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I turn on the faucet and water, changing from warm to hot, gushes out and onto my hands. To me it seems like a miracle as Paula and I have been without running water for over eight days. This is due to the ice storms having punctured our water line.

No, the water at our house has not been restored. Our Godsend of a neighbor has invited us to use her house for whatever we need. And that’s where I am this morning shaving and washing up. This kindly woman is charity and mercy personified! Nothing beats having good neighbors.

We’re also invited to fill jugs of water at our neighbor’s place, for doing dishes (though we rely heavily upon paper or plastic plates and bowls), hand-washing, coffee making, and slaking the thirst of Cooper and cats Punkin and Mocha.

The warranty company insuring our water line says, “Six more days before we can work you into our schedule.” Unless we want to pay all the costs of restoration and skip the warranty.

All this as we head into Palm Sunday and a raft of Holy Week services leading up to Easter 2021. Our neighbor and we will be at different churches — she at Christ the King Lutheran on U.S. 60, Paula and I out at St. Stephen Catholic in Ona. In these more ecumenical times, however, we will likely be singing some of the same hymns, hearing the same scriptures read and responding to virtually the same acclamations.

That’s a miracle, too, given the centuries of strife among Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals and Orthodox Christians.

The waters of baptism are part of the story. If you have been baptized in a Trinitarian church and want to become Catholic, we will not rebaptize you. We’ll consider your baptism as sacramental and holy, whether you were sprinkled or immersed.

When I was growing up Catholic in Chicago, it was considered a sin if you went to a service in a non-Catholic church, with the exceptions of weddings and funerals. That mentality long ago went out the window, especially in the wake of Vatican Council II.

In current more gracious times I’ve actually been invited by a Catholic priest to accompany him to Jewish Sabbath services at the B’Nai Sholom Temple in Huntington and have been back there several more times both for worship and a social gathering.

I have been welcomed to Christ the King Lutheran twice to lead Taize’ song and meditation services and at First Presbyterian in Huntington as well.

In publishing I’ve worked with a Baptist stalwart, Pastor Arthur Queen of Lavalette, and with Presbyterian minister John Yeager, pastor now at Enslow Park Presbyterian in Huntington. The late Rev. Queen authored “A Country Preacher’s Tale,” a memoir, under my Mid-Atlantic Highlands imprint. And under the same imprint, Pastor Yeager published an impressive three-volume set, “Called to Love,” with his reflections on Sunday readings from the Lectionary now used by five denominations — Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian.

That these five denominations have agreed upon scripture readings for 52 Sundays is yet another astonishing ecumenical step, for which I credit not man but the Holy Spirit.

John Patrick Grace formerly covered The Vatican for The Associated Press, then covered religion and healthcare for The Greensboro (N.C.) News and Record. He now edits books from his Huntington base.

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