hips with average length legs. His hands are calloused yet fairly long fingered, not too thick. He has a tendency to direct eye contact, good posture, and keeps his baritone low with a faint Southern flavour to his words.

On duty he wears the Fallcoast Police Department's uniform - black shirt and slacks, long or short sleeved according to the weather with cover (hat). A Patrol Officer's arm patch is balanced with smaller rank patches and collar pins. In cool weather, or if he's riding the motorcycle, he'll wear a black jacket marked with the FPD insignia and black boots. A heavy duty belt carries his side arm, handcuffs case, taser, and various other accessories.

Sister Cándida is alone, going back and forth carrying things into the sacristy. She emerges to find the enormous police officer standing in the basilica admiring the impressive mosaics. She smiles broadly and approaches him. She says, "Deh Lamentashone of deh Vir-hen," referring to the scene depicted in the mosaic. "Eet depeects John deh Apostle tryeeng to console deh Blessed Mothair at deh Crucifeekshone."

The fella turns his head to look at her as she comes up and offers her a smile. It takes Donnachaidh a second or two to follow what she is saying. "I'm familiar with the Stations of the Cross, thank you. I'm Catholic." He glances up at what he'd been looking at, then back to her keeping his baritone low, "I'm new in town. Thought it prudent I stop by and see the church." Lest she be alarmed, he adds low, "I'm off duty, didn't come in armed, Sister. May I ask your name?" Even a cop can be respectful.

When Sister Cándida finally arrives at Officer Donnachaidh's side, the height difference between the two of them is starkly emphasized, as she stands more than a foot shorter than he! She looks up‚Ķway up at him, and continues to smile warmly and welcomingly. "I am Seestair Sister Cándida," she answers, and refers back to the mosaic, "Deeply mooveeng, no?. Baht," she adds, taking him gently by the arm and turning him 180 degrees to direct his attention to the mosaic on the opposing wall, "Dees hjwan ees my favorait: 'La Pietà,' oreegeenally a scolp-chair by Michelangelo een de late fifteend centory." Her smile fades as she raises her hand to her heart and stares at it. She has to close her eyes for a moment as she gulps at the sight of the scene depicted. Her eyes almost turn glassy beneath her furrowed brow. "Eet deepeects deh Blessed Mothair hjoldeeng deh boh-dee awf Jesùs een hjair arms. Doh goo see deh deefairence een hjair esspreshone? She ees steel een soach pain as een deh previous eemage -- yet hjair face shows soach saintly serenity." Sister Cándida gets visibly choked up as she stares at the mosaic. She takes a minute to blink away her nascent tears and shakes off the emotion. She takes a breath and looks back up at Donnachaidh, letting her broad, warm smile shine up at him again. "Hjwhat breengs joo hjere awn soach a night, offeesair? Joo coam to wairsheep, or ees dees een rregairds to deh attempted grave rrobairee?"

Her attempt to turn him gets his arm to yield but his body at first to stay until he realizes what she desires. Donnachaidh then moves easily enough to see what it is she wishes to direct his attention to. Lleu can easily remember what the sculpture looks like that the mosaic mimics, or vice versa, and gives a faint nod. He listens even though he knows the story and then glances at her when she looks genuinely upset. Lleu cocks his head at her and moves his arm to lightly touch her shoulder, uncertain if she requires some comfort in her distress. And then it's as if a cloud passes away and the sun shines once more through her smile.

Closely he studies her young face before whatever had been on the edge of his tongue is slips away unspoken. Lleu blinks, "Grave Robbery?" His brows furrow faintly, "I just arrived in Fallcoast. Hadn't heard about a grave robbery, Sister Cándida." No, he probably didn't quite say her name correctly. "I came by to see the church, find out when services were to be held and what upcoming events might be posted."

Sister Cándida nods, "Ahh," she says, smiling. "Jes, hjere!" she says, leading him by the arm to the back of the basilica, where a wooden table stands, covered in neat rows and colums of piles of colored paper. She reaches into the green stack, and takes the top sheet, handing it to the officer. It is a seventeen by eleven inch sheet of paper folded in half to form an 8 1/2" by 11" newsletter captioned "The Star Herald" containing parish news and information. She directs Donnachaidh to the back side of the back page, showing a list of events, including the daily Mass schedule and social events such as the Fallcoast Fish Fry tomorrow night. "Joo like feesh?" she asks, smiling up at him.

Donnachaidh dutifully comes and though it's a bit strange to be pulled by the arm, it might also amuse him, she being so tiny. The pamphlet is accepted, "This is excellant, thank you." Followed at once by, "Yes, Sister. I don't eat fried foods as a rule but I can make an exception." And to make a joke, he adds low, "But today's Friday, not tomorow." Fridays are for fish! Haha, does she get it? Ehem. His right hand is offered to her, "Name's Lleu Donnachaidh. I suppose you'll be seeing me - at least on Sundays for services." Maybe not so much daily. "Who's the Priest here?"

"Ah, wondairful!" she responds, and laughs at the reference to fish on Friday. "Deh pastor ees Monsignor Coudrin, baht we hjave many priests here. Onfortunaitly, dere are none hjere now to admeeneestair deh sacremaint awf Confession." She points to the line on the newsletter showing the Confession schedule and says what is printed on the sheet, "Baht tomorrow, Fathair Otto weel be hjere aht tain a.m. to hjear Confession." She smiles and says, "Een deh meantime, would joo like to pray a novena weeth me hjere now?"

