Good news on all sides

#1
7-th of April 1792, early evening



In theory, Fra'Agustin should have been in retreat until the moment of the ordination. In practice, it was Easter Eve and he had been in retreat since the last Mass on Friday vespers. On Easter Saturday, there was no Mass, and he could meditate and pray in peace. The bells were silent too until notifying the world about Easter Miracle. But Easter was the most important celebration of the liturgical year, more important than Christmas, so it should be prepared accordingly, and his contribution was needed.

The priestly clothes to be put on during the ordination tonight were ready in his room. And once he got out of the retreat, ready to perform his duties, first he calmed down his anxiety and emotions by a visit to the animal yard and some cuddling time with the wolfie, growing every week bigger and now not as much looking like a fuzzy ball anymore, but still equally friendly and lovable. Afterwards, he asked Giuseppe what exactly he needed help with, and he was there to arrange the place where the first part of the Easter Mass would be held, in open air, before the Holy Light came.

One of the novices told him, at a certain moment, that a man waited for him, and he went to see who might the man be.
word count: 229

Re: Good news on all sides

#2
”Colomba” had just anchored a few hours ago. Once the unloading finished, Fernand took a gondola to San Giorgio Maggiore. He wanted to speak to Fra’Agustin before Easter, while still quiet around, because he understood what hassle was for a man of God with all the holidays. As a gift from France, he had brought him a bottle of good Mourvèdre wine.

There were plenty of things to be grateful for and to thank God for this Easter, first and foremost being the fact that his beloved Margareta had started recovering. Coming back to life was a slow process, but surrounded by everyone's love and care on the ship, she had made huge progresses, even if she couldn’t walk yet, given that some bones needed more time to heal properly.

This time, he was alone. The bells were silent as they should on Easter Saturday. In his town, people said the bells were gone to Rome since Friday after the procession, to bring Easter light. He asked a novice about Fra’Agustin, and he was happy to see his friend arriving.

”Good evening. Glad to be welcomed by a friendly face. We have returned today, and I came to you with greetings from France,” he said, handing him the bottle. "How are you and how is your puppy?"

These were questions to be asked in full hearing of anyone around.
word count: 234

Re: Good news on all sides

#3
Agustin smiled to him.

”Glad you are back, and thank you for the special greetings from your homeland,” he replied promptly. ”It will be an honour to open it on a feast day.”

He was allowed to enjoy, in moderation, the blood of Christ.

”I am well, thank you. I’ll be ordained tonight and you are invited to assist to the ceremony if you like it. How are you and how is your lady?” he further asked. ”As for the puppy, she is growing and she is happy chasing the poultry around. She is just chasing them to play, not attempting to hunt them, unlike other dogs I had heard about,” he clarified. ”If you like puppies, I can show her to you.”

There were moments when he seemed so childish, so young, and moments when his philosophy of life, and the amount of things he had read about and learnt, made him seem older than he was. But also today was a special day, when he was more nervous and more euphoric than usual at the same time.
word count: 180

Re: Good news on all sides

#4
Fernand smiled back, appreciating silently the thanks. At the news about the ordination he made big eyes.

”Congratulations, Padre! This is wonderful news. I wish you happiness, strength and everything else you need. Of course I’ll stay for you at the whole ceremony, looking forward to receiving your priestly blessing. I have never seen an ordination ceremony before.”

Being there for the young priest was the proof of his friendship, in Fernand’s opinion, even if he knew Margareta would get tired way sooner and she would need to be sent back to the ship. But Fantin and Rino wouldn’t mind helping their old acquaintance. He replied at the priest’s questions too:

”I am well, thank you. The trip had been uneventful, and I am glad for this. I don’t think Margareta would have resisted in facing a storm right now. And we had passengers – a lady who had been seasick all the voyage, even if the seas were rather calm. As for Margareta, she is slowly recovering. It isn’t easy, she is still weak and she can’t walk yet, due to some broken bones which need more time mending. But I’ll bring her here to introduce her to you, a bit later tonight. I would like a priest to read her the prayers for the sick, for a quick recovery. She is also fighting nightmares and terrors… but I guess this was to be expected too. Fortunately her husband won’t disturb us anymore. She is a widow. He got killed a week ago, the other man being in self defense. I have learnt it today and I admit it is a relief for both of us. He was really vicious.”

Speaking about death and all, his mind returned to prayers and the like.

