After mass, much to the bishop’s chagrin, Fr. Ferro found himself in a very direct conversation with Catie Jo. He was charmed by her energy and enthusiasm, but later on he realized she had also been very savvy and astute in the way she set the agenda for his “meeting” with her.
“I know we’ll want to talk,” she said, “but I think you have to talk it over with—”
“Your parents,” Fr. Ferro said.
“Well, yes, I guess them too, but I meant my spiritual person, Fr. Hugh.”
“You know what I mean,” she said., “the priest I discuss prayer and stuff with.”
He hadn’t known that she had a spiritual director and was also surprised by whom it was..
“You two know each other, don’t you?” she asked.
“Actually, we were in the seminary together and–.”
“–you used to be friends until he went through his “big bang.”
“His explosion, like you’re going through now, inside,” she said. “But don’t worry. He’s OK now.”
“And what about me?” he found himself asking.
“You’ll get there. There’s a few things I want to show you.”
Fr. Ferro found himself following her on a tour of the Cathedral windows. She explained to him that the windows were like a great cartoon. If you went from one colorful picture to another, you’d got chapters of the story of God and the Church from Adam and Eve, up to when the Cathedral was built. She showed him the first window of the story that began in the Garden of Eden. The Immaculate Conception hovered above Adam and Eve as they were being directed out of Garden of Eden by a white-bearded God the Father.
“I think that means that God was thinking about her and how she was going to help God make it all right,” she conjectured.
She walked Fr. Ferro up the north side of the Cathedral and into the north transept pointing out how busy God the Father was in all the Old Testament windows. She told him to notice that God the Father was shown in different poses trying to get people to listen.
“He reminds me of my parents trying to catch my brothers’ attention. He certainly looks like a hard-working guy. Of course, he isn’t a guy. It’s funny how people worry about that, when you have to figure God is just God. I think it used to make people feel better if they saw God the Father as Mr. Man-in-Charge.”
Fr. Ferro laughed at this. This laugh was noticed by the bishop, who now was pacing uncomfortably in the sacristy occasionally looking out to see what was happening. The bishop started to gasp for air and he wanted to sit down, but he couldn’t move as he watched Catie Jo lead Fr. Ferro to the center of the Church in front of the steps to the altar. The bishop wanted desperately to hear what she was saying.
“Now this is the important part, at least for right now,” she told Fr. Ferro with conviction. See these two big windows.”
She pointed to the window above the entrance to the north transept.
“That one is St. Helena finding the cross. My uncle who’s a Lutheran thinks that is the funniest thing he’s ever seen.”
She then turned to the window above the door to the south transept.
“That window shows her son getting a vision from Jesus that helped her son become the emperor. Some of the stuff that her son did next is what St. Helena is concerned about. She likes to think of it as her problem and I guess it’s ours too.”
Fr. Ferro had to ask her what she meant.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “My friends are always talking about this and when they start saying things in Latin and Greek I start getting sleepy. I just know that St. Helena finally wants to get rid of the junk her son left behind him. Since she loves him she says she has to tell him the truth. Everyone says he did a lot of good things, but even he agrees with his mother that the time has come for a big clean up. That’s when I get really tired, because although the clean up has already started, a lot of the cleaning has got to be done by you and me.”
Before Fr. Ferro could respond, she pulled him to the back of the Cathedral. She pointed to the last window on the south clearstory.
“Don’t worry. See how the story ends. It ends with children and with Jesus in their hearts.”
Fr. Ferro was startled to see that the final window in the series showed Pope Pius X giving the Eucharist to children dressed for First Communion. The boys were well-dressed and the girls wore white dresses. He had forgotten how recent it actually was since children had been able to receive communion regularly. He had just been walked through the journey of salvation history starting with the Fall of Adam and Eve and somehow it had ended up with the beauty and innocence of these children. Once again he wanted to ponder what he was experiencing, but Catie Jo didn’t give him time. She told him to look down at the window below the one with the children.
“This is my favorite window,” she said.
It was the window of the Pentecost with a beautiful picture of Mary surrounded by the apostles as the flames of the Holy Spirit descended on them.
“This window has something to do with why the bishop got so mad at me. I don’t think he wants to admit it, but he knows the Holy Spirit probably wouldn’t have shown up if Mary hadn’t been there.”
At this moment Fr. Ferro looked up the side aisle to see the bishop standing near the sacristy door shifting his weight from one leg to another.