I’ve just run across, in a folder of birth, baptism, and confirmation certificates, the final issue of the school year of “The Annette,” for 1952, the year I graduated from St. Anne’s Catholic School in Beaumont, Texas. I’ve never had any desire to go back to Beaumont for a high school reunion, but I sure would like to see again those 37 kids I graduated with from St. Anne’s, some of whom I was with from the first through the eighth grade. Anyway, there is a page of “Predictions;” you know, who is going to be an accountant, a nun, an actress, a priest, a poet, a musician, and so on. Mine reads:
To Ronnie Hicks comes the shepherd’s crook–
You see, he’s a Bishop! Now will you look?
Well, that was never going to happen. While I probably had the same musings about clerical life as any boy in a parochial school, they were never serious. I know now what I might have sensed then, that I don’t have any sermons in me and definitely no desire to hear anyone’s confession. I do recall though being intrigued by the way Father Holub, the Rector, combined spiritual leadership with manual labor, because I would see him occasionally at work with carpentry tools at an outdoor workshop adjoining the rectory and then serve as his thurifer at Benediction that evening. There was about that time a movement in France towards something called “worker priests” which had a certain attraction, but that was in France. I’ve wondered what it was about me that someone saw that gave rise to the prediction. Maybe nothing; they might have been drawn out of a hat for all I know. But what if their future vision was just a little cloudy and what they thought they saw was not a crook but a verge. They knew nothing of vergers, of course, but if that had been their prediction, how marvelous for it to have come true fifty years later.
What predictions were made about you when you were a child? And how prescient were they?
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC.
(And Volunteer Verger, Washington National Cathedral)