Saturday, July 18, 2009

Mass on the Mountain

Every year the Guyol family, comprising of nearly 20 people, visits the ranch to celebrate a long-standing tradition of horseback riding and fly-fishing. A devout group, they even bring their pastor, Father Ralph Wright.

Their annual customs range anywhere from interfamily soccer games to horseshoe tournaments, but their most colorful and bonding tradition is a sunrise mass high atop a mountain.

Since there no roads lead to the summit each family member helps to haul a makeshift alter, the challis, bibles, wine, and bread to the rocky top. Gaining over 700 feet of elevation, the Cross-, as it’s known, is no easy hike, especially in the pre-dawn Wyoming climate. Regardless, every year a spry 73-year-old Father Ralph hustles up the mountain followed by his loyal disciples.

Just before he blesses the wine, the sun crests the eastern range. I may not be Catholic or part of the Guyol brigade, but it’s hard not to feel some sense of belonging amidst so much passion. It’s a beautiful scene and I feel fortunate to be part of their intimate ritual.

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