The Gazebo

by Fr. Jeff

The reception was lovely. Hundreds of people danced to the music and enjoyed the food. The atmosphere was jovial. On the patio outside, people mingled amongst the tables and chairs.

It was fun to be a priest at the reception. I visited with old friends. I made new ones. But it’s the gazebo that stands out in my memory.

I had seen it earlier and never paid it any mind. Tucked away against the fence, it wasn’t intended as much more than decoration. There were just two old folding tables inside. The entrance was overgrown by weeds and misplaced greenery. But with a few strands of Christmas lights woven through its lattice work, it added a nice touch to the patio.

Standing in a circle after the reception was over, a priest-friend saw my purple stole in my jacket pocket: “Hey, I could have used that tonight! That gazebo makes a good confessional.” I smiled at the idea. “It would make a lovely place to encounter Divine Mercy,” I thought to myself.

She must have overheard our conversation. “Would you?” she asked softly. We made our way through the misplaced shrubbery and began with the sign of the cross.

It’s one of my greatest joys as a priest. Being able to spontaneously bring healing and forgiveness. Darkness replaces the light. Frowns are replaced with a smile. Despair gives way to hope.

The priest: confession anytime and anywhere. Pieces of decoration become sanctuaries of divine love, just like

the gazebo.