For all of the ills of Islington, Blessed Sacrament Parish is a gem among the rough. It is supposedly a half mile north of King’s Cross though I would question the abilities of the person who measured. *ahem* I did manage to twist my foot on the way but I swear it is much farther than a half mile.
Once I found the right street, I turned the wrong way. No, I have zero sense of direction. As I was hobbling along – looking rather worse for the wear at this point and very much a foreigner – I saw a teenage boy in sweats and a hoodie coming my way in this not-so-fabulous neighborhood. Now, I heard a couple of my friends’ voices in my head warning me of unknown teenage boys in hoodies but I looked at his face. He walked with his head bent but you just get a sense for people, you know? He looked like a perfectly nice boy and I saw no reason to be wary of him. I asked him if he knew my destination and I am so glad I did. As it turns out, he was heading to the very same Mass himself. This surprised me a bit because he was walking there alone and was clearly old enough to skip out if he so chose. He is definitely a better youth than I was. Even more impressive, we get there and he was one of the altar boys. I bragged on him a bit to the Sister there and explained that in the American Midwest, we hug. He was gracious enough to indulge me. As his head was still bent and by then I had thoroughly embarrassed him, I wasn’t able to catch his name. I doubt he will ever see this but if he does, I hope he knows how grateful I am for his assistance in saving my Sunday morning.
After a bit another alter boy came in; also walking, also alone it seemed, and also old enough to skip out if he so chose. I don’t know why the boys were on their own but I pray their families are able to join them soon. Whatever Father and the others in the parish are doing, they are doing it right.