Father Luke Meiner (Rector, Saint Thomas, Saint Mary’s Basilica)

Father Luke walked the grounds of Saint Mary’s Basilica, the great church on Hennepin Avenue in Saint Anthony; it was the very first Basilica to be built in the United States, following the old Roman design.

It was his habit to the trim of the hedges, the flower beds and the lawns. He picked up and gathered stray bits of trash, fallen branches and other debris. There was always something out of order.    

He took what he could carry to a receptacle and informed the grounds keeper of the things he could not.

Father Luke looked over the windows and the foundations of the granite building, walking slowly as he smoked his Pall Malls. It was a kind of mediation, caretaking for the property just as Adam had been charged to care for the garden, or so he told himself.

He was late today and feeling somewhat restless in the oppressive Autumn heat.

He had been detained by one of the sisters who had become frantic about a bat that had found its way into the sanctuary, the entire staff had to come together to capture it. After it had been netted the sister insisted that they let the creature go free.

Father Luke had to come to her aid when the groundskeepers argued with her, insisting that it should destroyed because it was pest.

She had her way.

Father Luke looked up from his mediation in time to see one of his parishioners driving past the church in his convertible, with the top down, a young man who Luke had been mentoring for the past several years, a boy named Johnny Holiday who had been going through a spate of trouble recently, drinking, suspended from the University where Father Luke served as Rector.

Johnny did not appear to notice Luke as he drove past, he had his eyes on the road, and was moving straight ahead.

He followed the car with his eyes as he took a right turn past parade field and went up the winding hill of Waverly Place, Luke had to wonder what business was drawing Johnny up the Waverly Place and the ridge people called The Devil’s Spine.