”I have done the novena as you told me. Now I would like to pay for a mass for the rest of Niccolo Pisani’s soul, not to come to haunt us. Do I need to make a novena for this too? I think Margareta, who is still very afraid of him, might appreciate it.”
word count: 357

Re: Good news on all sides

#5
Agustin blushed at the heartfelt congratulations, which were feeding his already installed nervousness. Fernand sounded enthusiastic for him, and this was something rare. He cherished this sailor's honesty. He listened to the travel stories as well.

”I cannot blame her. Maybe I would be seasick too. I have never travelled by sea,” he admitted.

He was glad that the sailor's lover was recovering. He had felt sorry for her and revolted by such a husband who was against all Scripture norms.

”It will be my pleasure to meet the lady of your heart. I think your idea is wise. I will introduce her to Padre Giuseppe, the same who took your confession before you left. And see? God favours you, and the villain took his punishment. Sometimes it comes quicker, sometimes after a longer while, but the wrongdoers are punished both in this life and at the final Judgment.”

He had a few other thoughts too, but hesitated to tell them first, curious what Fernand had further to say. And he turned to the religious advice Agustin had given him before leaving.

”I have prayed the novena for you too. Its success is a reason to rejoice. And I agree with you that praying for the wrongdoer’s soul is the commendable, Christian way to act. Surely you do not need a novena for him. Just pay for seven masses, in seven weeks, then mention him at the mass on All Saints Day. And after the last mass of these seven, you may marry your beloved,” he said with a warm tone.

Again, a pencil and a piece of paper appeared from his pockets to note the name Niccolo at the funeral mass and the day when he received the request to pray for him. Nobody could say that Agustin was not organized. After putting back the paper in his pocket, Agustin embraced Fernand.

”It is wonderful to hear good news from someone, Fernand. I wish you two all the happiness in the world, and yes, I want to meet her when you can bring her here.”

Of course Fernand could marry after a minimum mourning period. When a husband was not anymore in their path, they had this wonderful opportunity. Agustin wanted to be the one to officiate their wedding.
word count: 383

Re: Good news on all sides

#6
Fernand nodded. If he had never travelled by sea, it was possible.

"I'd offer you a shot of sambucca and you'd forget about seasickness. This is the usual remedy to settle your stomach," he replied promptly.

Agustin knew exactly what was to be done for Margareta. And he was right. There was a divine judgment. This time, it had really worked.

"Thank you. I'll return soon, with her in my arms. And you are right. Just that sometimes the punishment comes too late. Not in this case, though. I was saying in general."

He was praised for acting in the Christian way. Fernand blushed, as being praised by a priest meant something. And it was good to focus his own prayers on Margareta's recovery. He sought the pouch of money, and promptly gave Agustin a decent amount for the masses to happen.

"I hope this is enough. I'll count seven weeks on the Captain's calendar, then we'll discuss again," he said, not fully admitting to Agustin that he had a slight problem with Maths, so he needed the calendar, not being able to calculate without it seven weeks.

Of course he wanted to marry Margareta. He didn't need the priest's encouragement, only his time for publishing the banns and officiating the ceremony when the time would come. Until then, he could be happy and wait for the appropriate moment to propose to her. Since today she had just learnt that she was a widow, he had to wait decently, hadn't he?
word count: 261

Re: Good news on all sides

#7
Agustin snickered when hearing about sambucca. He wasn’t fond of that flavour, but he knew that anis settled the stomach. He wanted to joke, but Fernand was more tired than happy and Agustin more nervous than anything else.

”You’ll find me here, making sure that the Easter Vigil Mass has everything needed to go flawless. When I think that the Patriarch will be officiating here, I almost feel like fainting,” he admitted in a whisper.

He put the money in his pocket, confirming:

”Your kind offer is well received and it will arrive to the coffers tomorrow,” he stated simply, ”since tonight I am too busy.”

The smile was a little puzzled when the sailor had mentioned the captain’s calendar.

”It means after the 20-th of May,” he clarified. ”How much after, it depends on your sea voyages. And I will always be looking forward to see you again and to hear your news. Honoured to celebrate your nuptial mass and to pray for your happiness,” he added. ”Then, and tonight, and tomorrow…”

He would wait for Fernand, and he would help his lady as much as he could. He was glad to receive good news on all sides.
- THE END -
word count: 205
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