The officer gives a nod, "I don't really have anything I need to confess. I've been far too busy to have time to sin lately, but I'm sure I'll find ways to make up for it, Sister." Lleu gives her a wink and notes the times, then folds it to slip the pamphlet into his jacket. Nonetheless he's a fella who does /go/ to confession sometimes. "I'll be pleased to meet Father Coudrin, thank you." The last part takes him aback slightly, but Lleu then nods, "I'm ... not always the most devout of Catholics, Sister. I'd be honored to share novena with you." If she will but lead, Donnachaidh will come with her to where she desires to pray. In going, he removes his jacket to lay it and his cover aside. His shirt's short sleeves bares his right forearm that is enwrapped with a stylized Celtic tattoo pattern though his other arm is undecorated but for the lower edge of his USMC tat on his upper left arm.

Sister Cándida quotes Jeremiah, Chapter 15, Verse 19, in response, "Derefore, says deh LORD, 'Eef joo retairrn, dain I weel restore joo.'" She smiles and leads Donnachaidh to the hassocks at the chancel, just before the altar. She kneels, and waits for him to do the same. She folds her hands in prayer, taking in them the crucifix of her rosary, tied to her cincture, as she does. She bows her head in prayer, and begins reciting the Marian Devotion to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, under whose guidance and protection the Vatican has declared Fallcoast. She begins, "Lord, hjave maircy, Chraist hjave marcy, Graciously hjear aws, God deh Fathair awf heaven"

Donnachaidh leaves his things and comes with Sister Cándida and moes a hand to cross himself before he kneels with her before the altar, tipping his head down slightly. It's been a long time since he came to church to pray outside of Sunday services. He's heard a few of the Marian devotions but he's doesn't know them by heart. So he quietly repeats after her, "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Graciously hear us, God the Father of Heaven..." Wouldn't Lleu's mother be pleased if she knew he was in church somewhere right now.

Sister Cándida continues, "God deh Son, Rredeemair awf deh wairld, hjave maircy. God deh Hjoly Speereet, hjave maricy awn. Hjoly Treeneetee, one God, hjave maircy.

"Holy Mary, Mothair awf God, Veer-jain awf veer-jains, Mothair awf Christ and awf deh Chairch, Mothair awf Divine Grace, most pure, most chaste ond inviolate, undefiled, most amiable ond admeerable, Mothair awf good counsail, Mothair awf our Creator ond Savior, Veer-jain most prudent, most venerable, most renowned, most powairful, most mair-see-ful, most faithful, Mirror awf Justice, Seat awf Weesdom, Cause awf our joy, Speereetual vessel, Vessel awf honor, Seengular Vessel awf devotion, Meesteecal Rrose, Towair awf Daveed, Towair awf ivory, House of gold, Ark awf deh covenant, Gate awf Hjeaven, Morneeng Star, Health awf deh seeck, Refuge awf deh seenairs, Comfortair awf deh afflicted, Hjelp awf Chreestians, Queen awf Angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, marteers, confessors, veer-jains ond oll saints, Queen conceived weethout oree-jenal seen, Queen assumed eento Hjeaven, Queen awf deh most hjoly Rrosary, Queen awf families, Queen awf peace.

"Lamb awf God, Joo take away deh seens awf deh wairld; Spare os, O Lord; Graciously hjear os; Hjave maircy awn os.

"Pray for os, O Hjoly Mothair awf God, dat we may be made worthy awf deh promeeses awf Christ.

"Grant, we baig joo, O Lord God, dat we jor sairvants may enjoy lasting hjealth awf mind ond body, ond by deh glorious intaircession awf deh Blessed Mary, evair Veer-jain, be delivaired from present sorrow ond entair eento deh joy of etairnal hjappeeness, drew Christ our Lord, Amen."

Mostly he sits quietly and listens to what she says, listening carefully but he only speaks if he remembers some part he's supposed to speak, otherwise Donnachaidh remains silent and lets Sister Cándida lead the prayer. Likely enough his mind wanders to fragments of memory of past services and prayers, and reasons he might have come to church desiring to pray for some particular reason. At the end he also murmurs, "Amen." She's got him to thinking about something for Lleu continues to stay put kneeling with her and maybe adds a quiet, private prayer before he'll move to stand.

"I should be heading out, Sister. I thank you for your time and efforts. I need to be finding a place to stay, but I'll try to make it back on Sunday, maybe for the fish fry too unless I have to work."

Sister Cándida crosses herself and stands before looking up at Donnachaidh and giving him, once again, her broad, warm smile. She nods, "Jes! Dank joo fair cawming ond prayeeng weeth me!" She rests her hand on his forearm and says, "I hjope joo can join aws tomorrow eveneeng. Othairwise, I shall see joo awn Sone-day. Welcome to Foulcoast, ond to deh pareesh." A twinkle glimmers in her eye as she sees Officer Donnachaidh off.

Her accent takes some getting used to but he can understand everything she's said if he pays attention. She has been very kind to him. Donnachaidh smiles, "Thank you for having me, Sister." The way she says 'Fallcoast' sounds a lot like she said 'Foulcoast' and makes Lleu look a /bit/ more closely at her in surprise, but surely that was his imagination or just her accent, yes? So he chooses to ignore it, "I'll try not to be a stranger." His jacket and his uniform cover he recovers and shrugs on the jacket. Of course he doesn't put the hat on while still indoors, "I bid you a good night." Lleu gives his respects to the altar and then heads out of the church and back out into the rain. He's going to need to find a place to stay.