A path to understanding
For the first time, members of the Good Shepherd Parish of Martha's Vineyard celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi this year as it is celebrated in Brazil, where the feast is a national holiday.
About 40 volunteers created a traditional path of liturgical art fashioned from organic materials around the St. Augustine's Church parking lot in Vineyard Haven. After an 11 am mass conducted in Portuguese on Sunday, father Messias Albuquerque led a procession along the colorful walkway.
"I haven't seen much that would top this for cross-cultural understanding; it really brought a whole bunch of people together," said deacon Karl Buder. "People just didn't realize this kind of artistic talent and ability resided within our parish. There was a lot of participation this year; next year I think there will be a lot more."
The volunteers labored into the early hours of Sunday morning creating the path, aided by portable lights and strategically aimed auto headlights.
The path was made from bits of natural materials, including grass clippings, sawdust, sand, coffee grounds, egg shells, flowers, and leaves, saved for months by the parishioners.
Instead of washing out the path, a drenching overnight rain seemed to intensify the colors. As the sun emerged from behind clouds at mid-morning, dozens of passersby stopped to see the spectacle and take photographs. Word spread in Vineyard Haven, as neighbor alerted neighbor to walk over and be surprised.
Mr. Buder summed up the reaction of many who viewed the path, or participated in making it. "It was really cool," he said.