Very Public Safety
When my first two children were toddlers, before the imminent arrival of the third (to the perpetual chagrin of the second), I took them to visit a rural North Carolina fire department. Once the perplexed Fire Chief’s permission was obtained, I took their photos on the trucks and with the fire hats, hoses, ladders and alike. The purpose was to then have the kids decorate matting and frames to present the photos to their grandparents, volunteer firefighters in rural Georgia.
I was reminded of this when finishing a recent tour and walking out onto SMA’s blessing of the fire trucks and ambulances in the jardin one sunny morning. Being SMA, my toddlers with the fire trucks idea was presented with far greater faith and fiesta flair!
Here the under three foot crowd from local schools came dressed as firefighter and EMT personnel and were able to climb around the fire trucks for parental photo opportunities as the vehicles themselves were blessed.
Publicly blessing municipal vehicles is frowned upon by our Northern neighbors as an infringement of mixing church and state. Personally, I can’t imagine not wanting life saving vehicles having all the blessings their cylinders can possibly hold.
However, blessings don’t stop at fire trucks and ambulances. Taxis, which with any luck you’ll spend more time in than an ambulance, also have their special day in the SMA sun. For over 20 years decorated taxis parade down from the mall filled with the drivers’ family to line the jardin with hoods popped up. Once in place the cars and drivers receive blessings for another safe and prosperous year on the streets of SMA.
Participants in this pilgrimage then enjoy live music and a rosary in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, the hometown patron. If you have access to a child in your life, I encourage you to take them as the entire experience enthralls them!
Fire trucks, ambulances, taxis and toddlers are a great mix and for every lad a bit taller that ever played with Matchbox cars, like I endless did, the whole experience is a fun way to enjoy local faith and culture!