My Parish, My Church

1966 1966_ () 1966 1966 Weekly column
I am five years old, at Mass with my mom and dad. We are kneeling and this kneeling is going on forever. My legs are tired, I can’t see anything in front of me. I crouch down a little lower and I guess my mom is dealing with my baby brother because she doesn’t immediately tell me to kneel properly. I hunch down beneath the pew and notice the heels of the shoes in front of me. I wipe dust off the soles until the man’s foot twitches. I jump back up and kneel the right way.

I am seven years old. It is winter and I’m going to tell my sins to the priest for the very first time. I go into the confessional and no one is there. A voice greets me. I think it’s God. It is the priest; he comes out from behind the screen and walks me through the rest of my penance. I survive, barely. My mom and dad give me a beautiful Bible to remember the day. My dad has written a letter to me inside the front cover. I love looking at the pictures and reading stories about God.

I am still seven. This time I am having my First Communion. My mom sews my dress and we buy a veil. My dress has fabric-covered buttons and a peter-pan collar. I love it. When it is time to bring up the gifts, I get to carry a plate with plastic grapes. From the back of the church to the front looks very long indeed. I march up with my friends. At Communion, I take the body and get in line for the blood. My dad is the person holding the cup! It was a very happy day.

I am fifteen. We march up the very long aisle to the front of the church, walking slowly and folding our hands. I’m excited to meet the Bishop. I also love my dress. It has the puffiest of sleeves. My confirmation sponsor gives me a Bible. It also has pictures, but these days I prefer the books of Sirach and Acts. I wonder about being a grown-up in the church, and what exactly that will mean. I ask Jesus to keep me close always.

I am 20. My younger brother is graduating from high school. It’s the last day he will serve the altar. My mom makes sure we get a picture after Mass – my mom and dad, us eight kids. My brother wears the cassock for the last time.

I am 22. I am about to get married. I hook my arm through the crook of my dad’s elbow. I am holding on for dear life. We are standing in the Narthex. I hear the trumpet and someone opens the doors for us to enter the church. This aisle that I have walked so many times before, today it seems a hundred times longer. My dad turns to me and smiles. Away we go.

My church has been the backdrop for some of the most crucial moments of my life. When I reflect on a lifetime at this parish, I remember again the importance of the building that houses us. It is not a mere building of course, but the sacred space that hosts the events that move us through life. Some are mundane; many are not.

I became a wife here. Each of my children became Christians here. It is in this building that I have celebrated and mourned, transitioned publicly or pondered in silence. God has revealed himself to me as often as I have been willing to listen – and sometimes even when I am not.

This sacred space, the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, is celebrating 200 years of existence. The beautiful building, home of so many memories for so many people, is recognized as the oldest Catholic church building in Georgia. What a blessing it is in the life of our Church – she is an integral part of our journey towards deeper love of Christ through living our faith. 1966″> ,

1966

Comments

  1. What a beautiful article – especially to those whose church is so important to them! Thanks for sharing your gift with the world!

  2. How blessed you are to have spent your entire life in the same parish! Now, what about some pictures of this gorgeous church? 😉

  3. The Little House That Grew says:

    How cool..now that is Legacy!
    Lisa

  4. That was beautiful!

  5. How beautiful. 🙂
    Gave me goosebumps.

  6. Being from a military family, I don't have that same experience with an actual church building, but I do feel that about being Catholic. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about our faith – it is completely universal. We have been blessed as a married couple to spend most of our married life at the same parish. all but one of our children have been baptized at this parish. I hope that they have the same view of our parish family when they are adults.

  7. Lovely!

  8. Love this.

  9. Ed Hofmeister says:

    That was so beautiful. Thank you.