December 2nd, 2012 browsing by day


Sunday December 2nd Saint Nicholas

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Lisa landed this morning in Amsterdam. Her daughter Corrine, who is studying here in Amsterdam and her boyfriend Euen were at the gate as well. Lisa is staying with Corrinne in her student housing right across from the Amsterdam Maritime museum on the Prins Hendrikkade. I went to 10.30 mass at the Saint Nicholas church also on the Prins Hendrikkade across from the Central Station. And it was appropriate because this is the week of Saint Nicholas. The feast is on the eve of his death, December 6th. My home parish in Gig Harbor, since 1984, is also Saint Nicholas and he is the patron saint of the seafarers.

I am convinced that Saint Nicholas has a lot to do with my safety at sea. And Saint Barbara. I started my first and longest ocean crossing, 3000 miles and 28 days at sea, from Santa Barbara, California, just after celebrating Easter at the Santa Barbara mission in 2005. She is the female patron saint of the seamen. Our Lisa was baptized in the Santa Barbara mission in 1964, when we lived there. It was another special experience particpating in the celebration today. This is not a residential area. It borders right on the Amsterdam red light district. But this large old church was more than 75%  full. And the majority are locals and quite a few young families with children.

The singing was exceptional. It took me a while to figure out that the choir was not in the loft behind me and not 20 plus voices but right behind the altar and only 6 voices. The accoustics are phenomenal, no microphones and the sound was all around the church. Next weekend this church will be upgraded to a basilica. The sermon and service was outstanding and I feel again very priviliged to have been there and start the preparation, in the first Advent Sunday, for the Christmas celebration.

Lisa, Corrine and Euen came to the boat for dinner and afterwards I had an opportunity to introduce them to a number of my Schinkelaars yacht club friends who gather at the club house.  Lisa is going to visit the Noorder Mark(e)t tomorrow with her cousin Dirk Jan. And we plan to drive in the early evening to Brughes in Belgium, stay the night there and then continue to Ittre to show her and  Corrine where Lisa lived from her 2nd to her 6th birthday.