A Joyous Weekend

So this past Saturday, I got invited out to a home on Vashon Island for an interesting and beautiful event. A young couple who had made their way through a number of Protestant traditions and recently become Catholic decided to host an event at their home in which various folks from Catholic and Evangelical traditions came together and talk about “What is Church?: A Conversation Among Family” They have a beautiful piece of property nestled out in the woods. The day was lovely, so they cooked a big meal outside (I had missed breakfast and the smell was heavenly: fresh flat bread with olive oil and salt and big ol’ haunches of pork roasting on a spit. Yum!)

My pal Marcus Daly (whose work people are dying to get into) met me at the dock, took me back to his place to meet the fambly and then we all made the haj over to the Sheards, who were throwing the shindig.

It was really a splendid time. People from different Christian traditions who spoke to and about each other with real affection. Lots of kids running around. Good food. And instead of talking about sports and the weather, we had an actual conversation about the things that really matter. They asked me to come give a talk about Sacred Tradition (essentially a boiled-down summary of By What Authority?) and another fellow named Mike (I didn’t catch his last name) gave a talk about his experience as an Evangelical. He was an Israelite in whom there is no guile and I took a shine to him immediately. Lovely man. Afterwards, I wound up talking to a fellow for maybe 45 minutes. He has a lot of questions about Marian stuff and Purgatory, so I did my best to field them (unfortunately, Mary, Mother of the Son is out of print at present or I would have just handed him that. Pray I can get it back in print, please).

Anyway, the day was a huge success and the Sheards, who put it on, were very happy, as was I. They are already mulling another such adventure. I think Catholics and Evangelicals who like each other should try the same thing. It was *really* wonderful hearing people connecting at such a real level without the assistance of TV or video games to substitute for actual conversation.

Give it a whack! All you really need is food, a common prayer (the Lord’s prayer works fine) and a some topic to discuss–not fight over–in an atmosphere of love and respect. Well done, Sheards and Dalys!

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  • thomas tucker

    Ah Hah! Eating and socializing with Protestants! How low will you and Cardinal Dolan sink, Mr. Shea? We knew you were both heretics in Catholic sheep clothing all along.
    We have our Lidless Eye on you!

  • Puck

    So good. So important.

  • Hurrah for joy, Mark!

    Maybe it would be a good detox for you to unplug from politics and current events for a bit. Maybe for a long bit. Maybe from the blog entirely, for that matter.

    (This is not, by the way, some Plot to undermine the Pox-On-Both-Their-Houses faction of the infinitely fractal American Catholicism, but out of concern for your blood pressure, your temperament, and your soul.)

    • Mark Shea

      No can do. My family needs to eat. They’re funny that way. But I will endeavor to do better.

  • Brennan

    I would like to see the series on Mary made available on the Kindle and/or iBooks. I think a lot of people are buying in that format these days and maybe it would be easier to get that done rather than a reprinting. Plus if someone is interested in the book you can tell them they can just download it.

  • B.E. Ward

    Not sure if you guys are interested in expanding your circle a bit, but if you continue the Vashon Gatherings, you might want to consider inviting Abbot Tryphon of the Orthodox monastery on the island. From what I can tell, he digs the opportunity to talk with non-Orthodox Christians.


    • Great idea, Father Tryphon is a wonderful man!

  • Sean O

    The Sheards. They sound like chips off the ol’ Shea block.