Updated: Sep 24, 2020
We all know that God works in mysterious ways. One night recently, as I was walking back to the lighthouse from the parking lot carrying a non-descript garden hose (Why? Because the lighthouse needed one), a gentleman in the parking lot stopped me to inquire as to why I was carrying said hose. Somewhat in a rush to get back to the lighthouse before it got dark, I answered quickly that it was for the lighthouse. He followed up by asking whether I had a key to get in, to which I replied, “Yes, I own it.” Well, as usual, those four words turned the spigot for an outpouring of additional questions. It turns out that the gentleman was Fr. Pat Anderson of the Borromeo Seminary of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland located in Wickliffe, OH and a huge Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse fan.
I went back to my car, dug up some lighthouse cards and stickers, handed them to him, told him to get in touch if he’d like a tour, and hurried off as the sun continued to set. The next day I received an email that Fr. Pat would love to come for a tour and bring a few of the seminarians along with him. We settled on a day/time and in exchange, Fr. Pat said they would be happy to bless the lighthouse for me.
When the day for their visit arrived, the wind blew strong from the west and showers fell on and off throughout the day. Normally, a strong wind throwing water on the breakwall and the wet rocks that ensued would make for a very dangerous walk. But this year, the breakwall walk was shorter and flatter than in years past and not nearly as hazardous. Besides, the seminarians were young and enthusiastic and despite a video I sent them of the waves crashing, they forged ahead. Is it too obvious to say that they had God on their side?
At 5:00 in the afternoon, I greeted Fr. Pat, Fr. Andy, Brother Mick and eight seminarians who had dodged the sprays of water over the breakwall and successfully make it to my front door. All were extremely polite and appreciative of the tour. They enjoyed hearing the history of Fairport Harbor West and its predecessor the Grand River Lighthouse, how I came to own it, and what I’ve done to renovate the structure. Most were from the Cleveland area, but one was from as far away as Texas.
To cap off the visit, Fr. Pat and Fr. Andy provided an official blessing of the lighthouse. It was extremely significant to me to have the home I’ve worked so hard to renovate and return to life be recognized in God’s eyes. The blessing of a home is an old tradition practiced among many religions and designed to protect the inhabitants from misfortune. After some readings and prayers, Brother Mick used chalk to inscribe +C+M+B+2020 above the doorway. In Latin, the C stands for Christus (Christ); the M is for mansionem (Home); and the B is for benedicat (Blessing) and is translated as “Christ blesses this house.” The + symbolizes Christian crosses and 2020 is the year it was blessed. Despite the wind and rain, it was an amazing day – for both me and, hopefully, those who came to visit.