by Frank Palmieri

As I turned off Germantown Avenue onto Price Street traveling up the hill towards old St. Vincent’s, hoping to see the last of the three new trusses that are part of the restoration work set into place, I saw the center of the roof splayed open and peeled back to accept the new structural member. It made me feel as if a surgery was taking place, an operation that would prolong the life of this wonderful and important oasis of hope and faith, which helps us to understand and cope with the joys as well as the hardships that have taken place throughout the ages. Communicated to us by the written words of the past. Spoken most eloquently in ways that are needed today, just as they were needed then.

As I stood in the frigid air I was taking it all in. This beautiful old church with the modern day equipment nestled in-between the trees. Inches away from the outstretched hands of a statue of St. Vincent, appearing as if he was giving his blessings of the work he was witnessing.

While waiting for the truss to be hoisted into place, I was having a conversation with a young man who was working at the site, speaking about how times and things have changed from when the church was built in 1851. He made a profound statement how through social media things today are based on opinions, not on facts. I spoke of how important it is to preserve our history, good or bad, which ties us together, and not to be in such a hurry to discard it, for it connects us to the past, the present, and the future, and once it is lost it can never be regained.

As the large solid wooden truss was raised into the air above the roof and slowly lowered into place, a lone seagull was circling above, observing the process that was taking place. It made me think of an image I had seen in a painting of a pure white bird hovering over an important religious event, bathing the area in soft warm rays of healing light. And just as depicted in the painting, through the guidance of a higher power, people could put aside their differences and bond together for the common good of all.

Read more of Frank’s writings in his book, Ordinary Writings by an Average Man.