Millions of Orthodox Christians worldwide participated in the sacrament of Holy Unction on Wednesday. The faithful, willing and those kids who are dragged there by their parents, are anointed with oil and God's grace for healing of soul, body and forgiveness of sins. It's part of Holy Week leading up to Easter.
Boston fans continued their healing on Wednesday on a night when the Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox won by a combined score of 106-88.
There were no signs of distress on this May Day.
One night does not a month make, but winning like this feels good, especially these days.
This wonderfully fun and prosperous night came to be due to the grace of Clay Buchholz pitching seven shutout innings for the Red Sox, the grit of Kevin Garnett owning the Knicks' soft underbelly with 18 rebounds and the long-lost offensive flair of the Bruins, who were led by David Krejci and Nathan Horton.
Even Stephen Drew hit a home run.
Every time the calendar blesses us with a night like this in the spring, the Red Sox are usually relegated to third-team status. Wednesday's top priority was a tough call. The Bruins were opening the playoffs and had a multitude of concerns. The Celtics were on the verge of ending the playoffs before facing a multitude of questions. The Red Sox were sitting atop baseball with an 18-8 record but were in midst of a troubling one-game losing streak.
Not sure how valid TV ratings are on a night like this, when people are bouncing back and forth with the clicker, taking advantage of picture-in-picture or employing a two, or three-screen strategy.
Doesn't really matter.
After Boston was stopped in its track shoes on Patriot's Day, so many turned to sports for a much-needed break from it all.
Boston's spirit has never been stronger. But even on this most glorious of May Days, the Marathon bombings again grabbed the headlines. Three college pals of Speed Bump's little brother were arrested after they allegedly helped to cover up the alleged bombing that left three alleged victims dead and so many other alleged victims in alleged hospitals across the city following their alleged act of alleged terrorism by allegedly throwing a computer and back pack in the trash after they allegedly learned their pal allegedly did it.
Try saying that three times fast.
Come on. Haven't we all thrown out our roommate's computer and backpack after he's blown up a marathon? Most of us would not throw out an empty coffee cup our roommate left on the table.
Much of April's public emotional muscle came courtesy of the Red Sox, who brought us the last smile on Patriot's Day Monday - beating the Rays at Fenway an hour before all Hell broke loose in Copley Square. Even in the numbness of the week that followed the bombings, the Red Sox humbly went to Cleveland, hung their "Boston 617 Strong" jersey and came home with a sweep.
The first dose of civic Percocet. This does not minimize the real-world loss and suffering. Exactly the opposite, nights like Wednesday allow us to continue to function and deal with all of this craziness.
Responsible adults know what's really important and what isn't, but sports helps healing on a civic scale in more ways than many cynics and elitists are willing to acknowledge.
The Red Sox wrapped a seven-game winning streak around Patriot's Day and Lockdown Friday and didn't miss a pitch. It was punctuated by David Ortiz's hydrogen f-bomb on April 20. At a time when human imperfection was magnified on a grand scale, the Red Sox batted 1.000.
The success of the Red Sox and its importance - along with Ortiz's rallying cry - did not diminish the losses of the victims. Rather they offered another way to honor them and help the city and nation bond - and manged to look good on the field all at the same time.
The Bruins carried the burden of offering the first public chance to gather, vent and cry after the bombings. In addition, the team had two games postponed in the final two weeks of the season because of the bombings and the manhunt for Dave Henneberry's boat's ballast.
The play of the team was undoubtedly affected by all of it.
Before Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Maple Syrups, the Bruins had not scored more than three goals in their previous nine games, seven of which were losses. Six of those games came in a nine-day span. A grueling run in any sport not called baseball.
"It's been draining for players to deal with that stuff," said Claude Julien. "We're all sentimental to what happened to this city. It was just a matter of turning the page and getting a fresh start from the regular season."
The Celtics had disappeared from the thoughts of many during the Marathon mayhem. They had a game canceled and did not return home until April 26, when they promptly lost game three to the Knicks and fell behind 3-0. I was probably the first to write them off via Twitter. I wrongly picked them to beat the Heat in seven games last year but would mind being wrong about this one, too.
But these are the Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks, so "anything is possible" for their opponents. The Knicks planned for Wednesday's game to be Boston's funeral. Instead, they took a dirt nap and Boston won 92-86. New York never led in the second half and shot just 39.5 percent. Meanwhile, the Celtics, who shot 45.7 percent, are doing all this without a point guard.
One thing is certain.
If Paul Pierce comes out Friday wearing a bloody sock in Game 6, the Knicks are doomed.
We can only hope.
The author is solely responsible for the content.