Mrs. Morelli Visits Her Son

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Father Morelli was on his way down from the loft when Sister Caterina told him that his mother was there to see him. “My mother?”

“Yes, Father Morelli. She’s in the office.”

Did he detect a note of censure in her voice? But, why should she have such a sentiment toward his mother? Maybe he imagined it. “Thank you, Sister Caterina.” He excused himself and headed for the office.

A woman stood at the window, looking out. She was wearing black and her hair and had a mass of unruly reddish blondish curls. For a moment, he thought that Sister Caterina was mistaken about his mother being there. He was about to leave when the woman turned around and he gasped. “Mama?” he exclaimed.

She smiled. “Ciao, figlio mio.”

Now, he understood the reason for Sister Catarina’s odd demeanor when she announced that his mother was there. “Mama, what have you done with your hair?”

“I went to Gabriella yesterday for my usual trim and decided that I would color it. What do you think?” Using her fingers, she mussed up her hair.

“I’m not sure. Don’t you think it’s too bright for you?” It was a shocking change for him because all his life he had been used to seeing her with her brunette hair.

“It’s strawberry blonde. I like it. It’s a nice change.”

“I’m so used to your natural color.”

“I know but, you’ll get used to this one.”

“What does Papa think about it?”

“He hasn’t seen it. He’s in Naples visiting your aunt Marcellina.”

“I think he’s in for a shock.”

“He might like it, you never know.”

Father Morelli wasn’t at all convinced but he didn’t press the matter any further. “So, what brings you here today?”

“Can’t a mother visit her son without having a particular reason?”

“I guess so. It’s good to see you.”

“Yes, it has been a while. Are you eating well? You look a bit thin.”

“I’m eating well, Mama. I probably look thin because I’m wearing this cassock.”

“Do you still like being a priest?”

“Yes.”

“No regrets? No second thoughts?”

“No.”

“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to you being a priest.”

“I think a lot of people are still trying to get used to it.”

“Your father always imagined that you would take over running the restaurant when he retired.”

“I’ve never wanted to be in the restaurant business, Mama.”

“What made you decide to be a priest?”

“I was drawn to Church teachings and ‘all things Catholic’. I have a deep love for Jesus and the Church. A few people asked me if I ever thought of being a priest and said that they thought that I would make a good one. I wanted to live a life of virtue and prayer and to help others grow closer to Christ.”

“Couldn’t you have and do all of those things and still marry and have a family?”

“I suppose so, but God Himself put the desire in my heart to be a priest.”

“How do you know that it was God who put the desire in your heart? How do you know that He didn’t have other plans for you?”

“I saw the visible signs that I was being called to be a priest and I know that it was God’s desire for me. His plans were for me to care for His holy people by serving them as the Good Shepherd and by making a difference in their lives through my witness to Christ.”

Image © Masterfile

“I guess it’s what makes you happy and if being a priest does that, who am I to argue? Still, as your mother, I had high hopes that you would marry and have a family. I thought that was going to happen with Carla.”

“It was when I was dating her that I felt the calling to the priesthood very strongly and that’s why I wasn’t seeing much of her after a while.”

“The poor girl must have be very shocked when instead of proposing to her as expected, you joined the priesthood.”

“As I mentioned to Genet, Carla was very shocked but she’ll get over it.”

“It wouldn’t have worked out with her anyway because you didn’t love her.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I always suspected that there might have been another reason which prevented you from asking her to marry you.”

“What other reason could there have been?”

“Genet. I always felt that there was something between the two of you.”

“You’re wrong. We’ve always been just friends.”

“I seem to recall that you started dating Carla after Genet and Fabrizio started dating. Frankly, I don’t think they’re right for each other at all. She deserves better. Are they’re still dating?”

“I don’t know. Mama, I want make it very clear to you that my relationship with Carla had nothing whatsoever to do with them.”

“I still think that if Genet were Catholic and you hadn’t become a priest, things would have turned out very differently for the two of you. Fabrizio and Carla wouldn’t have even entered into the equation.”

“Mama, you’re mistaken. I ended my relationship with Carla because of my calling and Genet and I are and will always remain longtime friends.”

“The next time you speak to Genet, say hello for me and bring her to the restaurant one evening.”

“I will.”

“Good. Now, mio caro, let’s sit down and you tell me what a typical day for a priest is like.”

Sources: Raleigh Vocations; The Diocese of Harrisburg

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